Though many shy away from the topic of mental health (especially those in the limelight) actress Kristen Bell is unapologetic when she talks about her ongoing battle with depression. She recently wrote an extremely candid essay for Time’s Motto in which she chronicles her earlier darker days suffering with depression to a much healthier place where she has learned how to deal with her mental health issues.
Bell credits her mother for enlightening her about depression and making her understand that she can and should seek help when feeling down. Bell writes, “When I was 18, my mom sat me down and said, ‘If there ever comes a time where you feel like a dark cloud is following you, you can get help. You can talk to me, talk to a therapist, talk to doctor. I want you to know that there are options.’
A few years later when Bell was in college her mother’s words came back to her at a time she needed them most. The usually happy and “bubbly” Bell began feeling a darkness take hold that she just could not shake. She explains, “There was no logical reason for me to feel this way. I was at New York University, I was paying my bills on time, I had friends and ambition—but for some reason, there was something intangible dragging me down. Luckily, thanks to my mom, I knew that help was out there—and to seek it without shame.”
Through the years Bell has learned to deal with her depression with the help of therapists and medication. And though she had no shame in seeking help for her mental health issues, she waited a good 15 years before she felt comfortable enough to share her struggles publicly. But because the actress feels mental health should never be something we should be ashamed to discuss, she made the decision to be more open about her struggles. Bell writes, “It’s important for me to be candid about this so people in a similar situation can realize that they are not worthless and that they do have something to offer. We all do.”
The actress also advocates “mental health check-ins” in the same way you may go to the doctor when you have a bad cold, seeing your doctor for feelings of depression and anxiety can benefit. Her own experiences seeking help for her own mental health have made her realize that she has a lot of options to combat her own depression. She explains, “You know what happens when I visit my doctor regarding my mental health? He listens. He doesn’t downplay my feelings or immediately hand me a pill or tell me what to do. He talks to me about my options. Because when it comes to your brain, there are a lot of different ways to help yourself.”
What do you think about the way Kristen Bell has opened up about her battle with depression?
Do you think being more open about mental health will help others suffering from similar issues?