LIFESTYLE

Lena Dunham Opens Up About OCD And Anxiety: 'There's No Shame In Asking For Help'

The 'Girls' creator sent a powerful message to her younger self.

02/05/2017 16:59 | Updated 04 May 2017

Lena Dunham has opened up about her anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in a powerful video hoping to break down mental health stigma. 

The ‘Girls’ creator, who has spoken about her mental and physical health in the past (she also suffers from endometriosis), has teamed up with the Child Mind Institute, a charity working with children struggling from mental health issues and learning disorders.

In the video, which was shared exclusively by People Magazine, the 30-year-old says she is grateful that her parents were comfortable talking about mental health issues, as it helped her cope with her illness.

John Shearer via Getty Images

“I’m a writer, director, an actor and I have obsessive compulsive disorder and a generalised anxiety disorder that often leads to dissociative anxiety,” she says in the video.

“I feel so lucky that my parents were people who were comfortable with therapy with medication and conversations about anxiety. I would tell my younger self that there’s no shame in asking a teacher for help, telling a friend that you’re uncomfortable and that it’s just the same as falling down and scraping your knee.”

Dunham then addresses her younger self, sharing a few coping mechanisms that she has learned over the years.

“I would tell my younger self to squeeze my dog tightly and to read a book and to meditate and breathe,” she says.

“[I want my younger self] to understand that I’m not alone. There are so many other kids like me who are suffering this way and the greatest thing I can do for them and myself is to be honest.”

Dunham’s video is just one of a larger video series on mental health with Child Mind Institute, including celebrities such as Emma Stone and Michael Phelps.

10 Quotes That Perfectly Sum Up The Stigma Surrounding Mental Illness
Useful websites and helplines:
  • Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
  • Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
  • Get Connected is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: help@getconnected.org.uk
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