It doesn’t take a first glance to assume that Brazilian supermodel, Gisele Bündchen has a picture-perfect life. Her nearly thousands of Instagram photos, 11 Vogue magazine covers, interviews and spreads on TIME, Vanity Fair, Forbes, and Rollingstone do a good job of leaving that impression just fine. Still, as the international supermodel reveals in her new memoir, Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life, even the most seemingly perfect of lives can have cracks.
In a new interview about her upcoming memoir, Bündchen detailed a few her struggles with mental health.
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Just received a copy of Lessons! I can’t believe my book will be out Oct 2nd! What an incredible journey this has been! I am so happy I get to share it with you. I hope you like it! #LessonsbyGisele 🙏✨😘 Acabei de receber a copia do Lessons (Aprendizados)!!! Não acredito que meu livro já vai ser lançado agora em outubro! Foi uma caminhada incrível e estou muito feliz por poder compartilha-lo. Espero que gostem! #Aprendizados
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“Things can be looking perfect on the outside, but you have no idea what’s really going on,” Bündchen told People in a recent interview about her upcoming book. “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.”
Speaking about the circumstances around these experiences, Bündchen revealed that she started experiencing panic attacks as early as 2003, during a time that her career had just begun to take off. The model explained that she had her first panic attack while on a bumpy flight which subsequently triggered a fear of enclosed spaces that would set her off while in enclosed tunnels and elevators. “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. Like, ‘Why should I be feeling this?’ I felt like I wasn’t allowed to feel bad,” she said. “But I felt powerless. Your world becomes smaller and smaller, and you can’t breathe, which is the worst feeling I’ve ever had.”
In her search to find a way to put an end to the panic attacks, Bündchen revealed to People that she started to consider suicide. “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,'” she said. She sought the help of a specialist and was prescribed Xanax, which didn’t sit well with her. “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?’ The only thing I knew was, I needed help.”
Opting out of her doctor’s recommendation that she try a prescription for Xanax, Bündchen revealed that she decided to alter her lifestyle. She started with cutting out out drinking and smoking, which she admitted to doing on a daily basis. Soon after she cut out sugar and picked up yoga and meditation. “I thought, if this stuff is in any way the cause of this pain in my life, it’s gotta go,” the model said of her decision.
Bündchen’s new book, Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life, is available in bookstores and online now. All proceeds from the book have been pledged to Projeto Agua Limpa, a Brazil-based nonprofit working to protect water sources and promote sustainability.