Depression recovery can feel hopeless – but that absolutely isn’t the case, says The Big Bang Theory’s Mayim Bialik.
Mental health is an issue that affects many of us, but women in particular can be vulnerable to issues: the most recent figures from the NHS show that one in five women in the UK have reported a mental illness in recent years, compared to one in eight men.
Yet, despite this, there continues to be a stigma surrounding mental health. Many feel forced to conform to the social media narrative of perfection, to ‘man up’ and to present a version of themselves to the world that they feel will be accepted.
Thank goodness, then, for those in the public eye who have chosen to be open about their own battles with mental wellness, helping pave the way to a better understanding of the issues faced by so many.
Following in the footsteps of Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Ellie Goulding and Fearne Cotton, Mayim Bialik – aka Dr Amy Farrah Fowler in The Big Bang Theory – has opened up about her own experience with depression.
Speaking in a video as part of the Child Mind Institute’s #MyYoungerSelf campaign, Bialik has highlighted the importance of getting help and pursuing different paths, even if one kind of treatment doesn’t seem to be working.
“I had this notion when I was younger that if something didn’t work once, or if a therapist didn’t work, or if a medication didn’t work, that nothing would ever work,” the actor and neuroscientist explained.
“I wish I could have told my younger self that something will work – it’s just going to take sometimes more research, sometimes more referrals, and really figuring things out like your life depends on it. Because for me, it did.”
Underlining the fact that, even when depression recovery feels hopeless, there is always hope, Bialik added: “I think what I would have liked to tell my younger self about my mental health is that there are answers,” she said.
“For me, some of those answers I had to wait years to find and I needed to get different help, which ended up being really the right kind of help.”
Depression, according to Mind, is a low mood that causes us to feel sad, hopeless, or miserable about life; these feelings last for a long time, and usually affect our everyday life.
Psychological symptoms include:
• Feeling upset or tearful
• Finding no pleasure in life or the things you usually enjoy
• Feeling isolated and unable to relate to others
• Experiencing a sense of unreality
• Finding yourself unable to concentrate
• Feeling hopeless, empty, or numb
Physical symptoms include:
• Losing interest in sex
• Difficulty sleeping, or sleeping too much
• Physical aches and pains with no cause
• Feeling tired all the time
• Moving very slowly
• Having no appetite and losing weight, or eating too much and gaining weight
However, while there are many signs and symptoms, everyone’s experience of depression will vary. As a general rule of thumb, mental health experts advise that you visit your GP if you experience symptoms of depression for most of the day, every day, for more than two weeks.
You can find out more information – including a series of approved self-care tips – on the Mind website.