I’m a big Kristen Bell fan though probably not for the reasons most come to adore her. Sure, as a talented actress, she’s been in many movies you know and love. And, while those are reasons to appreciate her, I’m mostly a Kristen Bell fan because of one fact. Kristen Bell is a depression fighter.
As you will learn in this video, Kristen has a family history of mental illness. Her grandmother especially suffered from severe bouts of depression. The friendly, bubbly demeanor that many fans associate with Kristen is only one layer. Most don’t see when she struggles with depression and anxiety on the regular.
What I think makes Kristen’s story particularly inspiring is her approach to mental illness. She has a healthy grasp of what her condition is and how it affects her. Kristen attributes her view of depression and anxiety to her mother, a nurse, who sat her down at a young age and set the tone for the upcoming fight.
“If you start to feel like you’re twisting things around you, or you start to feel like there’s no sunlight around you or you are paralyzed with fear, this is what it is, and this is how you can help yourself.”
I appreciate how Kristen can look at her illness clinically. As a result, she doesn’t feel the shame that many often struggle to overcome.
In this short clip, we learn some valuable lessons from Kristen that we can use in our daily fight against mental illness.
Lesson 1: It’s not you, it’s clinical
Kristen’s depression is hereditary, but depression can be the result of an almost infinite number of causes. It could be situational, it could be the result of trauma, it could be chemical, the reason is all over the place. But the point is, do not believe your illness when it tells you that it’s all your fault. It isn’t you; it’s the illness. So don’t make things worse by blaming yourself.
Lesson 2: Help yourself
Kristen’s mother gave her some good advice to talk to her doctor and find a psychologist. The lesson here is that we should be active in our recovery. Your illness will tell you that you have no control, but you do have some power. Get a doctor, find a psychologist, and don’t stop until you get a good one.
You’re not helpless. You can work to make things better.
Lesson 3: There is NO shame
I love how Kristen is so matter of fact about her condition. It’s a lot like how I discuss my depression. I don’t have shame in my illness. In fact, I refuse to allow any guilt to creep in. Kristen is so confident in herself that there’s no shame for her. I respect that wholeheartedly.
“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. 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.”
Here’s the nuts and bolts of it all: If Lesson One is right, then my depression is not my fault. And, if I’m following Lesson Two and taking an active role in my recovery, then why should I ever feel ashamed? It’s not my fault, and I’m trying to make things better.
Please watch this short video and take some encouragement from Kristen’s story. Not only is she unashamed of her condition, but she’s also further proof that you can thrive despite your illness.
Thank you, Kristen, for being so honest about your condition and thank you, Sam Jones, for giving her a safe place to share her story.
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