As she promotes her new role in Netflix’s Firefly Lane, Katherine Heigl opened up about her complicated love-hate relationship with Hollywood — plus, the fallout of being branded “difficult to work with” — and how it fueled her mental health troubles along the way. In a new interview with The Washington Post, Heigl was frank about how her experiences with anxiety had her whole support system terrified for her well-being.
In 2015, at the height of what Heigl and her team called the “shunning” — the period in the late aughts where she was branded “hard to work with” and struggled to book roles — she says her anxiety began to spike, making it extremely difficult manage her feelings and mental health.
She said that because her family didn’t really talk about mental health issues as she was growing up, she found it difficult to talk about it and work through it.
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“I think my family, my mother, my husband, my friends were scared,” Heigl said. “And I regret deeply that I scared them like that. But I just couldn’t control it. I had no tools.”
She did however have a support system (her husband, singer-songwriter Josh Kelley and her mother, Nancy Heigl) to help her get the help and the tools she needed: which included therapy and medication.
“I asked my mom and my husband to find me somewhere to go that could help me because I felt like I would rather be dead,” Heigl said.“I didn’t realize how much anxiety I was living with until I got so bad that I had to really seek help. You can do a lot of inner soul work, but I’m a big fan of Zoloft.”
While the stigma around getting help with mental health struggles (particularly in terms of medication) is becoming less of an issue, it’s still all too common in different communities where the subject of mental health is still taboo. But Heigl’s story is a great example of how you can team up with the people who love you to build-out a way to get the assistance and support you need.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, visit SuicidePreventionLifeline.org, or text “START” to 741-741 to immediately speak to a trained counselor at Crisis Text Line.