Elizabeth Olsen says she had ‘debilitating’ panic attacks in her younger years

Tom Horton
·2-min read

Actress Elizabeth Olsen has spoken about having “totally debilitating” panic attacks in her younger years.

The Marvel star, 32, said she learned to control them with “brain tricks from friends” rather than medication.

Olsen, who is the cover star of Glamour UK’s April digital issue, told the magazine: “I had major panic attacks for a long time. It was totally debilitating. I was living in New York on my own and I was 22.”

Captain America: Civil War European Premiere – London
(Ian West/PA)

“I didn’t realise it [anxiety] was something that you could not control.

“And the issue is the control part. And then I just learned a bunch of brain tricks from friends who actually went to a neuropsychiatrist and instead of medicating, I decided to do it that way.”

She added: “With panic attacks, you have to put your attention off ‘whatever’s making you spin’ onto something else. It was (about) being present in the moment and identifying all the things around you in order to not spin.”

Watch: Elizabeth Olsen on how sisters Mary-Kate and Ashley's fame affected her at an early age

Olsen also told the magazine she is “never going back to social media”.

“And it’s not even like I was bullied. It’s not even like anything happened,” she said.

Captain America: Civil War Photocall – London
(Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

Olsen said social media made her “uncomfortable” and she questioned why she was “even trying to create a character version” of herself.

“I just felt weird how it organised my brain,” she said.

“I’m not someone who’s obsessed with using a platform in any way.”

Olsen, who plays Wanda Maximoff in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is the younger sibling of twins Mary-Kate and Ashley, former child stars who rose to fame on the TV series Full House, and who have since become renowned in the fashion world.

She recently reprised her role as Wanda – also known as the Scarlet Witch – in Disney+ series WandaVision, alongside British-American actor Paul Bettany.

Watch: Denise Van Outen and Eddie Boxshall spice up their relationship during cooking therapy

Read the full interview in the Glamour UK April digital issue, online now.