As some of you may already know, geek icon Wil Wheaton, who appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Big Bang Theory, has struggled with depression. Recently, Wil partnered up with a nonprofit organization called Project UROK (pronounced “You Are Okay”) and discussed his depression.
In the video, Wil talks about having generalized anxiety disorder and chronic depression. According to the star, he wasn’t aware that he was suffering from said conditions until 15 or 20 years later. Wheaton just assumed that what he was feeling was normal. The actor only sought treatment from a psychiatrist about seven years ago.
Wil’s wife, Anne Wheaton, had already noticed that Wil had been having severe mood swings. She went with him to the psychiatrist to seek professional help. In an interview with Women’s Health, Anne talked about being with Wil through his depression and how it affected their relationship.
“As Wil’s depression got worse, I felt like I couldn’t say or do much to help him. He stopped wanting to visit friends because he didn’t want to deal with sitting in the traffic. Eventually, I started visiting them without him, because I missed them and missed going out after so many times of choosing to stay at home with Wil instead.”
“It really upset me to see Wil slowly become this sad, anxious, angry person instead of someone enjoying his life.”
Wil started getting treatment, and he soon realized that life is so much better and he didn’t feel bad anymore. He expressed what he felt in his moment of clarity.
“I was like ‘Oh, right! I can be a person now!’ I’m learning how to human. And it was the beginning of this journey that continues. Of learning how to live life with depression, rather than living life through depression.”
Wil Wheaton is not the only famous personality who shared his experience with Project UROK. Mara Wilson (Matilda), and Perez Hilton (celebrity gossip blogger) also shared their experiences in dealing with a mental illness.
According to the Examiner, Project UROK was started in order to provide those who suffer from mental illnesses a place where they can share their struggles and experiences with others.
— Chantal D (@chantald) June 30, 2015
— Alex Monteiro (@AlexMonteiro) June 29, 2015
Words matter. Hearing ‘YOU are okay’ meant 100x more than ‘IT is okay’ to me. I am more than how I feel & so are you. Thanks, @ProjectUROK.
— Linnéa Neo Carrick (@silvervittra) June 30, 2015
Since receiving treatment, Wil’s wife said that their relationship has changed. She says that she feels they are closer now than before, and they deal with Wil’s depression together.
“Wil occasionally has a day here or there when the depression gets bad and he has overwhelming feelings of self-doubt or lacks motivation. When that happens, we go for a long walk together and make sure he eats well and gets good sleep, and it passes.”
Wil finishes the video by leaving an encouraging message to those dealing with a mental illness.
“There are people who have spent their entire lives helping people like you and me and all of the people that you’re seeing in this video. And you are not alone. You are okay.”