From her days on Veronica Mars, to voicing the character Elsa in Disney’s smash-hit, Frozen, actress Kristen Bell has always projected an image of happiness and positivity. She’s married to comedian Dax Shepard and, over the years, the pair have engaged in antics that have reminded people just how funny she can be. For this reason, she’s the perfect person to be speaking out about what it’s like to live with depression and anxiety.
Bell recently sat down with Off Camera and, during the interview, she opened up about living with depression and anxiety from a very young age and how she came to learn that certain conditions were prevalent in her family.
The 35-year-old explained: “I’m extremely co-dependent. I shatter a little bit when I think people don’t like me. That’s part of why I lead with kindness and I compensate by being very bubbly all the time because it really hurts my feelings when I know I’m not liked. And I know that’s not very healthy and I fight it all the time.”
It’s a good thing she was popular in high school but she admitted to feeling anxious anyway which led to her choosing to adopt the interests of her classmates rather than trying to follow a path of her own.
Things became a lot clearer, one day, after engaging in a very important conversation. “[My mom’s] a nurse,” she explained, “and she had the wherewithal to recognize that in herself when she was feeling it and when I was 18 said, ‘If you start to feel like you are twisting things around you, and you feel like there is no sunlight around you, and you are paralyzed with fear, this is what it is and here’s how you can help yourself.”
While Bell feels that she has developed the skills she needs to cope with her mental illness, she still asks for help when she needs it. Today, she relies on medication to manage her depression and anxiety symptoms.
Of the stigma surrounding mental illness, she stated: “If you do decide to go on a prescription to help yourself, understand that the world wants to shame you for that, but in the medical community, you would never deny a diabetic his insulin. Ever. But for some reason, when someone needs a serotonin inhibitor, they’re immediately crazy or something.”
This is something that many people deal with every day but, fortunately, because people like Kristen Bell are willing to speak out, awareness is spreading. All we can do is continue to share the message and bring the suffering of millions out of the shadows.