Girls creator and actress Lena Dunham spoke about mental illness and the uphill battle some women face during a candid interview with Riot, Refinery 29's comedy video series, on Monday.
Author and comedian Jacqueline Novak sat down with Dunham and asked the Emmy-nominated producer about her personal experiences with anxiety.
In the blunt interview, Dunham spoke freely about how anxiety and thoughts of death keep her up at night — and why she doesn't think it's terribly unusual.
"Why shouldn't I think about [death]?" she asked. "Because we're all going to die. So in a way, what you're classifying as an obsessive clinical disease is me recognizing what's actually going on, and you just happily flitting around like you're Bambi."
Dunham was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder as a child. In January, she posted a message to Instagram refuting common assumptions made about women with mental illnesses.
"Most women on meds are women who have been brave enough to help themselves," she wrote on the platform.
Societal stigma and the stereotypes that come with it can discourage some people from seeking treatment for mental illnesses. During the Riot interview, Dunham made a tongue-in-cheek reference to A Streetcar Named Desire's portrayal of Blanche Dubois, who experiences a nervous breakdown during the play, as one that she almost preferred to both false stereotypes and reality.
"When you look at a Tennessee Williams play where the woman who has [a] psychological illness is always in a fur laid out on a chaise," Dunham said in the YouTube video, later adding, "I just feel like the last 20 years of my life would have been so much better if every time I was having a panic attack or an episode of serious dissociative anxiety I had been in a beautiful housecoat and curlers."