Will Friedle has finally revealed why he hasn’t appeared on television since the finale of Boy Meets World. Friedle joined his former costars Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel for a panel at New York Comic Con, celebrating the 25th anniversary of their breakout show. There, he explained why he’s chosen to focus on voice work since leaving the show, rather than appear in front of the camera.
“What brought me to voice-over was anxiety,” he said, per Entertainment Weekly.
“I was planning to do more on-camera work, but then I got hit with these anxiety attacks that prevented me from doing that. I was so thankful I had voice-over because I could still perform and act,” he added.
Friedle later revealed that the anxiety began when he was around 22 or 23 years old. “My career was going in one direction, I thought I was going to be an on-camera actor my entire life,” he told the crowd. “It got to the point where my anxiety was so bad that I couldn’t audition for on-camera stuff anymore. So, it was like, I was so thankful that I had voice-over. I could still perform, I could still act.”
Friedle finally ended his self-imposed hiatus when he reprised the role of Eric for the Boy Meets World spin-off, Girl Meets World. “Lately I’ve pulled out of that because of Girl Meets World,” the actor explained. “[Creator] Michael [Jacobs] was like, ‘Come back if you want to come back.’ So I’ve been slowly starting that again, and it’s been fun.”
At one point, Fishel also chimed in and revealed that Friedle’s castmates were concerned about him. “There were years there when we were really worried about Will. He wasn’t leaving his house,” she said, according to Fox News. “We’re really happy you’re back out there.”
As SELF explained previously, anxiety attacks aren't the same thing as panic attacks, but they can still be distressing.
Panic attacks are intense episodes of fear or anxiety that come with physical symptoms, including an increased heart rate, shortness of breath, sweating, or dizziness. Anxiety disorders can also cause things like extreme fear or worry, a feeling that you're out of breath, and trembling.
So an anxiety attack might refer to an exacerbation of those symptoms or, sometimes, what people refer to as "anxiety attacks" are actually panic attacks. Either way, if you notice that your anxiety is interfering with your relationships or ability to work, that's a sign that you could use the help of a mental health professional.