Kristen Bell Explains Compensating For Anxiety By Being Bubbly


There’s no doubt that Kristen Bell is one of the most open, honest celebrities out there. The actress isn’t afraid to talk about her mental health and her husband Dax Shepard’s own struggles with addiction. Let’s revisit one of Bell’s most poignant interviews about her battle with anxiety and depression.

‘I Was Always Nervous Right Under The Surface’

In a 2016 episode of Off Camera With Sam Jones, Kristen Bell got frank about her struggles with mental illness. “I’m extremely co-dependent,” Bell admitted. “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.”

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Bell recalled being well-liked while she was growing up, but she insisted that she harbored severe anxiety that people would turn on her. “I was a popular girl, but I was always nervous right under the surface that someone would reject me, and so I changed who I was often. I changed my interests based on what my friends liked. I didn’t realize that until I was in my 30s that I had sort of changed for everybody,” the Frozen actress confessed.

Kristen Bell Shares Family History Of Mental Illness

Bell then recounted how she came to grips with her own mental health struggles. “I also struggled a lot with anxiety and depression,” Bell noted. “My mom sat me down when I was probably 18, and she said there is a serotonin imbalance in our family line and it can often be passed from female to female. My grandmother was one of the first people they tested electroshock therapy on.”

Bell also revealed that, thankfully, her mother’s profession as a nurse kept her well-informed about the importance of maintaining mental health. “She had the wherewithal to recognize that in herself when she was feeling it,” Bell explained about her mother. “When I was 18, she said, ‘If you start to feel like you are twisting things around you, and you start to 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.””

Finally, Bell revealed that she does a lot of work to maintain her mental health. “I present this very cheery, bubbly person, but I also do a lot of work. I do a lot of introspective work,” Bell explains. “I got on a prescription when I was really young to help with my anxiety and depression, and I still take it today, and I have no shame in that… The world wants to shame you for that, but in the medical community, you would never deny a diabetic his insulin.”

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Six years after the candid interview, we’re still slowly chipping away at the stigma surrounding mental illness. However, there’s no doubt that Bell is a true pioneer. Her openness about such difficult topics is helping to pave the way to a brighter and healthier future.

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