They say the more you talk about it, the more normal it becomes.
And that’s just how actress Kristen Bell is dealing with her depression and anxiety. “There’s nothing weak about struggling with mental illness. You’re just having a harder time living in your brain than other people,” the 35-year-old actress wrote in an incredibly honest and brave story for Time magazine’s Motto.
And to that we say, thank you, Kristen Bell.
This is such an important lesson in not judging a book by its cover. Because, from what we see on screen, and the red carpet, Kristen looks like a bubbly ball of sunshine. But that’s the thing with mental illness—unlike with someone with a broken arm, you can’t always see what’s wrong.
“If you tell a friend that you are sick, his first response is likely, ‘You should get that checked out by a doctor.’ Yet 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,” she wrote.
We could not agree more.
Bell describes first noticing changes in her mood when she was a student at New York University, saying, “I felt plagued with a negative attitude and a sense that I was permanently in the shade. I’m normally such a bubbly, positive person, and all of a sudden I stopped feeling like myself.” Fortunately, she had support from her mom, who made her feel comfortable speaking with a doctor when she began to noticed the changes.
Yet not everyone is fortunate enough to have a support system, which is why public initiatives that shed light on mental illness, like Bell Let’s Talk day, are so critical in destigmatizing depression, anxiety, and more.
Let’s take a cue from Kristen’s powerful piece, and recognize that talking about how we’re feeling, even though it might be uncomfortable and scary, is the first step to finding help.