Mental illness is a lot more prevalent than we previously thought — roughly 1 in 5 Canadians (or 20 per cent) suffers from it. That’s why it’s a bit surprising that we’re only just beginning to have conversations surrounding the topic, and why it’s kind of a big deal when a celebrity opens up about their own struggles.
In recent years the likes of Kristen Bell, Jon Hamm, Demi Levato and even J.K. Rowling have talked about their own experiences, helping to break the stigma surrounding the issue. The latest celeb to join those ranks is Amanda Seyfried, who recently opened up in an article with Allure magazine.
In the interview, Seyfried revealed that she has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and has been taking the anti-anxiety medication Lexapro since she was 19 years old to help keep it in check. Eleven years later, she has no plans to stop taking the drugs, even though she’s currently on the lowest possible dose. According to the actress the potential consequences just aren’t worth the risk.
“I don’t see the point of getting off of it. Whether it’s placebo or not, I don’t want to risk it. And what are you fighting against? Just the stigma of using a tool?” she said. “A mental illness is a thing that people cast in a different category [from other illnesses], but I don’t think it is. It should be taken as seriously as anything else.”
The Mamma Mia and Dear John actress revealed that before she began taking the medication her anxiety would overwhelm her to the point where she began to believe that she had a brain tumour. It wasn’t until her neurologist referred her to a psychiatrist that she sought out the help she needed.
“You don’t see the mental illness: It’s not a mass; it’s not a cyst. But it’s there. Why do you need to prove it? If you can treat it, you treat it,” she added.
We say good for her and everyone else like her who is helping to educate the general public with statements like these. After all, even if we don’t have a mental disorder ourselves, odds are we all know someone who does. So isn’t it about time we talked about it?