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Willow Smith Reveals How She Copes With 'Extreme Anxiety'

The 'Whip My Hair' singer also spoke of the shame, sadness and confusion she sometimes feels when she's upset.

Willow Smith now knows exactly what to do when she’s facing down “extreme anxiety.”

The musician-actor daughter of Hollywood titans Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith spoke candidly about her coping mechanisms on the latest episode of Facebook Watch’s “Red Table Talk,” alongside her mother and her grandmother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris.

“I think self-soothing is the single most important thing you can learn how to do in life,” Willow said in the new episode, released Tuesday.

“I really do believe that when we get into those tough spaces that sometimes it can be even more tough for us if we’re expecting for others to do something about how we’re feeling,” her mom added.

Willow used an example from last week to describe how she used a self-soothing technique to deal with a moment of what she called “extreme anxiety.”

Willow Smith attends Rihanna's Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2 on Oct. 2.
Jerritt Clark via Getty Images
Willow Smith attends Rihanna's Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2 on Oct. 2.

“I couldn’t talk, I had to just cocoon and just be with myself for a moment,” she said.

“And that was so important because it would have been more intense if I was, like, looking to you,” Willow continued, looking at her mom. “To be like, ‘No, help me!’ And then when I was ready ... open the cocoon.”

Willow, 20, also opened up about how an anxious episode feels to her.

“There’s shame. There’s guilt. There’s sadness. There’s confusion,” the “Whip My Hair” singer said. “And then you don’t even want to talk about it because you’re like, ‘I feel crazy. I feel crazy for feeling this way and I don’t want them to think I’m crazy, so I’m just not going to say anything.’”

Willow has a history of being candid about subjects that many celebrities avoid. Back in 2018, the entertainer spoke about turning to self-harm when she felt like her life was out of control.

“I feel like I lost my sanity at one point,” she revealed at the time. “It was after that whole ‘Whip My Hair’ thing and I had just stopped doing singing lessons and I kind of was in this gray area of: Who am I? Do I have a purpose? Is there anything I can do besides this?”

“I never talk about it because it was such a short, weird point in my life,” Willow said of the tough childhood years. “But you have to pull yourself out of it.”

If you or someone you know needs help:

Lifeline on 13 11 14

Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800

Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36

Headspace on 1800 650 890

Outside of Australia, please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.

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