06/18/2012 at 06:00 PM EDT
is well known for playing brassy, confident characters in movies like The Help
– but the actress recently revealed something that fans likely wouldn't expect: She grew up suffering from panic attacks.
Stone, who stars with beau Andrew Garfield
in the upcoming superhero film The Amazing Spider-Man
, tells Vogue
in their July cover story that she had panic attacks starting at about 8 years old.
"I was just kind of immobilized by it," she explains. "I didn't want to go to my friends' houses or hang out with anybody, and nobody really understood."
Despite her childhood anxiety, however, Stone says she managed to work through her fears. After years of therapy and a foray into comic theater, she began to come out of her shell and pursue acting. By age 14, she had even put together a PowerPoint presentation to convince her parents to let her drop out of high school and start auditioning for roles (She was successful.)
"[Being on stage] gave me a sense of purpose. I wanted to make people laugh," she tells Vogue
. "Comedy was my sport. It taught me how to roll with the punches. Failure is the exact same as success when it comes to comedy because it just keeps coming. It never stops."
Stone says she still gets panic attacks sometimes, but has learned to channel her feelings into her work. For example, in order to cope with her anxiety during the filming of The Amazing Spider-Man
, she turned her attention to baking.
"I think I felt really out of control of my surroundings," she says. "I was just baking all the time. It seemed like it made me feel, if I put these in, I'll know what the outcome is."
Although Stone doesn't talk much about costar Garfield in the interview, he has nothing but praise for her. “Working with Emma was like diving into a thrilling, twisting river and never holding on to the sides," Garfield tells Vogue.
"Spontaneous. In the moment. Present. Terrifying. Vital. The only way acting with someone should be."