The Good Place’s Kristen Bell had been silently battling anxiety and depression, until her husband, Dax Shepard, encouraged her to publicly open up about it.
As many fans will no doubt be aware, Kristen Bell started taking medication for anxiety and depression when she was younger, and still does to this day – proving that mental health issues don’t discriminate, even for people who appear “cheery”.
However, while The Good Place star is incredibly open about her struggles with ill mental health nowadays, it took years before Bell felt able to do so.
“When I was 18, my mum sat me down and said ‘Hey look, I suffered from anxiety and depression, so did your grandma. If you ever feel this, here’s what you can do, here are the resources that are available to you,’” she shared on a recent episode of the Today show.
“I had taken advantage of that when I started to feel anxiety and depression, but I didn’t really talk about it because I was feeling the stigma for many many years.”
Bell continued: “It occurred to me that I was showing this very bubbly, bright persona, and that it was inauthentic because it wasn’t telling the whole story.
“I had a pit in my stomach for almost feeling ashamed that I had hidden it for so long, because it could’ve helped people before if I had talked about it.”
One day, though, Bell asked her husband, Dax Shepard, for his advice on what she should discuss during an upcoming talk show appearance.
His advice was simple: talk about what you’re going through.
“I’m grateful to my husband for saying, ‘No, you should just talk about it.’ Like he talks about the fact that he’s sober, and that helps people,” Bell said.
“And I now have not stopped talking about it, mainly because I want people to hear that it’s not a big deal and that you can be happy and healthy.”
As for anyone who judges her or any person dealing with mental health issues?
“It’s a joke if you think everybody’s not hiding some secret shame about being anxiety-riddled or depressed at some point,” Bell said.
“We’re all there, OK? Everybody’s crazy. It’s not a competition.”
Anxiety affects more than eight million people in the UK, making it the most common form of mental illness. It can affect anyone, at any time, and at any age.
Symptoms include psychological sensations, such as being unable to concentrate, feeling emotionally numb, and having a sense of dread, as well as physical sensations, such as nausea, tension headaches, difficulty sleeping, or dizziness.
If you suffer from anxiety, your GP can offer talking treatments and certain types of medication to help you stay on top of your anxiety.
The charity Mind also provides a number of self-care tips. These include breathing exercises, complementary therapies, and ideas on how best to break the cycle of fear and anxiety.