Kristen Bell Really Is Just Like Us, She’s Depressed Too

Just a show of hands… how many of you are depressed? Currently? Seasonally? Went through a dark time in middle school but it ‘got better’??? I’m not even going to extend this to knowing a depressed person. Deadass, we’ve all been there. You have to be. It’s how you get your human card. But just because depression is as ubiquitous as the need for hydration doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be talking about it. In fact, it’s the pervasive presence of depression that is so often used to silence discussion. We’ve all been sad, your father says to you unsolicited across the dinner table, but you don’t get to just check out on life.

But I want to, your frenemy whines in your ear. We can just check out, encourages your depression. We don’t have to do this. It’s not that you want to die, it’s more that you’ve failed to see the point in continuing to live. Your concerned, albeit naïve friend reminds you that it’s okay to get help. That it might be time to see a new therapist. That you can vacation in the psych ward instead of turning your illness into the butt of your every joke. But what am I when I’m not depressed? This has always been who I am. 

You owe much of your personality to your depression, but you don’t owe it your life. Kristen Bell has made a career out of being the girl with a Midwestern beauty queen’s beauty and the voice for prime articulation. We see her as one half of one of Hollywood’s most envied marriagesShe’s Anna for christ’s sake. How can she not be perfect? She’s entertained our children for us when we’re too tired to deal with them. She’s been all of us on House of Lies. This is a woman who has her s**t together. She can’t be depressed. But she is. So she wrote us this pithy piece on her experience with depression.

There was no logical reason for me to feel this way. I was at New York University, I was paying my bills on time, I had friends and ambition—but for some reason, there was something intangible dragging me down. Luckily, thanks to my mom, I knew that help was out there—and to seek it without shame.

Have you ever felt the guilt of privilege locking you to your bed in the morning? Have you ever thought I have no reason to be depressed, so why am I? 

 It’s not having a bad day and needing a hug. It gave me a complete and utter sense of isolation and loneliness. Its debilitation was all-consuming, and it shut down my mental circuit board. I felt worthless, like I had nothing to offer, like I was a failure.

Have you ever had a friend tell you, you don’t look depressed? If not for a little thing called twitter and an incurable compulsion to be vulnerable with strangers, no one would know how I really feel either.

It’s a knee-jerk reaction to judge people when they’re vulnerable. But there’s nothing weak about struggling with mental illness.

Struggling with mental illness should be no less embarrassing than stubbing your toe on your coffee table. It hurts like hell, but it’s just something that happens sometimes.

We’re all on team human here, and let’s be honest—it’s not an easy team to be on.

It’s the hardest team to be on. Who the f**k needs an economy? Taxes? A criminal justice system? Being a human is terrifying. It’s okay to be having a really hard time with it. Read Bell’s full letter here. It might make you feel a little less fucked.

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7 years ago

Well said.