In a new Rolling Stone interview, the Late Show, host Stephen Colbert gets personal about his long time struggle with anxiety and how he was able to cope on his own terms. In the article Colbert talks about one of his darker moments, saying:
I had a bit of a nervous breakdown after I got married — kind of panic attacks. My wife would go off to work and she’d come home — because I worked at night — and I’d be walking around the couch. And she’s like, ‘How was your day?’ And I’d say, ‘You’re looking at it.’ Just tight circles around the couch.
After going on medication briefly, Colbert decided that wasn't the route for him to take. He describes the medication as:
I realized that the gears were still smoking. I just couldn’t hear them anymore, but I could feel them, I could feel the gearbox heating up and smoke pouring out of me.
It was shortly after he realized it was during performances that he felt the most comfortable in his skin.
I would go to the show, and I would curl up in a ball on the couch backstage and I would wait to hear my cue lines. Then I would uncurl and go onstage and I’d feel fine. Which occurred to me at the time: Like, ‘Oh, you feel fine when you’re out here.’ And then as soon as I got offstage, I’d just crumble into a ball again. Nobody ever asked me what was wrong! It went on for months.
Creating something is what helped me from just spinning apart like an unweighted flywheel and I haven’t stopped since. Even when I was a writer, I always had to be in front of a camera a little bit. I have to perform.