Gillian Anderson opens up about struggle with Mental Health & Depression

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Gillian Anderson
Gillian Anderson – This image was published by Martin Kraft under the free licence CC BY-SA 3.0
This past weekend, Gillian Anderson, the American-British film, television and theatre actress, and writer shared her struggles with her mental health. We all know Gillian from the long-running and widely popular series The X-Files where she played ‘Dana Scully’ – the FBI agent who was widely known for being conflicted and always in a constant battle with her rigid skepticism of the paranormal and her Catholic faith. In many ways, Gillian could relate to her diverged character.

In her new book, co-written with friend and journalist Jennifer Nadel, “We: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere”, she shares that since the age of fourteen, she has suffered from a number of mental health issues from depression to anxiety to addiction. In her memoir, she reveals that there were times where her depression would leave her helpless and unable to leave her own house. Gillian states she felt trapped inside her own body, something that we have heard countless times from women healing from addiction and related issues.

In her early teens, she dabbled with drugs and was given the “Most Likely to Get Arrested” award by her high school classmates. On the night of her graduation, she broke into her school to try to glue the locks shut and was charged with trespassing. These rebellious acts were ultimately cries for help, as she felt lost in her struggles with addiction and depression.

Today, Anderson hopes that her new book will help others facing similar struggles, including the issue of self-esteem and self-love. She has partnered with ‘MQ Mental Health’ to be their spokesperson to help spread the word on transforming mental health through research and awareness. She wants people to know that it is truly a time to care about mental illness in young people and to take a moment to reflect on what happening amongst their own communities and worldwide.

Gillian believes that self-acceptance continues to be a struggle but she tries every single day to work it. She states, “The acceptance of wherever we are, whoever we are, is freedom. So you know, I can sit and bemoan the fact that I don’t get the same roles, or bemoan the fact that my skin is starting to look like chicken skin, or bemoan whatever it is. But that’s not reality. That’s fighting reality. So, I do a gratitude list every night and of course I go through stages where I think I’m just complaining all the time again but I always put something down. Sometime you just have to push through.”

New Directions for Women would like to say thank you to Gillian for being honest as oftentimes, mental illness is seen as something to be feared of. The stigma around mental illness is still persistent but the more that we have individuals share their stories; the more society as a whole will be accepting of it. More than half of all people with a mental illness also suffer from chemical dependency. This classifies them as a dual diagnosis patient and requires a specialized facility for treatment. New Directions for Women’s can treat those who have a dual-diagnosis disorder. Our multidisciplinary treatment team is comprised of Master’s Level Licensed Therapists and Certified Addiction Counselors who are passionate about providing comprehensive, individualized residential rehab and intensive outpatient addiction treatment. Need help with substance abuse or mental health issues? New Directions for Women has been serving women, children and their families for four decades. Call to help yourself or a loved one at 1-800-93-WOMEN. To read more about Gillian’s story, visit Today.com

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