Ariana Madix Says ‘DWTS’ Taught Her to Deal With Anxiety
After years of dealing with crippling anxiety, Ariana Madix exclusively dished to Life & Style about how competing on Dancing With the Stars has taught her new ways to cope with her struggles.
“Every time before we perform, I’m, like, incredibly nervous,” Ariana, 38, told Life & Style at the Tuesday, November 14 taping of DWTS in Los Angeles. “I’m out here, like, shaking my hands, trying to do deep breathing or whatever. And even though I feel that, somehow it still comes together. So I think that that’s something that I’m learning – that I can feel that way, but that doesn’t mean everything is going to fall apart. I can trust myself.”
This skill is something that the reality star is using outside of the ballroom, as well. “I am a very anxious person in general, so I think that it translates in the sense that I can just breathe through it and keep going,” she explained. “I can trust myself to handle it.”
Ariana is partnered with Pasha Pashkov on the show and credits him with helping her feel confident on the dance floor. “Even after dress rehearsal, it was like, ‘Oh that went great,’ and I was nervous [but Pasha was] just like, ‘That’s all I want. You don’t have to do more. You can just do what you just did,’” the Bravo star shared.
While appearing on Vanderpump Rules, Ariana has been open about her struggles with anxiety, and has even confessed to having suicidal thoughts in the past. Earlier this year, she dealt with more intense anxiety than ever after her longtime boyfriend, Tom Sandoval, cheated on her with her friend Raquel Leviss. The scandal played out in the public eye and then on the 10th season of the Bravo reality show.
“It felt like rock bottom,” she admitted to People in May. “I’ve gone through other stuff before on the show but nothing like this at all. But there’s nowhere else to go from rock bottom except up. So honestly, realizing that really helped me come out of it.”
Ariana and Pasha, 37, are one of six teams left competing for the mirrorball on season 32 of Dancing With the Stars. For the most part, the former bartender has been focused on dancing during her time on the show, but she did reference Tom’s affair during the season premiere in September.
“My life has been a rollercoaster in the past year,” Ariana said. “Everybody got to watch it all play out and my life blow up on television. But my scandal does not define me. It’s time for me to stand on my own two feet. Feeling like you were a joke to your partner of nine years is devastating, but I want to show other women that you don’t have to let that hold you back.”