Bravolebrities Opening up About Depression Helps Others Tell Friends They're Struggling, Too

When people in the spotlight like Kathryn C. Dennis and Luis D. Ortiz share their struggles, it helps every day people open up about depression as well.

Kathryn C. Dennis opened up about her struggle with depression and anxiety on a recent episode of Southern Charm, admitting to friends she had gone off her medication because she thought she was doing well. The “stigma” surrounding anti-depressants was also weighing heavily on her.

“There is so much stigma around mental health and specifically depression, and there shouldn’t be," Kathryn told The Inquisitr. "However, at the time, I needed to be alone with my thoughts and I didn’t know exactly how to broach that subject with my friends. I didn’t want them to judge me. I had been judged so much already…I certainly didn’t want anyone to worry and felt that if I told them I was even struggling in the slightest, I would just be a burden on my friends, but that’s the illness talking. I didn’t think anyone would care.”

She’s happy she shared her struggle with her friends, saying, "I hope to show the people watching the show that anyone can struggle with depression or whatever it may be, and not be ashamed.”

Former Million Dollar Listing New York agent Luis D. Ortiz opened up about his battle with depression on Instagram in the wake of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade's suicides.

“I have been wanting to share this for some time now but have been very reluctant to do so for the very same reasons most of us choose to keep our truths in the dark,” he wrote. “However, ever since Kate and Bourdain committed suicide I have been feeling the strong need and responsibility of sharing my truth with the hopes of a positive change…I am still here and with the desire of slowly eradicating this bullsh-- (definitely temporary) mindset of mine and start creating something extraordinary as a result.

“With that said, don’t be afraid of your truth. Be proud of it. Share it if you believe will help you understand it better. It’s the only way you will genuinely evolve. And for those of you with friends or close ones who you see are not being themselves, do not abandon them. Remind them of who they are. Remind them that you’re there for them. Remind them that you love them. They don’t need to be at their lowest to be positively affected by it.”

Top Chef alum Brother Luck told The Feast about his own mental health struggles.

"Depression is more common than we think, so it's important to talk about it. It's important to get out there and share your emotions of how you're feeling and what's going on and really get that advice, get that friendship, get that encouragement. It's a really sad thing, but it's a common thing. When you see people like Homaro Cantu, you see people like Anthony Bourdain, these are real figures in our industry that we've lost because of mental health. As someone who has gone through a lot of that struggle, I definitely understand it."

New York City-based psychotherapist Emily Rosen says when people in the spotlight share their struggles, it helps every day people open up about depression, a mental illness that most people go through at one time or another.

How to tell a friend if you are suffering:

Rosen says it’s important to make a distinction between depression and suicide.

“Most lay-people can’t handle that people are suicidal, they don’t know what to do and it’s a lot of pressure,” she says. “We professionals ask very specific questions when we’re told that to get to an understanding about where a person is. Not every who is depressed is suicidal, but many more people than we realize are suffering from depression, which shows up in many forms. If anything can come out of these recent suicides it’s that a dialogue has started.

“Depression can come from shame, you might want to say to a friend, ‘I’m really struggling with something and I feel safe with you, I wonder if you’d be open to listening to me?’ Be clear about what you want, ‘I just want you to tell me you’re here for me or hold my hand while I speak or we’ll go through this together,’ it’s helpful to let someone know what you want. Choose somebody that you’ve had the experience of feeling safe with or feel seen by, have the sense they will listen to you. Be open to the fact they may say, ‘this is a lot for me to hold, it may be helpful to speak with someone professionally.’ Most of the time we just want to be heard, to have our pain acknowledged and to be seen, the friend doesn’t have to solve anything, they just have to be there.”

What to do if a friend tells you they are in pain:

“It’s important for the person who’s getting this information to share that they heard them, that they are listening and depending on what it is, that they’re concerned or not too concerned. People who share tough stuff want to be recognized.

“If it gets too heavy, please a call suicide helpline or go to a therapist, someone trained to deal with things as grave as suicide,” Rosen says. “If it’s depression, everybody goes through some form of depression in their lives. Some is ‘I can’t get out of bed, I can’t function,’ some is ‘I can put on a happy face and self-medicate with alcohol, drugs or sex, or work yourself into a frenzy' ... everyone experiences it to some degree. Some people want to hear ‘tell me I’m not weird or different.’ It’s good to say, ‘I don’t know what you’re going through exactly, but I’m grateful you shared and I’m here for you and want to support you.’ Talk to each other about what that might look like. A lot of people want to help but don’t know what to do, sometimes it’s just listening without feeling like you have to solve it.”

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “help” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

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All Posts About:
Kathryn Calhoun Dennis Brother Luck Luis D. Ortiz Stephanie Hollman

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