It is hard to believe, watching a movie like Indiana Jones that Harrison Ford is scared of anything, but in his own words, “It’s people I’m scared of.” [In Normal Conversation, 2000, Bob Thomas, Associated Press] Harrison Ford suffers from anxiety. In particular, he has a fear of public speaking.
Harrison Ford was born in 1942 in Chicago, Illinois. After becoming discouraged by his lack of success in acting, he left the industry to pursue a career in carpentry. A number of years later, he was offered a role in American Graffiti (1973)and yet later, in Star Wars (1977). In 1981 he starred in Raiders of the Lost Ark as Indiana Jones. In 1985 he received nominations for both an Academy Award and Golden Globe award for his role in Witness.
Harrison Ford has appeared in countless movies and has received the Life Achievement Award of the American Film Institute. But even so, he is afraid to give a speech or talk in front of a group of people. According to Harrison Ford, public speaking is, “a mixed bag of terror and anxiety.” Even when the character he is playing must make a speech, he experiences the same feelings.
The fear of public speaking is a “specific phobia.” Many people with specific phobias will try to avoid any situation that may cause anxiety or panic. This can sometimes interfere with their daily life. Let’s take the example of elevators. If you have an intense fear of getting into an elevator, a person can take the stairs to avoid the situation. This may create problems if you need to be on the 20th floor of a building and are running late. After having experienced enough attacks from your phobia, you may try to avoid buildings with elevators altogether. This can limit where you work, where you go, what doctor you see.
People with specific phobias can be helped. Behavioral therapy is when a person is gradually introduced to the situation or object that is causing the anxiety. The exposure is slowly increased until the person no longer feels the fear or intense anxiety. Usually, this is completed in steps, with each step continued until the anxiety disappears, and then the next step will be taken. For example, people afraid of flying may become anxious just walking into an airport. This step would be repeated until the person is able to walk into the airport before moving further. This type of treatment is usually done with a trained therapist and has been found to be very helpful.
If you suffer from a specific phobia (or more than one), talk with your doctor about your symptoms and ask for a referral to a therapist in your area that may be able to help you. Remember, you are not alone, and you do not need to spend your life afraid, there is help available.
“In Normal Conversation,” 2000, Feb 28, Bob Thomas, Associated Press
Harrison Ford, Internet Move Database