Kristen Bell has had her ups and downs, but she's never been down and out.
In an essay for TIME's Motto, Bell opened up yet again about her experiences with depression. In doing so, she hopes others in similar situations will find solace and strength. "When I was 18, my mom sat me down and said, 'If there ever comes a time where you feel like a dark cloud is following you, you can get help. You can talk to me, talk to a therapist, talk to doctor. I want you to know that there are options,'" the Good Place star wrote. "I'm so thankful for her openness on this predominantly silent subject because later, when I was in college, that time did come. I felt plagued with a negative attitude and a sense that I was permanently in the shade. I'm normally such a bubbly, positive person, and all of a sudden I stopped feeling like myself."
It's the second time two months that Bell has spoken publicly about how depression has affected her life. She joins a growing number of stars—including Russell Brand, Drew Carey, Jim Carrey, Sheryl Crow, Miley Cyrus, Jon Hamm, Demi Lovato, Lady Gaga and Pete Wentz—who has shared her story to help others in similar situations. "When you try to keep things hidden, they fester and ultimately end up revealing themselves in a far more destructive way than if you approach them with honesty. I didn't speak publicly about my struggles with mental health for the first 15 years of my career. But now I'm at a point where I don't believe anything should be taboo," she said. "So here I am, talking to you about what I've experienced."
Bell realizes not everyone understands what depression feels like. "Here's the thing: For me, depression is not sadness. It's not having a bad day and needing a hug. It gave me a complete and utter sense of isolation and loneliness. Its debilitation was all-consuming, and it shut down my mental circuit board. I felt worthless, like I had nothing to offer, like I was a failure. Now, after seeking help, I can see that those thoughts, of course, couldn't have been more wrong. It's important for me to be candid about this so people in a similar situation can realize that they are not worthless and that they do have something to offer. We all do," she said. Plus, Bell wrote, "Anyone can be affected, despite their level of success or their place on the food chain."