‘Jane The Virgin’ Actress Opens Up About How Anxiety Kept Her From Showing Up To Set
Even though depression, anxiety, and mental health are becoming more publicly discussed, there is a stigma attached to it. It’s still seen as a weakness instead of a disease. Mental wellness is not regarded in the same way physical wellness is. It isn’t discussed at home or at schools — making the important topic all but taboo. That’s why it is so important that we talk publicly about our struggles with mental health.
It’s with that in mind that “Jane the Virgin” star Gina Rodriguez opened up about her own experiences.
Rodriguez has been open about her personal experience with her mental health in the past.
In 2017, in fact, she posted about her journey with anxiety in a very candid Instagram post.
She has now opened up even further in an emotional sitdown with NBC’s Kate Snow during the recent Kennedy Forum.
The actress explained:
“I think I started dealing with depression around sixteen. I started dealing with the idea of…everything is going to be better when I’m gone. Life will be easier. All the woes will be away, all the problems. Then I wouldn’t have to fail or succeed, right? Then all this surmounting pressure would go away.”
The pressure Rodriguez refers to includes the difficult time she had while filming the final season of “Jane the Virgin.”
According to the star, she began suffering from panic-induced, debilitating anxiety attacks while on set.
“There was a point where I couldn’t, I couldn’t push through every single time anymore,” Rodriguez shared with Snow. “And I’m one of those human beings…I’m just like, ‘I’ll handle it later. I’ll deal with it later. I’ll figure it out later. I just have to do this now.’ All the while dealing with this, you know, your silent little dragon in your head.”
Rodriguez went on to explain that this struggle caused her to stop production on the series for the first time ever.
“I had a really tumultuous season, she confessed. “I was unafraid for the first time to be like, ‘I can’t.'”
That courage motivated Rodriguez to get the help she needed and to take the time to prioritize herself. It’s a milestone that anyone who fights against their mental illness would recognize. We can only imagine the pressure Rodriguez faced in the midst of a busy production schedule.
Her ability to speak openly about mental health is motivated by the girls and women who look up to her.
“I can’t just tell them to go out and make their dreams come true and then to ignore everything else,” Rodriguez explained.
The actress has long been a mentor in the fields of art, body positivity, immigration rights, and feminism. In 2016, Rodriguez launched the We Will Foundation to promote young artists through education and scholarships. In 2018, she worked with P&G to start the Always Campaign to benefit Feeding America.
This candid conversation is another example of her commitment to being the sort of mentor the world needs most.
Poor mental health is often a side effect of other illnesses; which is the case with Rodriguez.
Anxiety and depression are complications of her Hashimoto’s Disease. Rodriguez shared in a 2017 SELF interview that the medicine she takes for her thyroid causes heart palpitations. This disrupted rhythm sometimes triggers panic attacks.
The illness has forced the actress to reassess herself and become more self-aware. After adjusting her medication, she noticed improvements.
Still, Rodriguez had to face the bigger issue of her underlined mental health. That self-awareness has helped her and hopefully, her experience can help others struggling with the same issues.
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