Some of the largest subjects in pop culture today are superheroes, perfect individuals in charge of saving the Earth. Chris Evans, an actor best-known for playing Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is one of these heroes. Cap fights intergalactic foes, terrestrial villains, and even his friends, and he always wins (except that one time, but we’re not talking about that). As a hero, he fights all of these hard battles, and as a common man, he fights one more: anxiety.
Evans first talked about his struggle with anxiety, or what he calls “brain noise,” in a 2017 interview. Anxiety is often characterized by an overwhelming worry or dread that can become so severe to the point of negatively affecting daily life. Evans describes his experience with anxiety as “noisy” because he struggles to quiet his anxious thoughts, despite knowing that this noise “probably doesn’t have anything to say that is going to help you.” Following this noise, he believes, is the foundation for a lot of human suffering, most certainly the foundation for his own.
Evans revealed that his anxiety almost kept him from accepting the role of Captain America. He knew that the press and a large amount of public speaking would be involved in becoming Cap, and he knew that his anxiety would be very loud in this environment. After talking to his friends, family, and therapist, he said, “It started to feel like maybe the thing you’re most scared of is exactly what you should do.” This bravery lead Evans to become a superhero, though perhaps the man and the hero aren’t so different after all. The courage it takes to battle social anxiety could rival the courage of a superhero any day.