In a country where prescription medication is easily given to people with the slightest inclination towards anxiety and depression, frank talk about what it means to have mental ill is still pretty scarce.
Which is what makes Sarah Silverman’s essay in Glamour magazine so meaningful. In the piece, the Jewish comedienne and actress chose to open up about her own experiences with depression and anxiety, which span over three decades.
It’s frank, eloquent and hopeful.
Silverman describes being on Xanax as a teenager, taking up to 15 pills a day at times. She later weaned off drugs, but then of her depression and anxiety attacks came back in her 20s when she worked at Saturday Night Live. She still manages the illness to this day.
Her account is an important reminder to people dealing with depression (6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year, according to ADAA.ORG): with the help of medication, therapy and support, you can live through it. Life is full of moments of light to look forward to.
Here are some choice quotes from the article:
On first experiencing depression, at the age of 13:
“It happened as fast as the sun going behind a cloud. You know how you can be fine one moment, and the next it’s, “Oh my God, I f—king have the flu!”? It was like that. Only this flu lasted for three years.”
On panic attacks:
“People use “panic attack” very casually out here in Los Angeles, but I don’t think most of them really know what it is. Every breath is labored. You are dying. You are going to die. It’s terrifying. “
On having children:
“A few years ago, I casually said something in an interview about being afraid to have kids because I might pass depression on to them, but I don’t know if I feel that way anymore… “
On her first dramatic film, “I Smile Back”, in which she stars as a suburban mom who struggles with depression:
“After we wrapped and I’d finally shed the heaviness of it, I was so glad I made this movie. It may not have been fun, but it was the next best thing: It was scary. That makes you grow.”
On getting through her depression:
“There’s one thing I know that I used to not know: It will pass… Like my mom always said, you just have to be brave enough to exist through it.”