Here’s How Cole Sprouse Dealt with His Social Anxiety in the Past

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Cole Sprouse grew up on movie and television sets, which he says caused “horrifying social anxiety.” While he thankfully doesn’t struggle with anxiety as much as he used to, he understands how horrible it can be and opened up about how he personally dealt with it in the past.

“I had some pretty bad social anxiety when I was little just because I was raised in celebrity culture and feeling watched all the time,” he tells US Weekly earlier this week. “And at least for me — and I can only really speak from personal experiences — I didn’t really get over it until I sort of put my hand into the fire and said, ‘OK, this is something I’ve got to live with. Let’s deal with it.'”

So, how did he deal with it exactly?

“I went to New York, I lived in the city,” he explains. “I was in one of the most populated places on Earth and just kind of embraced who I was, how people viewed me and how I navigate other people. I think at some point I asked myself, ‘Do I ignore the pink elephant, or do I address that it’s there and just continue to live my life?’ And I think Jughead’s doing that as well.”

Bury me with this photo @alexstrohl

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The 25-year-old says his Riverdale character, Jughead Jones, has mental health issues that mirror his own. So when he decided to run for class president with Betty (Lili Reinhart) as his running mate, it was a breakthrough.

Cole says, “It was kind of a big character moment for Jughead because it’s him saying, ‘I’m no longer afraid of a public platform. How do you feel about me doing something like this? Will you help me with this?’ He’s a kid in season one that had a ton of social anxiety and is figuring out how to navigate through that. Announcing he wants to be president is kind of big for his anxiety.”

So many people deal with different kinds of anxiety and it’s so awesome that celebrities continue to speak out about their own experiences to help break the stigma.