Kristen Bell wrote a powerful essay about her struggle with depression, the illness that can affect anyone, no matter how sunny they may seem. In a piece for Motto titled "I’m Over Staying Silent About Depression," Bell (Princess Anna herself!) tells her personal story and says "there's nothing weak about struggling with mental illness."
Bell writes about how her mom's candidness gave her the tools to seek out help:
When I was 18, my mom sat me down and said, “If there ever comes a time where you feel like a dark cloud is following you, you can get help. You can talk to me, talk to a therapist, talk to doctor. I want you to know that there are options.”
I’m so thankful for her openness on this predominantly silent subject because later, when I was in college, that time did come. 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.
There was no logical reason for me to feel this way. I was at New York University, I was paying my bills on time, I had friends and ambition—but for some reason, there was something intangible dragging me down. Luckily, thanks to my mom, I knew that help was out there—and to seek it without shame.
While many interpret depression simply as sadness, Bell explained what separates the illness from the common human emotion.
Here’s the thing: For me, depression is not sadness. 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. I felt worthless, like I had nothing to offer, like I was a failure. Now, after seeking help, I can see that those thoughts, of course, couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s important for me to be candid about this so people in a similar situation can realize that they are not worthless and that they do have something to offer. We all do.
An open, honest conversation is what it takes to stamp out stigma and encourage people to seek out the help they need, and Bell is starting with her own story.
Read the whole piece over at Motto.