“I go back to red carpet photos where I thought I looked so horrible and there are some where I now think, God, I looked beautiful,” Brie says.
It’s so easy to dismiss mental health conditions simply because if you’re not suffering from it, it can be hard to understand how it works. As such, many people simply don’t believe that they are real.
That’s the situation Alison Brie found herself in when opening up to her husband Dave Franco about her struggles with body dysmorphia. It’s not that he was intentionally shutting her down and refusing to believe her, it’s just that it was something he had a hard time wrapping his brain around simply because he doesn’t suffer from it.
"It’s been funny talking to him about it, she told Women’s Health. He said, ‘Before I knew you, I’m not sure I believed body dysmorphia was a real thing. It’s so interesting to me what you see, and what I’m seeing when I’m looking at you, and the frank discussions we have about it."
And that’s always been the key with any mental health issue. It’s important to be able to talk about it, and it’s perhaps even more important to listen with an open mind when someone is taking that huge step and opening up.
One of the reasons Brie is in such a strong place right now is because she’s found that openness with Franco. "I’m so lucky I’m married to a really wonderful, open person," she said. "We have great lines of communication and I can talk often about my feelings."
As for Brie, she says she thinks body dysmorphia and depression are things she will probably be working through her whole life. But she is able to look with greater clarity in hindsight, which is another insight to how the condition can manifest in some people.
"I go back to red carpet photos where I thought I looked so horrible and there are some where I now think, God, I looked beautiful," she said. "And I’ll remember, an hour before that I was in tears, I thought I was so disgusting."
Like Franco, most of the world has needed no convincing of Brie’s beauty. Since breaking out in a big way with her dual starring roles on "Mad Men" and "Community," the "GLOW" star has become a rock star for strong, stunning women, while unafraid to embrace her goofy, comedic side.
But like many who trade in laughter, Brie also suffers from depression. She said that she’s found solace and understanding of her own situation through a history of mental illness in her family.
"The rest of my family then dealt with the trickle-down effects of trauma," she said, including a grandmother who struggled with schizophrenia amid bouts of homelessness. "That meant depression more than anything."
Much like her body dysmorphia can be momentarily crippling, Brie says depression sometimes "comes out of nowhere and really blindsides me." She’s found exercise a good tool to combat it, saying she’ll sometimes drag herself to a yoga class "even if I don’t want to be around people, tears streaming down my face."
For Brie, she says, "It ends up helping eventually."
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