From the outside, Cara Delevingne appears to have it all: a bevy of famous friends, lucrative modelling contracts, a burgeoning acting career – and now a possible best-selling novel to boot.
But, as Delevingne celebrates the release of her debut novel, Mirror, Mirror (a young adult story about friendship and identity), she’s once again decided to open up about her struggle with mental wellness.
Speaking with Net-a-Porter’s The Edit online magazine, Delevingne explained that she struggled with feelings of intense self-loathing as a teenager.
“If I fail at something, it's the worst thing in the world because I never forgive myself,” she said.
“I didn't feel like I was ever good enough. The fact I couldn't do as well as other people made me hate myself. And you're made to feel that once you get a mark, like a C, that's your mark in life; that's you as a human being. That really sat with me for a long time.
“I wish I could have given myself a hug. I wish I'd known that I was still in there somewhere, that I wasn't my own worst enemy, that I wasn't trapped. That if you can hold on for dear life — because being a teenager can feel like you're on a rollercoaster to hell, that's what it honestly felt like to me — you can get through it.
“Time moves on, feelings pass, it does get better.”
At the age of 15, Delevingne was removed from school to undergo treatment for her depression, saying she felt “something dark” within her as a teenager.
“I was very good at disassociating from emotion completely. And all the time I was second-guessing myself, saying something and then hating myself for saying it. I didn't understand what was happening apart from the fact that I didn't want to be alive anymore,” Delevingne explained.
Back in 2015, Delevingne spoke candidly for the first time to Vogue about her battle with mental health.
“This is something I haven’t been open about, but it’s a huge part of who I am,” she told Vogue magazine.
“All of a sudden I was hit with a massive wave of depression and anxiety and self-hatred, where the feelings were so painful that I would slam my head against a tree to try to knock myself out. I never cut, but I’d scratch myself to the point of bleeding. I just wanted to dematerialise and have someone sweep me away.”
She even thought about suicide at one point, but didn’t go through with it. At a low point, alone in a New York apartment, she spoke of an unshakable insomnia. “Full-on bubble. I was packing my bags, and suddenly I just wanted to end it. I had a way, and it was right there in front of me. And I was like, I need to decide whether I love myself as much as I love the idea of death.”
But now, Delevingne has since sought out treatment and help, and is in a much better place.
“I know it sounds really stupid, but I relied too much on love, too much on other people to make me happy, and I needed to learn to be happy by myself,” Delevingne said.
“So now I can be by myself, I can be happy. It took me a long time.”
Images: Rex Features