I love to see mental health and mental illness being brought up by public figures. Every time an actor or other public figure mentions their personal experiences with depression, anxiety, addiction or grief, I feel that it validates mental illness and mental health issues. Often mental health issues can be isolating, and there appears to be much unneeded shame about reaching out for help. I recently read an article and saw an interview about some public figures discussing their struggles with depression and anxiety. Each person is a unique individual, and their unique experiences shed light on health and wellness in general.
How to Weep in Public: Feeble Offerings on Depression From One Who Knows is a book by comedian Jacqueline Novak. This poignant book offers insight into mental illness, and offers a personal perspective through the eyes of the comedian. Sometimes personal perspective is exactly what we need to break the stigmas society has about mental illness.
Lena Dunham has also been open about mental illness, specifically her anxiety. She has integrated it into the films and series she writes, directs, and stars in. She is an advocate for mental wellness, for diagnoses and treatment of mental illness, and is candid about the realities of living with mental illness. The two women, Novak and Dunham, interviewed each other.
When two public figures come together to talk candidly about their personal and private experiences with mental health and the associated stigmas, some truly remarkable things happen. Individuals are validated, and the stigmas associated with mental illnesses start to be lifted. This same effect can happen, as we see in the interview, when two friends get together. When we can openly discuss our struggles, not to brag and not to judge, our perspective changes. Openness and the removal of the stigma, or shame, allows true healing to start, and through conversation and humor we can invest in our recoveries and ourselves.