DC movie actor Zachary Levi is in the spotlight this week for his (allegedly) anti-vax tweets. What’s this guy about, anyway? We turned to his recent memoir, Radical Love, for answers.
Levi’s BackstoryWhile Levi’s memoir doesn’t get into his opinions about vaccines, he bravely opens up about his lifelong struggle with crippling anxiety and depression. After hitting rock bottom in 2017, Levi ended up in an intensive therapy center where he was forced to face the things he had been avoiding his whole life.
Society places a terrible stigma around mental illness. It’s often judged more harshly than physical illness, which makes us ashamed to talk about our struggles. For a long time, Levi’s ignorance and shame prevented him from seeking help. Until the summer of 2017, he always white-knuckled his way through his problems without ever realizing how much help and healing he needed.
After his hit superhero movie Shazam! was released, Levi found himself with a bigger media platform, which he used to destigmatize mental health issues. He discussed it on late-night talk shows, podcasts, and online. He also was asked by HarperCollins to write a book about his journey. His career was going well, his book was almost finished, and he was filled with optimism and hope until the Covid-19 lockdown.
It was then that Levi learned that mental health was a marathon, not a race with a finish line. He thought he was no longer relying on external support to give him a sense of self-worth, but the truth was that he was only feeling good about himself because his life was going well.
The minute the world stopped, he spiraled back down again. Working had allowed him no downtime to sit around and beat himself up. Under quarantine, however, he had nothing but time. He was back to hating himself and waking up in the mornings with intense panic attacks. He was utterly depressed and shot through with anxiety and fear for himself and the world. But ultimately, he managed to break the vicious cycle of generational trauma and abuse, proving that we can all heal and start a new meaningful life if we learn to love and accept ourselves and others.
About the Author
Zachary Levi is an actor who has worked in TV, in film, and on Broadway. He played the lead character in the NBC series “Chuck” and is a Tony Award nominee for Best Actor in a Musical for “She Loves Me.” In 2019, Levi starred in the blockbuster Shazam! and will reprise his role in Shazam! Fury of the Gods this year.