In many ways, Kristen Bell is the quintessential all-American woman. Her bright, effervescent personality and goofy humor — remember her Africa video with husband Dax Shepard? — are some of the biggest reasons the public can't get enough of her. But stars are regular people with personal struggles, too. In a recent interview, Bell spoke candidly about dealing with anxiety and depression in a move that led to a flood of love and support from fans.
"I'm extremely co-dependent," Bell told interviewer Sam Jones in the video released in early April. "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."
Bell said that when she was younger, she changed her interests according to what her friends liked, even though she was already a popular kid. Her mom also told her at 18 that her family has a history of serotonin imbalance. But there was no lack of family support:
[My mom] said, 'If you start to feel like you are twisting things around you and you start to 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.
The Frozen actress spoke honestly about taking medication to cope.
"I got on a prescription when I was really young to help with my anxiety and depression and I still take it today," she said. "I have no shame in that, because my mom had said to me, 'If you start to feel this way, talk to your doctor, talk to a psychologist, see how you want to help yourself. And 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.' But for some reason when someone needs a serotonin inhibitor, they're immediately crazy or something. I don't know, 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."
While it is important to note that not everyone will be as fortunate as Bell in handling her condition — having family support and being able to afford medication — it does nudge forward the conversation about mental illness. Considering the deep social stigma that still surrounds the issue today, revelations by celebrities who are similarly coping with it helps to dispel the shame associated with mental illness, as well as the ignorance about what it is and isn't.