“Secrets are no good […] I was brought up in a family where we had so many secrets. It felt so good to let the world know I was human and suffered from depression and I wasn’t that perfect person everyone thought I was.” – Maureen McCormick.
Last Tuesday, Maureen McCormick, The Brady Bunch star and Celebrity Fit Club winner, spoke about her struggles with mental health issues, eating disorders, and substance abuse – as well as how growing up in a family full of secrets affected her mental health – at “Conversations,” a series that’s part of the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting. The series is designed to shine a light on perspectives on mental illness from well-known individuals and has included such famous names as Patty Duke, Brooke Shields, and Carrie Fisher.
McCormick wasn’t always so open about her mental health problems; in fact, she didn’t publicly address any of it until after her appearance on Celebrity Fit Club in 2007. When she finally did, it was no casual mention: She published Here’s the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice and has become committed to fighting mental illness stigma.
Obviously I want to shine the Mental Health Month Spotlight on Maureen McCormick because she’s using her own story as a way to help others, but what’s even more impressive is just how honest she’s been since sharing her story.
During McCormick’s 2008 interview with The Today Show‘s Meredith Vieira, she admitted:
- She struggled portraying Marcia Brady because the two girls (herself and the character) were so opposite.
- Both her mother and her grandmother had mental health issues due to syphilis, and she feared that she, too, had syphilis and would “go insane” and need to go to a mental institution. (McCormick’s grandmother died in a mental institution from syphilis, and her grandmother’s husband committed suicide a week later.)
- She actually enjoyed filming the crying scenes the most because they were a way for her to get out her pain and sadness. (During The Brady Bunch episode when Marcia cries over her new braces, she’s actually crying real tears over everything that’s going on in her own life such as her father’s infidelity.)
- Trying to numb the pain of her life led to a cocaine addiction, bulimia, and two abortions.
- She battled depression for years into her adult life.
Not many people would admit to even one of those facts, but McCormick embraces her past for what it was, shares how she became well again, and hopes her story can help others to do the same.
Image Source: Wikipedia