'Jersey Shore' Star Deena Cortese on Her Anxiety: 'I Just Looked Like a Crazy Person' (VIDEO)
But in the sixth and final season of the MTV juggernaut, Cortese has been far from her usual meatball self. Struggling without her boyfriend Chris Buckner at her side, the reality star has faced serious bouts with separation anxiety.
"I get bad panic attacks [and] as people who get panic attacks know, I get like sick," Cortese told Celebuzz. "I just kept repeatedly getting them while I was in the house. And I think in the past year, my world has changed so quickly that I think I’m still getting used to it. So my anxiety has been a lot worse that usual. I’ve always had anxiety, but I think my life is so fast now, I’m still getting used to it."
In past seasons, Cortese dove right in to the fist-pumping, party-hard lifestyle with her Jersey Shore roommates. But this last time around, moving to the cast home in Seaside Heights, N.J., meant leaving behind her beau of more than a year.
"Moving into the house, it was completely different to me [because] I had to be a meatball but I didn’t want to disrespect [Chris]." she explained. "It took a struggle on myself. I have all these perceptions of how I should be in that house. That’s my character. People know me as…fun Deena, when really I just wanted to be Deena. So I was struggling with a lot."
And tackling such tough times without her best friend, Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, only made matters worse for Cortese."When I was drinking with Nicole, I had my meatball and no one really looked at me like having a drinking problem because I had Nicole and we were meatballs and we do it," she said.
She continued, "I didn’t have Nicole. And I’m drinking by myself, I’m getting into trouble, and it looks like I have a problem. They’re making fun of me because I’m the only drunk one. So it was a lot of annoying things that I just didn’t want to deal with."
'the jersey shore' moves out of seaside heights house"]As Cortese fought her anxiety attacks, her housemates were a shoulder to lean on — at time. "They were helpful, but they clowned me a lot because I would be drunk or whatever," she said.
Other times, though, she resisted leaning on her roommates. "There was stuff in the house that I didn’t need to talk to them about," she continued. "They didn’t know how my relationship was. They would try and say they knew, but they really didn’t. So, I was like I didn’t even really need to tell these people what’s going on."
In hindsight, Cortese regrets hiding her struggles because of how it came across on camera. "I had anxiety and I just wanted to go to my support system, my boyfriend, and I didn’t want to say it on camera [because] that made me look crazy," she explained. "Instead of saying, ‘I’m having a panic attack,’ or, ‘This is what is going on,’ I just looked like a crazy person. But it happens."