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Kristen Bell Opens Up About Her History Of Mental Illness

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Photo: Buchan/Variety/REX/Shutterstock.
Kristen Bell may be famous for her sense of humour and bubbly personality, but she's no stranger to struggling with mental illness — and she wants you to know that there's absolutely no shame in that.

The actress, known for her roles as the spunky Veronica Mars and as Frozen's whimsical Princess Anna, recently sat down for an interview on Off Camera and revealed her experiences dealing with anxiety and depression.

"I'm extremely co-dependent," she told interviewer Sam 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."

"I also struggled a lot with anxiety and depression," she said, adding that coming from a family with a history of mental illness meant she had an early education about seeking help.

She revealed that her grandmother was one of the first people to undergo electroshock therapy treatment for depression, which she says had a profound effect on her mother.

"[My mom's] a nurse, and she had the wherewithal to recognise 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 paralysed with fear, this is what it is and here's how you can help yourself,'" she said.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one out of every five Americans suffer from mental illness every year. And, as Bell says, women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorder as men.

The actress also added that she feels "no shame" in asking for help when she needs it — and neither should you. "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 said. "But for some reason, when someone needs a serotonin inhibitor, they're immediately crazy or something."
By opening up about her experience, Bell joins celebrities like Lena Dunham and Kate Middleton in speaking out and encouraging people not to suffer in silence and to overcome the undue shame that's often associated with mental illness. After all, taking care of our minds is just as important as taking care of our bodies.
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