Mia Wasikowska on teen anxiety and energy

Mia Wasikowska

Mia Wasikowska portrayed troubled, suicidal teen gymnast Sophie in the outstanding HBO psychotherapy drama series “In Treatment.”

Her work made Sophie one of the most powerful, conflicted and emotionally complex teen characters I have seen. She was both fascinating and wrenching in her distraught intensity.

Teen anxiety

In a magazine interview about her lead role in Tim Burton’s new version of Alice in Wonderland, Wasikowska (pronounced Vash-i-kov-ska) commented,

“As a teenager I was very anxious.

“I had a lot of energy and passion that I wanted to channel into creative things, and I always felt like I wasn’t achieving enough.”

She notes her character Alice is now nineteen in the new movie, “with no recollection of having been there before.

“I really think it will be exciting, especially for girls my age because it explores that period of your life when you have these expectations upon you and you’re finding that, amongst that, you have to try and hold on to yourself.”

[From the March 2010 issue of Teen Vogue.]


Striving for perfection

In another interview, she commented about becoming disenchanted with striving for perfection as a child dancer.

“I was at dance school doing about 35 hours practice a week until I was 14.

“Then ballet started to grate – the whole idea of trying to attain perfection started to ruin the experience, so I decided to try another type of performance.”

From my High Ability post Gifted and driven: Striving for excellence & being a perfectionist.


Intensity / excitabilities

Wasikowska’s comments about experiencing anxiety and having “a lot of energy and passion” could apply to many children and teens, of course. But some of the most acclaimed actors and musicians are not only talented but also notably intense.

She also reminded me of some of the multiple articles and quotes on this site about high ability people experiencing excitabilities – a concept of Polish clinician and theorist Kazimierz Dabrowski.


A complex inner life

For example, Linda Silverman, PhD of the Gifted Development Center has commented, “The inner experience of the gifted young person is rich, complex, and turbulent.

“Their vast emotional range makes them appear contradictory: mature and immature, arrogant and compassionate, aggressive and timid.”

From the page Dabrowski / advanced development.

Related article: Overexcitabilities in Gifted Children, By Lesley Sword.


More resources:

Gifted, Talented, Creative, Anxious – Dealing With Fear

Gifted and Stressed

High Ability And Sensitivity, But Anxiety


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