Many talented actors and other performers experience “jitters” – which can be helpful up to a point – or outright anxiety such as stage fright – which is not so helpful.
Both Helena Bonham Carter and Colin Firth of “The King’s Speech” have talked about suffering from it (see the article Celebrities with anxiety and panic attacks for their quotes).
Barbra Streisand also used to experience performance anxiety.
After forgetting the lyrics to a song in 1967, she was unable to perform in public for about three decades, according to an article, which also quotes her more recently:
“During my last tour, when I kicked off my shoes and said whatever I wanted, I actually enjoyed myself. Performing is not about perfection. I could never perform live if it were. For me, it’s about raising the money to do good in the world. It’s about self-acceptance. It’s about believing that I am enough.”
Those quotes are ones I added to an article on the topic by Jon Hershfield of the OCD Center of Los Angeles) – who explains that Social Anxiety and Social Phobia are “terms used to describe a cluster of symptoms that center around the fear of being negatively evaluated by others.
“This is often confused with being shy or introverted, or even schizoid. An introvert may genuinely prefer the quiet solitude of turning inwards to the self rather than outwards to other people, while someone with schizoid personality disorder may simply not find the presence of other people to be pleasing.
“In other words, those who are truly introverted or schizoid genuinely prefer to be alone.”
But, in contrast, he says, “A person suffering from Social Anxiety is burdened by unwanted intrusive thoughts about being judged, rejected, and/or and humiliated by others.”
Continued in his article Social Anxiety: Alone With Witnesses.
The OCD Center uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as a treatment for Social Anxiety. This is a powerful approach for many other mood disorders such as depression.
In my grad program in counseling psychology, I worked as a counselor in a psych hospital program for depression treatment using CBT, and took a course from The Center for Cognitive Therapy, with Christine Padesky, author of Mind Over Mood: Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think.
Morty Lefkoe has a series of programs using a related approach (The Lefkoe Method) for overcoming self-limiting beliefs, as a way to enhance health and personal development. His programs include these:
Also see more articles on Social Anxiety