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Why It Felt Like Chyler Leigh From 'Supergirl' Understood My Struggle With Anxiety

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On April 27, I pushed through my anxiety. I went by myself from Connecticut to Brooklyn, New York, for a concert. I didn’t know what to wear, which train station would be the easiest and when I’d get back in the morning. All of those thoughts were exhausting. After I took a train to Grand Central, I walked around for 30 minutes, telling myself that two sodas and a Red Bull did not count as eating that day. I was too anxious to walk up and order food, and I certainly didn’t feel hungry. I used an Uber for the first time, after pacing for 15 minutes before pressing the button.

Once I was at the venue, it was OK. There were a couple of people by themselves in line who I felt comfortable enough to talk a little bit with. At the beginning of the concert, Nathan West of “East of Eli” told us his wife, Chyler Leigh, was stuck on a plane in Canada after being on set all day, but that she was still coming. Part of the reason I was able to push through the anxiety was knowing I’d hopefully get to meet her. Chyler has always been open about her past drug abuse and feeling the need to have the “perfect body” as she was growing up. After the character she plays, Alex Danvers, came out on “Supergirl,” she welcomed all of the coming out stories, and really embraced and supported the LGBT community. She is really an inspiration and has been a light to me recently.

Chyler arrived after the concert ended, and was running on two and a half hours of sleep. She sang with her husband, and then told us she would stay until she gave everyone a hug. I obviously hung at the back, and didn’t meet her until 4:30 a.m. after we had been kicked out of the venue. I didn’t start to get anxious until I was next to meet her. I said “hi,” and I told her I was shaking. She told me it was just her and it was OK. She gave me such a huge hug, and held on until I relaxed. I got to talk to her and tell her, thank you. I couldn’t form all of the things I wanted to say, but I hope I conveyed enough with the words I said and the heartfelt “thank you’s.” I hung around, just taking it all in after I met her.

While I was watching, other fans and the band were getting together for a picture. I was hanging back, and I wasn’t sure who was supposed to be in the picture. Chyler put her arm around me and pulled me over for the picture. I held onto the back of her sweatshirt since my mind was racing, and she was grounding me. Someone suggested Chyler should be in the middle which meant she would have to move away from me. I let go of her, but she just kept holding onto me and the girl on her other side and looked to the left and had those people move over. I just grabbed onto her hoodie as tight as I could, she pulled me into her chest and made sure her arm was on my back as she put her hand on the girl next to me. No words were said between her and I, but I really felt like she understood. Between the nervous anxiety in my body language and probably my eyes when I first met her, the inability to get out the right words, hanging back and grabbing onto her, I really feel like she knew I was anxious and felt overwhelmed in a great, but scared way. There’s a chance this was just my perception, but I’ve gotten to the point that I’m letting myself believe she understood. I will never be able to tell her how much that meant to me and how much she means to me. In my opinion, the best part was that she didn’t say anything, and she just did what she felt was right. All I can say is… Thank you, Chyler.

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Photo via contributor.

Originally published: May 30, 2017
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