Kristen Bell Just Revealed Why Her Anxiety and Depression Have Become So Awful—and It’s Extremely Relatable

An overloaded schedule can take a major toll on your mental health—and not even celebrities are exempt from this kind of pressure. Kristen Bell knows this from experience. The actress just revealed the she found herself cycling between anxiety and depression this past month because she was trying to fulfill every obligation on her jam-packed calendar.

“And it’s been awful,” she shared in a keynote speech at last week’s MINDBODY BOLD conference in California, which featured a conversation between Bell and the brand’s founder and CEO, Rick Stollmeyer.

“I’m trying to figure out why, and I have all these checks and balances of like, ‘am I working out enough, does my medication need to be changed, why am I feeling so much’—cause it’s just burying me,” Bell explained. “And I think I realized it’s because I’ve been doing so many things that are forward-facing and not enough work on myself. Or not work on myself, but just being myself.”

Bell’s hectic schedule is something so many people can relate to. Veronica Mars had been her full-time job six months out of the year, she told conference-goers, and she now also produces and appears in shows on Encore and Disney. On top of her film work, Bell recently cofounded This Bar Saves Lives, a granola bar company that donates money to various charities. She also launched (with husband Dax Shepard) Hello Bello, a plant-based line of baby products sold exclusively at Walmart. Oh, and she’s an all-star mom of two young daughters.

RELATED: How Kristen Bell Handles Arguments With Dax Shepard—and Why It Can Help Your Relationship, Too

Of course, work isn’t the only reason Bell is overwhelmed. She said that she’s always been the type of person who wants to help others, and never saying no to people who ask for a hand has become a part of her identity. “I don’t want to let anybody down—and then I end up letting them down because there are only 24 hours in the day,” she explained. “But I haven’t ever acknowledged how depleting that can be, and how I’m actually not of service to anybody if I’m not whole.”

Luckily, she’s found a way to cope. “I realized that my codependency was so crippling that I couldn’t say no to people,” she said. “So what I’ve been doing this month is practicing saying no to people in a very kind way.”

It’s perfect timing. Filming just wrapped for the fourth and final season of her show The Good Place—and Bell is taking the next two months off and feeling really good about it. She’s already started turning people down but says it hasn’t been easy. “It has been so hard to write emails that say no thank you,” she admitted. “My palms sweat.”

This isn’t the first time Bell has spoken openly about dealing with mental health issues. She previously hosted a Q&A using an Instagram story feature in which she revealed some of her coping mechanisms: “CBD from Lord Jones, getting outside, naming 10 things I love for every 1 thing I don’t, hugging my girls, my husband and my dog, doing something calm and nice for a friend, cooking, gardening and meditating.”

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Working out has also led to major stress relief. “I need workouts for my mental health—that is step one for me,” she said.

Her go-to workout, Studio Metamorphosis—which she described as a mix between Pilates and CrossFit—has been so therapeutic that she cried through an entire recent class. “ Erin was like, ‘just keep going, you got this,’ and I was literally doing lunges while sobbing and everybody there was fine with it. It’s a wonderfully accepting place.”

RELATED: Kristen Bell Uses These Anti-Aging Undereye Masks to De-Puff Before Photo Shoots

Crying certainly isn’t a sign of weakness to Bell—in fact, she became emotional while speaking about her mental health in front of the crowd at her keynote. (Quite a few audience members had tears welling up in their eyes.) “I’m not out of control, and I’m having an emotion that’s real and authentic to me, so why would you judge me for it?” she asked.

This won’t be the last time you see Bell get emotional over something raw and relatable—and we’re totally here for her authenticity.

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Kristen Bell shares how her battle with mental illness exposes a dangerous taboo.

Photo by Marco Antonio RC/Flickr

According to the Western Australian Mental Health Commission, three out of four people with a mental illness report being stigmatized for their health issue.

When people are stigmatized they experience feelings of blame and hopelessness and are less likely to get help for their problems. But when people in the public eye come out about their struggles with mental illness, it helps to reduce the stigma.

Which is why Kristen Bell’s openness about her fight against anxiety and depression are so important.

Actress Kristen Bell (“Frozen,” “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”) is known for her upbeat personality, but she has struggled with depression and anxiety her whole life. She wanted to keep her struggles out of the public eye, until her husband, actor Dax Shepard, convinced her that coming out would help people.

Photo by Red Carpet Report/Flickr

“I’m grateful to my husband for saying, ‘No, you should just talk about it.’ Like he talks about the fact that he’s sober, and that helps people,” Bell told TODAY Parents. “And I now have not stopped talking about it, mainly because I want people to hear that it’s not a big deal and that you can be happy and healthy.”

