Skip To Content
    Sep 27, 2018

    Gisele Bündchen Opened Up About Having Panic Attacks And Suicidal Thoughts

    "I felt powerless. Your world becomes smaller and smaller, and you can’t breathe, which is the worst feeling I’ve ever had."

    You know Gisele Bündchen. She's a former supermodel, actress, and now author of a memoir, Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life.

    In addition to writing about her childhood in Brazil and her marriage to Tom Brady in the book, she also opens up about her experience with panic attacks and suicidal thoughts, things she's never publicly discussed before.

    Bündchen says that she had her first panic attack in 2003, just as her modeling career was taking off.

    Evan Agostini / Getty Images

    It happened during a bumpy flight on a small plane, which led to a fear of enclosed spaces. She was hard on herself, thinking that she had no reason to feel anxious and panicked. "I had a wonderful position in my career, I was very close to my family, and I always considered myself a positive person, so I was really beating myself up," she told People in an interview for her book, which goes on sale Oct. 2. "Like, 'Why should I be feeling this?' I felt like I wasn’t allowed to feel bad. But I felt powerless. Your world becomes smaller and smaller, and you can’t breathe, which is the worst feeling I’ve ever had."

    Eventually, her panic attacks started happening at home, too, which was when she began experiencing suicidal ideation.

    "I actually had the feeling of, 'If I just jump off my balcony, this is going to end, and I never have to worry about this feeling of my world closing in.'"

    On the advice of a specialist, Bündchen took Xanax, but "the thought of being dependent on something felt, in my mind, even worse, because I was like, 'What if I lose that [pill]? Then what? Am I going to die?'" she said.

    "The only thing I knew was, I needed help," she added, and had doctors help her make lifestyle changes like doing yoga and meditation, cutting back on alcohol and caffeine, and quitting smoking that better helped her cope.

    Years later, Bündchen is sharing her story because "I felt like maybe it was time to share some of my vulnerabilities, and it made me realize, everything I’ve lived through, I would never change, because I think I am who I am because of those experiences."

    "Things can be looking perfect on the outside, but you have no idea what’s really going on," she said.

    If you are thinking about suicide or just need to talk to someone, you can speak to someone by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and or by texting HOME to 741741, the Crisis Text Line. And here are suicide helplines outside the US.