For actor Ryan Phillippe, life really is a bittersweet symphony. Among the nuggets of nostalgia he shared recently with Elle.com (like the fact that the Porsche in Cruel Intentions was fake), Phillippe also opened up about his lifelong struggle with depression.
“You know, depression has been a huge obstacle for me ever since I was a child. As you get older I think it decreases some, but I’m just innately kind of a sad person. I’m empathetic, and I take on the feelings of others and transpose myself into the position of others,” the 40-year-old star of ABC’s new miniseries Secrets and Lies said.
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There’s no word on whether Phillippe has been diagnosed with the medical condition, but the fact that he’s willing to share his experience with these darker feelings is admirable in itself.
Why? Though women are twice as likely as men to have depression, men who are struggling with it are far less likely to admit their feelings and seek treatment. It also doesn’t help that for many men, their symptoms may be slightly different than those experienced by women; sadness is often the primary emotion often used to describe the disorder, but men are more likely to experience anger, irritability, and fatigue.
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In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that more than 350 million people struggle with depression worldwide, yet it’s not often you hear someone—regardless of gender—speak candidly about mental health.
For Phillippe, at least, he has found a way to see at his tendency to feel blue in a positive light. “If it was a choice between being this way or being completely ignorant I’d prefer to suffer through the sadness than to be a complete moron with no feelings,” he said.
But if you’re struggling with a cloud that just won’t lift, don’t feel shy or ashamed about finding a therapist or bringing it up to your doctor.