Kristen Bell wants you to know there’s no shame in dealing with anxiety or depression.
Sitting down for an interview on Off Camera with Sam Jones, the actress opened up about her struggle, admitting that she suffers from both anxiety and depression and has since she was young, as it runs in her family.
“I’m extremely co-dependent,” Bell, 35, told Jones. “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.”
Although the mother of two acknowledges her popularity in high school, she explained that she still always felt anxious on the inside, causing her to constantly mold her interests around those of her classmates.
Coming from a line of women who have suffered with mental illness meant early education for Bell, whose mother, a nurse, told her early on about her susceptibility to a “serotonin imbalance,” after she watched her own mother – Bell’s grandmother – suffer through bouts of binge drinking while locked in her bedroom.
“[My mom’s] a nurse and she had the wherewithal to recognize that in herself when she was feeling it, and when I was 18 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,” Bell added.
Despite there still being a stigma associated with mental illness, the Frozen star said she’s not ashamed to ask for help when she needs it, and takes medication to keep her anxiety and depression in check.
“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,” she added. “But for some reason, when someone needs a serotonin inhibitor, they’re immediately crazy or something.”
Aside from seeking medical help, Bell said during an April appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show that motherhood has also made her more confident in her abilities to offer advice to others.
“I’m so into health food and just healthy living that my girlfriends and my friends, I feel like, are a little bit over it,” she said. “Because I’ll walk into the room and be like, you guys, does everybody know about selenium?!”