She first went public with the issue in 2016 in an open letter and an interview with Off Camera. “When I was 18 said, ‘If you start to feel like you are twisting things around you, and you feel like there is no sunlight around you and you are paralyzed with fear, this is what it is, and here’s how you can help yourself,” Bell told Off Camera.

“I present this very cheery, bubbly person, but I also do a lot of work. I do a lot of introspective work … and I got on a prescription when I was really young to help with my anxiety and depression and I still take it today.”

She has no shame in that, she said, due to her mother’s support.

“If you start to feel this way,” her mom told her, “talk to your doctor, talk to a psychologist, see how you want to help yourself. If you do decide to go on a prescription to help yourself, understand that the world wants to shame you for that, but in the medical community, you would never deny a diabetic his insulin.”

Kristen Bell Tells Us What It’s Really Like to Live with Depression and Anxiety

Photo: Steve Granitz / Getty Images

Depression and anxiety are two extremely common mental illnesses that many women deal with. And while we’d like to think the stigma around mental issues is going away, there is still work to be done. Case in point: Kate Middleton’s #HeadsTogether PSA , or the social campaign where women tweeted antidepressant selfies to fight mental health stigma. Now, Kristen Bell has teamed up with the Child Mind Institute for another announcement to bring further attention to the importance of removing the stigma around mental health issues. (P.S. Watch This Woman Bravely Show What a Panic Attack Really Looks Like)

Bell starts by sharing that she’s experienced anxiety and/or depression since she was 18. She goes on to tells viewers not to assume that others don’t struggle with mental health issues, too.

“What I would say to my younger self is don’t be fooled by this game of perfection that humans play,” she says. “Because Instagram and magazines and TV shows, they strive for a certain aesthetic, and everything looks so beautiful and people seem like they don’t have any problems, but everyone’s human.”

In the video, Bell also encourages people to look into mental health resources and never feel like mental health issues should be hidden or ignored. (Related: How to Find the Best Therapist for You)

“Never feel embarrassed or ashamed about who you are,” she says. “There are plenty of things to feel embarrassed or ashamed about. If you forget about your mom’s birthday, feel embarrassed about that. If you are prone to gossiping, feel ashamed about that. But never feel embarrassed or ashamed about the uniqueness that is you.”

Back in 2016, Bell opened up about her longtime struggle with depression in an essay for Motto-and why she’s no longer staying silent. “I didn’t speak publicly about my struggles with mental health for the first 15 years of my career,” she writes. “But now I’m at a point where I don’t believe anything should be taboo.”

Bell called out the “extreme stigma about mental health issues,” writing that she “can’t make heads or tails of why it exists.” After all, “there is a good chance you know someone who is struggling with it since nearly 20 percent of American adults face some form of mental illness in their lifetime,” she explains. “So why aren’t we talking about it?”

She went on to emphasize that “there’s nothing weak about struggling with mental illness” and that, as members of “team human,” it’s on everyone to work together to come up with solutions. She also takes a stance on mental health check-ins, which she believes should be “as routine as going to the doctor or the dentist.”

Bell has also given a headline-garnering interview for Off Camera with Sam Jones, where she spoke so many truths about dealing with anxiety and depression. For example, even though she ‘fesses up to being one of the popular girls in high school, she talks about how she was still always anxious AF, which caused her to form interests based on those around her, rather than discover what she was really interested in. (Think Cady’s army pants and flip-flops in Mean Girls.)

Bell says her well-known cheerful demeanor is part of what encouraged her to share such a personal thing. “I was talking with my husband, and it occurred to me that I do appear to be very bubbly and positive,” she said in a past interview with TODAY. “I’ve never really shared what got me there and why I’m that way or the things that I’ve worked through. And I felt it was sort of a social responsibility I had-to not just appear to be so positive and optimistic.”

It’s so refreshing to see someone like Bell (who basically epitomizes being an adorable and awesome human being) be so honest about a topic that’s not talked about enough. We should all be able to discuss how the pressure of depression and anxiety can really feel-we’ll all feel better for it. Watch her entire interview below-it’s worth the listen. (Then, hear from nine more celebrities who are vocal about mental health issues.)

  • By Rachel Jacoby Zoldan @rjacoby13

While Kristen Bell’s latest Instagram feed is currently filled with Frozen 2 and The Good Place tributes, the actress with the voice of an angel also manages to share loving messages to her husband Dax Shepard, hype the latest product she’s promoting, reveal hilarious stories about her two daughters, Lincoln and Delta, and provide us with loads of feel-good posts, including her Friday favourite where she pays tribute to a teacher every week.

