The Big Bang Theory stars Kunal Nayyar and Mayim Bialik discuss mental health and "dark episodes."
Nayyar, who portrayed Raj Koothrappali in the sitcom, discussed his own struggles with anxiety disorders, and "dark episodes" concerning his mental health.
When I began to struggle mentally, when I began to have those dark episodes, that was very shocking to me.
Nayyar opened up about his first-ever panic attack, which escalated when he was 30 and driving a car.
I didn't know what that was. Ever since then I've had to fight some kind of battle with panic or anxiety.
Bialik, who played the role of Amy Farrah Fowler in the series, responded:
That's actually a great way to define a panic attack – you don't know what it is.
Nayyar went on to remember:
I'm having this full-blown panic attack inside, now I'm getting embarrassed so I'm pulling off [the highway] and joking.
It got so bad I couldn't even look at my car keys without feeling panic, and then I knew something was wrong.
Nayyar wanted to see a hypnotherapist, whom he considered helpful when it came to driving. However, he quickly realized his abnormal fear had shifted to the elevator.
Then, it became like the highway again, and that's when I said, 'Something's wrong'. That was five years into therapy.
You can have a beautiful, spiritual life and at some point still feel anxious, still at some point feel sad and depressed and panicky.
The actor concluded,
There's no shame in that, there's no shame in feeling anxious, there's no shame in feeling stress, there's no shame at feeling panic.
We couldn't agree more with Kunal Nayyar!