Anxiety and Other Funny Business with Emily Joyce

I am so excited to present a guest post from one of my most creative and unique friends, miss Emily Joyce! Emily and I met in high school and, though we live a few states away from each other now, we still keep in touch online and she’s known to spoil our boys with wonderful care packages at Christmastime. Both Emily and I are navigating life with anxiety, and I asked her to share her experience here with you all because I think it’s really important to share as many stories as possible. Like many other invisible illnesses, anxiety can vary a lot from one person to the next. I hope you enjoy reading about Emily’s point of view, and also enjoy reading about her life because she’s out there living her dream and being awesome in general.

Without further ado, Emily Joyce!

Before you read the rest of this interview, know this. Any number of good things happening in my life that I talk on in this interview are because of the time I put into me. It takes strength to figure out what is needed to help yourself, to put work and time into getting help. Don’t ever think you are being selfish, or needy, or any number of words. You’re trying to create a better life for you. That is the point of living, to find a way for you to live it well.  Don’t stop searching for that way. 

I am being interviewed because I am trying my hand in the Comedy Business. I am also being interviewed because I am open in saying I have Anxiety.  Now it’s just a part of me.

Described as excessive worry, emotional distress, and/or unwanted thoughts, it took feeling the symptoms of Anxiety for years to make me take a year off from college and be diagnosed. And in that year I learned different ways to combat it.

I wish I’d been able to figure this out sooner, have started learning strategies to cope. Instead I got all the way to my third year of College.  The start of a school year always brought nerves that could be crippling. Usually after a week or two it would fade out and life for the most part would go on like normal. However, I’d gone from odd hours as a CBS radio intern to the next day jetting off on a European trip with my Mom. My brain went haywire and she, nor I, could understand why I couldn’t leave hotel rooms without being a wreck.  It’s like I was continually Cary Grant in the scene from North By Northwest with an Airplane diving towards me. I didn’t have any answers to give.  Throughout these weeks I was incredibly nervous, to the point of being physically sick. I was coping by not going many places, and not eating or eating very little. On and on in a vicious cycle.

 Then came a new Fall Semester and a new college to finish my degree. It didn’t end, it just got worse. I ended the cycle because I made one of the the hardest decisions of my life and forced myself to get out of college, to ditch the impressive scholarship I had, and take an open ended amount of time to seek advice. I thought I was betraying myself and my education. That couldn’t be farther from reality. 

I can say this:

  • Getting yourself help is not a weakness. 
  • There are other people that have gone through what you’re going through and have come out of the other side. It doesn’t feel like it, but it’s true. 
  • The hardest and most fulfilling work you will ever do is on yourself. 
  • Finding a therapist/psychiatrist you connect with that is knowledgeable on your condition can do wonders. Keep looking for the right fit. 
  • Lastly, Having that support system of friends, family, etc. is needed. 

All of the above helped get me back to being healthy mentally, physically, and emotionally. I am incredibly thankful and lucky that my Mom had my back after seeing how bad I’d become. My Father too, fully supported and worried for me from afar.

My degree in Visual Arts and Performance and my schooling with Groundlings wouldn’t exist if I hadn’t taken that time.

My life is filled with the hubbub of Los Angeles where I live and work. I take classes at Groundlings on Melrose in the heart of Hollywood.  It is known for big comedy names, Will Ferrell, Kristen Wig, Melissa McCarthy to name a few. To try and become a Groundling and work in the main company takes years and hard work, and beating out a lot of other competition. You audition to get in and start training, work your way up through different class levels, perform on their school stages starting in Advanced, and hope beyond hope they pick you to keep going and then join their performance group, Sunday Company. The goal after Sunday Company: become a Groundling, possibly get looked at by Saturday Night Live, become an Actor or Writer for them or another big comedy name in the industry.  I am headed into Writing Lab, a month and half long journey ending in a performance that will lead me one step closer to Sunday Company or tell me in the words of Ariana Grande “thank you, next”.  I’d say if that doesn’t sound stressful then you might need to look at it again. What’s incredible is I can handle, not only handle, but often times thrive in now.  It’s work, don’t get me wrong, but I love every minute of it and I’d love to make a career out of it, fingers crossed.  I didn’t get a Visual Arts and Performance Degree for any old reason. It’s in every vein of my life at the moment. When I’m not going to school for Comedy I’m writing and performing with my sketch group, Road Friez. My job consists of me being an Artist and entertaining people while they learn to paint at Painting With A Twist.  It’s full, it can get harried when I have things back to back, and I still find myself at times with bad days with anxiety, but I’m happy with my life.

I find that on a bad day, I lean towards staying in, sewing, playing violin, or making sure to do something else that is good for me. Exercise and my love of Nature has me at my Community Garden and hanging out with a really stellar flock of Hens. I fell in love with Chickens and had my own flock starting in 2013. I’m lucky to still have one ladybird Sissy that lives up with my Mom, She’s 6 1/2!

What I’m saying and I’ll say again is this. You can have something, and you can live with it. Don’t let it control you, keep going, go after your Dreams, go after those Goals, and go after a Better well-founded mentally healthier you. And if I see you in the “Funny Business” feel free to say hello…and tell me a chicken story.


Emily Joyce

You can follow Emily on Instagram @EmilyTenarJoyce for pictures and daily life. ❤

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