But she also often talks about the importance of mental health. Kristen recently sat down with Today host Willie Geist for an interview where she not only spoke about her career and personal life but got really candid about how she deals with her own anxiety and depression. Both Kristen and Dax have always been open about getting therapy for their marriage as well as their mental health issues. And while their relationship may seem perfect, Bell revealed there’s so much more that we don’t see. “We didn’t want people to think that this idea of, like, ‘relationship goals’ was easy, so we started talking about mistakes we’ve made, and problems we’ve had, and how we go to therapy, and when fight and how often we fight — which is a lot.”

Willie pointed out how she often projects just how “happy” and “smart” and “bubbly” she is. Bell, however insisted it’s not always “bubbles” and “glitter.” Because that’s not real. “No, it’s not always that way,” Kristen clarified. “I am someone who takes a medication for her anxiety and depression. I am someone who has to check myself and sometimes — if I’m feeling really low — make a checklist of good and bad things in my life to see if it’s my mental state or if we really have a problem.”

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Ass, cash or grass, i know the rules.

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Bell revealed it was Shepard who urged her to open up. “He was like, ‘Why don’t you talk about your anxiety and depression?’ and I had never thought about that before. And I immediately felt incredibly irresponsible,” she explained.

Speaking out about her own struggles on the Shepard’s podcast, The Armchair Expert, and in various interviews, Kristen now stresses just how important it is to speak up and not suffer in silence. Kristen wants everyone to know there’s no shame in anxiety and depression and if she needs to share what she goes through and how she copes with it, thus maybe inspiring others to do the same, all the better.

Kristen joked that she hated to give Dax any sort of praise — but did so. Begrudgingly. “Ugh, I hate to give him credit for everything, it’s so annoying that he’s so right about everything,” she told Geist. Annoying or not, Kristen and Dax definitely get a round of applause from us. Keep the conversation going, you two.

(Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

As the star of a variety of hit television shows like Veronica Mars and The Good Place, as well as the head of the cult franchise film series Frozen, it may seem like Kristen Bell has it all together. She’s also the mother of two adorable daughters and wife to fellow actor and Armchair Expert podcast host, Dax Shepard—their marriage is often deemed “#CoupleGoals.” But that doesn’t mean everything always runs smoothly in her world. The 39-year-old actress has been very vocal about the fact that she is 100% human and has her own share of issues to deal with. And fans absolutely adore that about her.

Related: Kristen Bell Has Been Quietly Helping Teachers Get the School Supplies They Need

In recent years, Bell has opened up about living with anxiety and depression, something that many of her followers have very much appreciated hearing about. And while talking about her condition has helped to fight the stigmas surrounding mental health, Bell tells that speaking out has been equally as therapeutic for her. She also admits that the decision to be forthcoming about her mental state wasn’t entirely easy for her:

“I still feel funny when I talk about it because even I suffer from the stigma of shame of like, ‘Should I be talking about this?’ But my reality is that the minute I started, which was at the encouragement of my husband, I immediately felt so much more responsible and I recognized—and hindsight is 20/20—that for so many years I had presented this bubbly human being who didn’t seem to have any problems,” she explains. Bell adds that looking back, she found holding her struggles inside of herself to be irresponsible because “that wasn’t the whole truth and I could have been helping people by saying, ‘Look, I suffer from it. We all suffer from it. If you have these problems, there are answers out there. There are hotlines, there are therapists, there are psychologists, there are support systems, there are family members, there are books, there are shows on mental health. You don’t have to feel isolated,’” she explains. “So yes, I feel an enormous sense of pride when I’m able to share about my anxiety and depression.”

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Healthy Now Tip

Take a mental health day to beat burnout. It’s about shutting down the sympathetic nervous system response, which governs your fight or flight response, so spend the day doing whatever makes you feel most grounded and in control. From Our Partners at the Cleveland Clinic

Related: Lizzo Believes Anxiety Fuels Her Concert Performances

The Frozen 2 star takes medication to manage her conditions but notes that while she finds this to be a helpful tool for herself, it’s not a universal solution. “Not everybody needs a medication but if you do, you can entertain talking to a doctor about it. It’s very individual,” she says. In her circumstances, Bell says her mental health tends to suffers the most when she finds herself experiencing bouts of inactivity. “For me, my depression and anxiety will hit if I’m not working out,” she explains. Thus, she makes an effort to hit the gym whenever she gets a chance. “If I’m not getting my heart rate up minimally two times a week, I just don’t have enough endorphins to love life as much as I want to. And the awesome side effects are that I stay a little bit fit. But I really I go to work out for my mental health,” she says.

