Kristen Bell Gets Real About Depression

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Kristen Bell is rapidly becoming a very visible spokesperson for mental health awareness. First, she gave this extremely candid interview about her struggles with anxiety and depression. Now, she’s written an essay for Time’s Motto about why she won’t stay silent any longer.

Bell's essay centers around how she gained a great deal of permission from her mother to openly discuss and confront depression. Many people misunderstand the condition, and consequently might not take those affected by it seriously. Bell wants to dispel those myths.

“Here’s the thing: For me, depression is not sadness,” Bell writes. “It’s not having a bad day and needing a hug. It gave me a complete and utter sense of isolation and loneliness. Its debilitation was all-consuming, and it shut down my mental circuit board.”

Bell goes on to note that mental health issues like anxiety and depression persist despite external factors.

“There is such an extreme stigma about mental health issues, and I can’t make heads or tails of why it exists,” Bell writes. “Anxiety and depression are impervious to accolades or achievements. Anyone can be affected, despite their level of success or their place on the food chain.”

Another trope Bell wants to eradicate is that those struggling with mental health conditions are somehow weaker or less than others.

“It’s a knee-jerk reaction to judge people when they’re vulnerable,” Bell writes. “But there’s nothing weak about struggling with mental illness. You’re just having a harder time living in your brain than other people.”

Depression is a creeping mental health issue that affects many people in many different ways. The National Institute of Mental Health says that 8% of adult women in the U.S. will experience depression at least once this year. It can make relationships and socialization difficult or seemingly impossible. And it affects us and those around us in ways that we might or might not realize immediately.
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