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Kristen Bell: ‘There’s Nothing Weak About Struggling With Mental Illness’

Kristen Bell recently admitted to a lifelong struggle with depression and anxiety, but that was only the first step in her desire to open up about her own struggles with mental illness. Like many of those suffering from one or another mental illness, Ms. Bell wants to build awareness and remove the stigma associated with depression, anxiety, and other forms of mental illness. Kristen just recently took another step in that direction by penning an open and honest essay about her struggles with depression for Motto.

House Of Lies Star Kristen Bell No Longer Wants To Keep Quiet About Depression And Anxiety

Kristen reveals that her mother also suffered from depression and that, at age 18, her mom sat her down to make sure she knew that she had options, should she ever experience depression herself.

“If there ever comes a time where you feel like a dark cloud is following you, you can get help,” Bell’s mother told her. “You can talk to me, talk to a therapist, talk to doctor. I want you to know that there are options.”

Kristen says that the time did come, when her normally happy and bright personality was overshadowed by the dark, negative influences of depression. Ms. Bell says that, if not for her mother’s words of advice, she might have become much more lost in college, not knowing that there were people out there to turn to for help. Kristen points out that, even today, people don’t talk about depression or mental illness, so, if not for her mom, the Bad Moms actress might never have even had a name for the illness afflicting her.

In turn, Bell kept quiet about her own struggle with depression, keeping it hidden even from those closest to her, but, after keeping silent through the first 15 years of her career, Kristen is opening up about the need to talk about mental illness.

Kristen Bell Says Depression Is More Than Just Having A Bad Day

In her essay, Kristen talks about the stigma surrounding depression and mental illness, adding that she finds no reason for society’s ignorance when it comes to these illnesses, particularly because they can affect anyone at anytime. She says depression is more than having a bad day or needing a hug to feel better, but, instead, is a completely debilitating, all-consuming condition that cripples nearly 20 percent of society.

“I felt worthless, like I had nothing to offer, like I was a failure,” Kristen Bell writes in describing her experience with depression. “Now, after seeking help, I can see that those thoughts, of course, couldn’t have been more wrong. 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.”

Ms. Bell says that going in for a mental health check up should be as regular and as routine as seeing a doctor or dentist for physical check-ups. Kristen points out that describing an ailment to a friend almost always results in that friend recommending a visit to the doctor, but that same friend might not be likely to offer similar advice, where mental ailments are concerned.

“…if you tell a friend you’re feeling depressed, he will be scared or reluctant to give you that same advice. You know what? I’m over it.”

Kristen acknowledges that society tends to judge people for their vulnerabilities, but she adds that there’s nothing weak about battling mental illness. Ms. Bell describes depression and mental illness as having a harder time living in your brain than most other people and she stresses the point that those who do suffer from mental illness are never alone. Bell urges a visit to a mental health professional, because they’re trained to offer the patient options for dealing with their particular ailment.

In closing her essay, Ms. Bell seeks to encourage others to seek help and to negate the stigma surrounding mental illness by talking openly about it. Kristen ends her essay with a message of hope.

“We’re all on team human here, and let’s be honest—it’s not an easy team to be on. It’s stressful and taxing and worrisome, but it’s also fulfilling and beautiful and bright. In order for all of us to experience the full breadth of team human, we have to communicate. Talking about how you’re feeling is the first step to helping yourself. Depression is a problem that actually has so many solutions. Let’s work together to find those solutions for each other and cast some light on a dark situation.”

[Image by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images]