When Kristen Bell was 18 years old, her mom sat her down and explained that depression ran in the family: "She said, 'There is a serotonin imbalance … and it can often be passed from female to female,'" the actress recounted in a recent interview on Off Camera with Sam Jones. Bell's mom, a nurse, also warned her that people might shame her if she ever decided to take an antidepressant—which is why Bell is so open about being on medication: "You would never deny a diabetic his insuln, ever," she told Jones. "But for some reason when someone needs a serotonin inhibitor, they're immediately crazy or something."
The Bad Moms star, now 35, is one of a handful of celebrities who have shared their personal stories of mental illness to chip away at that stigma. Here, 8 thought-provoking quotes from famous women who've dealt with everything from anxiety and OCD to bipolar disorder and suicidal thoughts.
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"I'm extremely co-dependent. 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."
—Kristen Bell on her depression and anxiety, Off Camera with Sam Jones, April 2016
“I can only speak from my own experience, and I would say that the depression I experienced feels like a chemical change. When it came over me, when it comes over me, it feels like it's coming over me like a flu.”
—Sarah Silverman, NPR, October 2015
"You know, entering rehab while you're on the Disney Channel, it was kind of like, everything was magnified, in the spotlight. It's quite the headline. And I couldn't get around it. So I thought, you know, I can use this to help others. And that's what I did."
—Demi Lovato on her bipolar disorder and eating disorders, Elle, October 2015
"There's a lot of misunderstanding and I feel like there's a lot of people out there who think that it's not real, that it's not true, that it's something that's made up in their minds and, oh, it's hormones. It's really painful and it's really scary and women need a lot of support."
—Hayden Panettiere on her postpartum depression, Live! With Kelly and Michael, September 2015
“Between ages 15 and 20, it was really intense. I was constantly anxious. I was kind of a control freak. If I didn't know how something was going to turn out, I would make myself ill, or just be locked up or inhibited in a way that was really debilitating."
—Kristen Stewart on her anxiety, Marie Claire, July 2015
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“The first time I had a panic attack I was sitting in my friend’s house, and I thought the house was burning down. I called my mom and she brought me home, and for the next three years it just would not stop. I would go to the nurse at lunch most days and just wring my hands. I would ask my mom to tell me exactly how the day was going to be, then ask again 30 seconds later. I just needed to know that no one was going to die and nothing was going to change.”
—Emma Stone, The Wall Street Journal, June 2015
“My OCD isn’t completely gone, but maybe it never will be. Maybe it’s part of who I am, part of what I have to manage, the challenge of my life. And for now that seems O.K”
—Lena Dunham, The New Yorker, September 2014
“Mid-twenties life circumstances were poor and I really plummeted. The thing that made me go for help . . . was probably my daughter. She was something that earthed me, grounded me, and I thought, this isn’t right, this can’t be right, she cannot grow up with me in this state.”
—JK Rowling on her depression and suicidal thoughts, Fox News, March 2008