In terms of boosting herself out of a funk, Bell says it’s the tried and true remedies that seem to work best for her. “Something we’ve heard before, but it’s the truth: I either eat something really healthy and take a ginger shot or I eat a salad, not fries. I force myself to go to a workout class or I meditate,” she says. So if she’s feeling down, The Good Place stars says that means she is not producing enough endorphins. “I don’t have enough vitamins or my brain is too crowded. Those are the three things that are happening to me. So I try to fix all three of them,” she explains.

Find out why singer Jewel swears by meditation for her anxiety.

Kristen Bell Dishes on Her Mental Health Routine That Helps Her Stay Sane

Kristen Bell has never been one to hold back. She’s told the world about her marriage, her kids, and yes, even the one time she thought she was going into labor, but, ahem, actually wasn’t.

So it’s no surprise that she’s been so open about her struggles with mental health. The Veronica Mars actress recently sat down with Women’s Health and shared strategies she uses to keep her from feeling out of sorts.

Kristen Bell | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Kristen Bell’s battle with mental health

There’s no denying that mental health issues are still misunderstood. For many people, it’s easy to question how Kristen Bell, a popular, beautiful actress with a seemingly perfect family struggles with mental health issues. But mental health doesn’t discriminate and can affect anyone.

In 2016, Bell sat down with The Off the Camera Show and had an honest discussion about her own battles with mental health. She told host Sam Jones that she’s always had an intense need to be liked.

It wasn’t until recently that she realized that she would constantly be changing what she liked and how she acted in an effort to be liked by others.

But her struggles went beyond a desire to be liked. The actress revealed that she struggles with anxiety and depression. When she was 18, her mother sat her down and told her how mental health issues run in her family.

Both Bell’s mother and grandmother each faced their own mental health issues. Her mother wanted her to be aware of the issues that run in the family and wanted her to know what to do if she ever felt like the world was closing in on her.

The actress believes in being honest about her struggles

During her 2016 interview, Bell revealed that she began taking prescription medication to manage her issues at a young age and still takes them today. It was her mom that told her that people will want to shame her for taking medication, but that taking care of your mental health is no different than taking care of any physical ailment.

Bell admitted that she doesn’t often get the opportunity to talk about mental health, but it is not something that she is ashamed to discuss.

She recently revealed her daily mental health routine

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I am bursting at the seams with gratitude because @mlpadman was born today

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The Frozen 2 actress sat down with Women’s Health and discussed what she does to take care of herself. Bell’s routine is nothing elaborate or expensive. The actress relies on tools that the everyday person can use when they find themselves struggling.

Bell told the magazine that exercise is a key part of taking care of her mental health. While the actress prefers to workout with a group of friends, any form of exercise is beneficial.

Bell said: “Exercise should be the first stop for anyone who experiences depression or anxiety because it encourages serotonin and endorphins.”

In addition to boosting her serotonin levels, the actress says going for a run is a big help when she is looking for a boost in confidence.

Outside of exercise, the 39-year-old relies on her friends and CBD oil. Bell says that CBD oil helps her focus and turn off her “mental to-do list.”

As for her friends, they’re there for her when she needs to vent about her husband or anything else that is going wrong. Bell uses the app Marco Polo to connect with her girlfriends whenever she needs support or wants to get something off her chest.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Chloe Carmichael, Ph.D. says finding an effective way to cope like Bell does with her friends is a great tool for those moments where you are feeling frustrated or overwhelmed.

Kristen Bell Shares Ways to Check In with Yourself Amidst Her Own Mental Health Struggles

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There are countless reasons to love Kristen Bell: her acting chops, her beautiful singing voice, her realistic approach to working out, even her on-point self-care tips.

But one of Bell’s most admirable qualities is her passion for mental health awareness. Throughout her career, she’s used her platform to de-stigmatize depression and anxiety and help others feel just a little less alone.

This week, she took to Instagram to share that she’s recently been struggling with her own mental health. “Lately I’ve been feeling very off,” she wrote in an Instagram Story, adding that she’s been feeling more anxious and depressed than usual. “I’m checking in with my support systems and my resources and I hope you are too,” she shared.

Image zoom Instagram/@kristenanniebell

The Good Place star continued her Instagram Story by listing a few ways for people to check in with their mental health. She suggested Googling things like “workouts near me,” “mental health resources near me,” “therapists near me,” and “support groups near me.” (Here’s how to find the best therapist for you.)

