Winona Ryder: Talking About Anxiety & Depression

winona.jpgI love Winona. I’m not sure if it was from watching Beetlejuice for the first time as a young girl, the wonderful Edward Scissor hands, her 90’s fashion style, those doe eyes or just that feeling that you can relate to her, even though you don’t know her. I was reading the article from Dazed and Confused, and could deeply relate when she mentioned “I wish I could unknow this, but there is a perception of me that I’m super sensitive and fragile,” she explains in the interview. “And I am super sensitive, and I don’t think that that’s a bad thing. To do what I do, I have to remain open.” I think the reason that she is relateable, is the openness that she truly has in her acting and professional life yet she respects her own privacy.

The thing I feel is obvious in the way women are often portrayed in the media, is that they are either against each other or struggling themselves. It is instantaneous that being an emotional or sensitive being is linked with weakness, but the irony is that sensitivity is what makes us human. It shows emotional maturity, where as the media stigmatises it as immaturity. It targets it as a negative light when many people are actually feeling this way, but are made to believe they shouldn’t and that it’s wrong. With the internet, it’s begun to expand more knowledge and make aware just how much anxiety or depression affects people on a daily basis. However, with that, comes the pros and cons of labeling it or judging it from afar, without completely understanding it.

In the original interview for NY Mag, she says “I’m so sick of people shaming women for being sensitive or vulnerable. It’s so bizarre to me.” She goes on to say “I’ve always been super-private and protective of certain experiences and certain friends,” she says. “I don’t regret opening up about what I went through [with depression], because, it sounds really cliché, but I have had women come up to me and say, ‘It meant so much to me.’ I completely agree with this, because the emphasis of vulnerability being a bad thing in society, causes more shells to be created and more layers that are not genuine. I think that can be one of the things when going through anxiety, for myself, is that I tend to need to talk about it on my blog, but I would rather not divulge deeply on personal experiences.

Privacy is something that most people with anxiety or depression (or anyone for that matter) hold dearly, because of what may of happened in their past or it is just in their nature. Ryder says “I’m not on social media. I don’t actually know how to use it. And I hear that awful people could then — I say that, and it makes me sound too sensitive.” Back in the 90’s Winona was hugely popular at a time when people couldn’t contact you through the internet. It’s really important that we make aware of anxiety and depression, to change the negative perception that it holds for many. Perhaps in doing so, many people’s anxiety or depression won’t heighten through the thought that it’s something to be ashamed of. It really isn’t, it’s something to learn to live with, know that it doesn’t define you and realise that you are stronger than you know.

Excerpts of the article are from the  August 8, 2016 issue of New York Magazine.

images: coffee cup via | sketch by picasso

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