Jordan Stephens Turns to Girlfriend Jade Thirlwall to Talk Through His Anxiety

Jordan Stephens Talks of ADHD and Anxiety on Happy Place
Getty / David M. Benett

Jordan Stephens has opened up about his experiences with body dysmorphia, ADHD, addiction, and anxiety on the “Happy Place” podcast this week. The former Rizzle Kicks star, who is dating Little Mix singer Jade Thirlwall, talked through his struggles with empathetic host Fearne Cotton as he spoke poignantly about the importance of speaking out. “I’ll feel sad sometimes when I don’t feel as though I’m in as good shape as I could be. It’s something I’m working on. I speak to my girlfriend about it,” he divulged.

The 30-year-old burst onto the scene as one half of British hip hop duo, Rizzle Kicks, back in 2010 with their release of chart-toppers like “Prophet (Better Watch It)” and “Down with the Trumpets”.

However, his rise to fame coincided with worsening mental health issues associated with his ADHD. Alongside the release of his new book, “The Missing Piece”, Stephens spoke candidly about his experiences with anxiety, explaining he often feels like a “misfit”. “There’ll be that egoic part of me that wants everybody to just know that I’m amazing. You know what I mean?” he says. “I want everyone to be like, ‘oh, he’s so amazing! Talk about coolness? What about this guy? This guy is the coolest.'” When his need for validation from others overwhelms him, he turns to Thirlwall who he has been dating for over two years. “I’ll say this sh*t to my girlfriend and she’ll be like, ‘what the f*ck? You are cool!’. I’ll be like, ‘no, but I need this. I need these people to say that,” he says.

Stephens was diagnosed with ADHD while taking his GCSEs, but never really “took it seriously”. It wasn’t until being diagnosed as an adult on Harley Street that Stephens started to understand what living with ADHD means. He began to self-medicate, alongside using other harder drugs to lessen anxiety as his career skyrocketed. Later, Stephens was prescribed effective ADHD medication that helped with his “noisy brain”, although he doesn’t medicate at all anymore.

Alongside his ADHD, Stephens revealed he struggles with body dysmorphia – a mental health condition where a person spends a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance, even though these flaws are often unnoticeable to others. “I think it’s actually a really silently common issue for men, women too. But I haven’t heard as much discussion about our perspective . . . I think it happens in a weird, extreme way, but I can only talk on behalf of myself,” he told Cotton. While maintaining a healthy diet helps when monitoring his anxiety, the added layer of body dysmorphia, which he describes as one of his “compulsive behaviours”, can make this difficult. “Food stresses me out, beyond belief”, he says.

There’s no doubt Stephens’s honesty will help others struggling with similar issues, especially talking to those around us.

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