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Andrew Zimmern Gets Candid About Mental Health: "I Suffer from a Whole Range of Mental Illnesses"

Chef Andrew Zimmern, "an addict and an alcoholic," revealed the advice he'd give to his younger self.

By Jenny Berg
Andrew Zimmern

When he introduced himself for a new video created for the Child Mind Institute, celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern described his accolades — and his struggles — all at once.

"I'm Andrew Zimmern. Chef, TV personality, author, and I'm an addict, an alcoholic. I suffer from a whole range of mental illnesses, especially depression and anxiety," he said frankly. 

The Child Mind Institute assists children and families affected by mental illness and learning disorders. And in the video he filmed for the nonprofit, Zimmern described the advice that he'd offer to his younger self. "If I had the opportunity to go back and speak to my younger self, I would go back and tell young Andrew that he didn't know everything," he shared.

The chef continued, "I was convinced growing up that I had the answers to everything. I was the smartest person in the room. Anything that you were telling me about what maybe I needed to look at, based on your experience, was wrong." That included teachers, friends, parents, friends' parents, and eventually cops and DAs.

But after Zimmern got sober, he said, the truth came out. "Everyone else was right," he said. "I was the one who was wrong. If I just put aside my ego for one second, and took somebody else's opinion into account, it could have changed the trajectory of my life." 

Indeed, the Bizarre Foods host has been open in the past about his struggles with drugs and alcohol. But he's also open about the decades of effort he's put into maintaining his wellness and sobriety. "Because I was able to seek treatment, because I stay active — and have been active for the last 27 years in maintaining my sobriety and pursuing emotional sobriety and mental health, wellness, because I've been really active in my own recovery, I've been able to solve a lot of those problems. And now, my story is my greatest asset."

Click here to see the video in full, as well as others from the #myyoungerself campaign. 

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