Speaking on the podcast “How to Fail with Elizabeth Day”, the Normal People star said that she went through a particularly anxious period when she left school and her friends went off to university, which she chose not to attend in order to pursue her acting career.
“I did apply to a few places and got in, but I’d had an agent since I was 16, so I thought I’d give it a year to see if I could maybe get something,” the 22-year-old said.
“I didn’t get work. I auditioned and I got close and I didn’t get anything. I found that very anxiety making and I really struggled for a while.”
Edgar-Jones went on to explain that she experiences anxiety in different ways.
“When I feel anxious it comes out in different ways from me,” she said.
“One of the ways is that I struggle with hypochondria. I’m a bit of a hypochondriac.”
The actor added that she had “a lot more free time” when she left school because most of her friends were at university and she was auditioning for acting roles.
“I did think, ‘Gosh, am I missing out on life experience?’ and so I would get quite anxious,” she said.
The actor went on to explain that her hypochondria “comes in waves”.
“I’ve sort of had it for a while and I just think it ‘s my way of dealing with anxiety,” she continued.
“It comes out in a sort of need to control. If I see a rash for example, if I really overthink that and Google the heck out of it then I’m controlling it in some way.
“If I find out that it’s something really sinister, I’ve caught it before it could potentially become something worse.”
Edgar-Jones added that she sometimes becomes “obsessive” about potential health conditions, explaining she once “fully convinced” herself that she had hyper-hydration because she had drunk a large bottle of water.
“It is just that placebo effect where if you imagine stuff enough you start to feel it.”
According to the NHS, hypochondria, aka health anxiety, is when you spend so much time worrying you’re ill, or about getting ill, that it starts to take over your life.
It can be curbed by various self-help methods such as keeping a diary to document your various health anxieties and challenging your thoughts.
Edgar-Jones said that her boyfriend, the actor Tom Varey, “has probably been the best thing” for helping her through her hypochondria.