Evan Rachel Wood shines as Dolores Abernathy on Westworld and she's received well-deserved Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for her incredible work on the HBO series. But the actress recently shared that Dolores has changed her life in a far more important way: She inspired Wood to seek trauma therapy.
Wood, who has previously spoken out about being raped twice by two different perpetrators, immediately felt a strong connection with Dolores. "She’s been abused for about 30 years," Wood said at Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit in Boston. The actress described her character as a "survivor" who's "not broken" despite all she's been through.
"She even has pity on her abusers. She rises above it, and that gave me strength in real life, and actually helped me come to terms with a lot of my trauma and my repressed memories," Wood continued. "It got me to go to trauma therapy and actually deal with things that I hadn’t dealt with at all. So she’s really changed my life."
The actress added that seeking professional help was crucial to her own healing process. "My biggest challenge I've ever overcome was myself. Nobody held me back more than me, and nobody was meaner to me," Wood said. "I shouldn’t even be here, and I tried not to be a couple of times... [I]t’s really hard to get help, the right kind of help. And it’s hard to even admit to yourself that you need help. And people are so terrified to ask for help."
Wood, who survived a suicide attempt, has consistently used her platform to bring attention to mental health. Earlier this year she was honored with a "Visibility Award" from the Human Rights Campaign. Wood used her speech to address a topic that doesn't get nearly enough attention: biphobia and the fact that bisexual women are at a high risk for depression and suicide.
At the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit, Wood added that her journey to self-acceptance means coming to grips with both what she likes about herself and what she continues to struggle with.
"[I]t was learning how to love myself in all my messy glory — the great things about myself, but also my imperfections, and [to] know that no one’s perfect, we’re always learning, and that’s a good thing," she said. "When you make mistakes, it's just proof you're trying. It's like, What are you going to do with the mistake? Are you going to learn from it? How are you going to grow from this? What's the lesson here? Keep asking yourself questions."