Bell is right, BTW: Exercise can be a great way to deal with stress and mental health issues. “Most of us feel better after a workout and that allows us to move into the mindset of being problem solvers and to see solutions we did not see before,” Ellen McGrath, Ph.D., a psychologist in New York City, previously told us.

However, it’s important to realize when exercise isn’t enough to manage a mental health issue. “Exercise is one of the best mood managers we have available, but it isn’t necessarily a ‘fix’ for whatever feels stressful,” explained Leah Lagos, Psy.D., a sport and performance therapist in New York City.

That’s where therapy can play a huge role. Of course, a therapist doesn’t always come cheap, but “there are so many options of how to get help when you’re struggling with difficult situations and emotions,” Theresa Nguyen, L.C.S.W., vice president of policy and programs at the nonprofit Mental Health America, told us in a recent interview. She suggested calling your insurance company to learn more about the therapists in your network, looking into cash rates and sliding-scale payments for out-of-network therapists, and exploring the world of digital therapy. “The nice thing about a telehealth app is you have much more control over finding someone you like,” explained Nguyen. “It can be scary to break up with a therapist face-to-face, but with the apps, you can try out different listeners and therapists and find one that gives you the support you need.” (Here are some of the best therapy and mental health apps.)

Whatever form of therapy works for you, Bell’s goal is to remind people that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness: “We can handle whatever life throws at us if we ask for help.”

  • By Allie Strickler

Kristen Bell: I’m Over Staying Silent About Depression

When I was 18, my mom sat me down and said, “If there ever comes a time where you feel like a dark cloud is following you, you can get help. You can talk to me, talk to a therapist, talk to doctor. I want you to know that there are options.”

I’m so thankful for her openness on this predominantly silent subject because later, when I was in college, that time did come. I felt plagued with a negative attitude and a sense that I was permanently in the shade. I’m normally such a bubbly, positive person, and all of a sudden I stopped feeling like myself.

There was no logical reason for me to feel this way. I was at New York University, I was paying my bills on time, I had friends and ambition—but for some reason, there was something intangible dragging me down. Luckily, thanks to my mom, I knew that help was out there—and to seek it without shame.

When you try to keep things hidden, they fester and ultimately end up revealing themselves in a far more destructive way than if you approach them with honesty. I didn’t speak publicly about my struggles with mental health for the first 15 years of my career. But now I’m at a point where I don’t believe anything should be taboo. So here I am, talking to you about what I’ve experienced.

Here’s the thing: For me, depression is not sadness. It’s not having a bad day and needing a hug. It gave me a complete and utter sense of isolation and loneliness. Its debilitation was all-consuming, and it shut down my mental circuit board. I felt worthless, like I had nothing to offer, like I was a failure. Now, after seeking help, I can see that those thoughts, of course, couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s important for me to be candid about this so people in a similar situation can realize that they are not worthless and that they do have something to offer. We all do.

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There is such an extreme stigma about mental health issues, and I can’t make heads or tails of why it exists. Anxiety and depression are impervious to accolades or achievements. Anyone can be affected, despite their level of success or their place on the food chain. In fact, there is a good chance you know someone who is struggling with it since nearly 20% of American adults face some form of mental illness in their lifetime. So why aren’t we talking about it?

Mental health check-ins should be as routine as going to the doctor or the dentist. After all, I’ll see the doctor if I have the sniffles. If you tell a friend that you are sick, his first response is likely, “You should get that checked out by a doctor.” Yet if you tell a friend you’re feeling depressed, he will be scared or reluctant to give you that same advice. You know what? I’m over it.

Read more: John Green on Mental Illness: There is Hope

It’s a knee-jerk reaction to judge people when they’re vulnerable. But there’s nothing weak about struggling with mental illness. You’re just having a harder time living in your brain than other people. And I don’t want you to feel alone. You know what happens when I visit my doctor regarding my mental health? He listens. He doesn’t downplay my feelings or immediately hand me a pill or tell me what to do. He talks to me about my options. Because when it comes to your brain, there are a lot of different ways to help yourself.

We’re all on team human here, and let’s be honest—it’s not an easy team to be on. It’s stressful and taxing and worrisome, but it’s also fulfilling and beautiful and bright. In order for all of us to experience the full breadth of team human, we have to communicate. Talking about how you’re feeling is the first step to helping yourself. Depression is a problem that actually has so many solutions. Let’s work together to find those solutions for each other and cast some light on a dark situation.

Kristen Bell is an actress best known for Frozen, House of Lies and Veronica Mars. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two daughters.

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