Kristen Bell Opens Up About Her Struggle With Depression

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Kristen Bell
Kristen BellPhoto: John Salangsang/BFA.com

Kristen Bell may seem like the walking embodiment of a ray of sunshine, but like many women, she has struggled with mental illness. “I present this very cheery, bubbly person, but I also do a lot of work, a lot of introspective work,” said Bell in a candid interview with Off Camera’s Sam Jones

“I’m extremely co-dependent,” Bell explained. “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.”

Bell revealed that her family has a history of mental illness, and that her mother, a nurse, taught her to look out for the warning signs at an early age. “[She] 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,’” explains Bell, who started taking medication to deal with her anxiety and depression when she was young.

While almost one in five Americans deal with mental illness, it isn’t talked about enough. Hearing celebrities like Bell, or Cara Delevingne, or Lady Gaga open up about their own struggles can go a long way towards erasing some of the shame and stigma that still surround these issues.

”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,” said Bell. “It’s a very interesting double standard that I don’t often have the ability to talk about but I certainly feel no shame about.”