Corinne Foxx, the daughter of megastar Jamie Foxx, first recalls experiencing physical symptoms in her ninth grade English class. “At 14 I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. At the time, I didn’t know anyone else who had anxiety, so I kept it to myself,” she said. “Everyone feels nervous, but this didn’t feel normal. I remember my palms sweating and my heart racing.”
An anti-anxiety toolbox
After several months, her symptoms escalated and started to negatively impact her education. “I’d get so anxious that I didn’t even want to enter the classroom,” she recalled. It was then that Foxx realized it was time to ask for help. “I told my parents that I wanted to talk to someone, but I recognize that most kids aren’t like that. A lot of people ignore it for a long time and suffer in silence because they think that they’re weird or that no one else feels that way.”
With help from a therapist, Corinne started building what she refers to as her “toolbox” to cope with anxiety. “When I went to college, I felt like I had a pretty good handle on things, but you face different pressures in college,” she explained. “It’s very socially driven, there’s test anxiety. It’s a whole new beast, so I had to reevaluate how I cope.”
According to a recent study by the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors, 95 percent of the college counseling center directors surveyed believe that the number of students with significant psychological problems is a growing concern. Seventy percent of directors believe that the number of students with severe psychological problems on their campuses has increased within the past year.
Foxx advises students who struggle with anxiety to find a confidant and communicate often.
“Have an open conversation with a trusted adult,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be a parent; it can be a trusted teacher. Let them know that you are going through a stressful time. You can say, ‘I might not have an issue right now, but will you be a person that I can talk to if something comes up?’”
Recently, Foxx launched an online platform, Foxxtales, where conversations about wellness and mental health are at the forefront. “We wanted to bring positive content back to the internet,” she stated. She hopes the magazine will act as a source of inspiration for young women and girls. “I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me on social media and ask questions, and I try to respond as often as I can.”
On the website Foxx outlines how she manages anxiety in her life. But she acknowledges that when it comes to mental health, one size doesn’t fit all. “A big part of my treatment is self-care: working out often, meditating, journaling, and getting enough sleep,” she explained. “I also do talk therapy — I’ve had the same therapist since I was 14. This works for me, but it won’t work for everyone. Some people need medication, some people need different forms of therapy. I’ve figured out what works for me, but it’s very case-by-case.”
Foxx, acknowledging that anxiety is an ongoing battle, turns to a simple mantra on difficult days.
“The only thing to fear is fear itself,” she affirmed. “I like to remind people that they are incredibly strong. A mental illness can make you feel like you’re weak, that you’re not like everyone else; that everyone else is stronger than you, but you’re a lot stronger than the average person. Everything great that I’ve ever accomplished, I had to push through fear and anxiety to get there.”