Amanda Seyfried is adding her voice to an important conversation about mental illness.
In the November issue of Allure, the actress opens up about living with obsessive-compulsive disorder. When describing the experience of renovating her house, she mentions worrying "about people and how they use stoves. Which is just a controlling thing."
Interviewer David Denicolo asks if that's related to her OCD, which she confirms, adding, "You could so easily burn down something if you leave the stove on. Or the oven."
Seyfried takes medication and doesn't agree with the stigma that's often associated with mental health treatment. She believes mental illness should be taken just as seriously as other health issues.
I'm on Lexapro, and I'll never get off of it. I've been on it since I was 19, so 11 years. I'm on the lowest dose. I don't see the point of getting off of it. Whether it's placebo or not, I don't want to risk it. And what are you fighting against? Just the stigma of using a tool? A mental illness is a thing that people cast in a different category [from other illnesses], but I don't think it is. It should be taken as seriously as anything else. You don't see the mental illness: It's not a mass; it's not a cyst. But it's there. Why do you need to prove it? If you can treat it, you treat it.
For Seyfried, treating her OCD has made a difference in her life. "As I get older, the compulsive thoughts and fears have diminished a lot," she says. "Knowing that a lot of my fears are not reality-based really helps."
Seyfried isn't the only celebrity to open up about their mental health. Kristen Bell, for example, spoke earlier this year about treating her anxiety and depression. Bell quoted her mother's example that "you would never deny a diabetic his insulin, ever." She calls it a "double standard" to shame the similar treatment of mental illness.
Hopefully, public discussions like these will let others who are struggling know they're not alone, and there is no shame in seeking help.