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Kim Basinger is opening up about her battle with agoraphobia.
While appearing on Wednesday’s episode of Red Table Talk alongside daughter Ireland Baldwin, Basinger recounted her childhood anxiety and how that would eventually carry over into her adult life.
The actress said that while growing up, she saw her mom struggle with anxiety and would always have a fear about something happening to her. “That started affecting me in so many ways that I felt like I had to be home with my mom to save her,” she said, also sharing that she would even lie and make up excuses at school so she could be sent home. Once the school faculty began thinking something was “differently wrong” with Basinger, she said they made her take tests, which showed she had anxiety.
As she got older, Basinger developed agoraphobia, which is defined by the Mayo Clinic as “a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed.”
Basinger recalled being in a health food store one day. “It was my neighborhood store. I was going down aisle number three. My basket was almost full, and I found something really overcoming me in such a way that I couldn’t breathe. So I left the basket, and I made it to my car, and that was the last time I drove for almost six, seven months.”
Basinger said it eventually got to the point where she “wouldn’t leave the house,” “would no longer go to dinner” and “could not even have people for dinner” at her house. “We tried that, and it’s really horrible to feel that it won as really fiercely as [it] did during those years, you know, and not know what it was. It’s like something just completely shuts down within you, and you have to relearn everything.”
Basinger said she had to “relearn to drive” and “everything used to make me nervous,” citing driving through the tunnels in Malibu as an example. “Everything became a big job to figure out how to do it,” she said.
“You live with a dry mouth all the time, you’re very shaky, you’re just so exhausted all the time,” she said.
Basinger sought treatment for six months but recalled feeling alone thinking many would not understand her struggles, especially given the mental health stigmas that exist. “I was really scared because I didn’t want to tell anybody in my work what was happening,” she said.
She credited her daughter for being “a great teacher and a great healer.” Of Ireland Baldwin, Basinger said, “She’s brought me out of my shell.”
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