There was a time, not too long ago, when Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter LeAnn Rimes feared her depression was taking over. It got so bad, she said during the Hope for Depression Research Foundation‘s 13th Annual Luncheon Seminar, that she worried she might not even find her way out of the darkness again. But she’s here today — and, specifically, accepting an award for mental health advocacy — because she decided to do something she now considers vitally important: ask for help.
At the seminar on Wednesday, Rimes was recognized for her courage in speaking out publicly about her mental health journey. When she took the stage, she couldn’t help but get emotional over how far that journey has brought her. She alluded to checking herself into treatment for depression on August 20, 2012 (the day after she turned 30), saying, “Honestly, it was the best birthday gift I could have ever given myself because I don’t know if I would have made it to the next one.”
As is the case with most things worth doing, treatment wasn’t easy. Rimes told the crowd she had never really been alone prior to that point, and she was “panicking” on the way to the facility about spending 28 days in isolation. “It was the first time I couldn’t run anymore and I was running from a lot of trauma.”
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Yesterday, I received an award for my advocacy work with anxiety and depression. Head over to @soulofeverle to watch my speech in full! I have been outspoken about my own personal journey with mental health for 7 years now, since I checked myself into treatment the day after my 30th birthday. I will continue to speak up for those who suffer, to raise awareness for mental health and to continue to break through the stigma surrounding mental health issues. There is hope. There is help. I am living proof that joy can be found again. I share my speech with you from the Hope For Depression event in hopes that they reach the hearts of those that need to hear them, help to lift them out of their darkness and even if it’s through the shakiest voice, inspire them to utter the words “I need help.” Here’s to life expanding, fully exposed vulnerability. That’s what yesterday was for me and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to heal through sharing my story and my heart with others.
And so, just after her 30th birthday and only about a year after her wedding to fellow actor Eddie Cibrian, Rimes got the treatment she needed. She does recognize now that a lot of the anguish she was feeling had to do with the “very public shaming” around her relationship with her now-husband of nine years — the two were both married when they co-starred in the made-for-TV movie Northern Lights and began a polarizing affair. “All the running, and all of the hiding and all of the shame that lived inside was incredibly exhausting.”
It was around that time that she began to struggle, Rimes admits. “I wasn’t sleeping, though I couldn’t get out of bed, which made no sense to me. I was having debilitating panic attacks where I could not breathe and honestly, I think I’ve been holding my breath my entire life,” she shared.
Struggling to maintain her composure throughout the speech, Rimes expressed gratitude for the grace she was given. “I know that so many people here understand that, so thank you for offering me the podium, because being able to share that is healing,” she said, underscoring, “It is freaking healing.”