Updated: Jan 30
"The shame about mental illnesses is keeping us from moving forward."Just like Hannah says in the famous HBO series Girls, "I'm an individual and I feel how I feel when I feel it", Lema Dunham has shown the world how an outspoken woman can break all the barriers and be her true self.
She's an award winning actor, director and a producer. She's hadtremendous success in her life, at the same time facing severe backlash from her critics. But,Lena has literally surpassed every boundary holding her back. She's a force to be reckoned with.
In 2017, Lena Dunham shared in a video that she suffers from Obsessive compulsive disorder and a generalized anxiety disorder that often leads to dissociative anxiety. She hasn't shied away from talking about her own struggles while documenting them in her on screen character Hannah from 'Girls'.
"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,” she said while explaining her journey with OCD.
And Lena Dunham feels no fear of getting stigmatized and bullied for suffering from a disorder which she says should be treated just like high cholesterol. She goen on to say that not many people have a situation where their near and dear ones are helpful or even supportive. "The treatment is necessary and available. But the access to the proper treatment is the issue here", she continues. She goes on to describe what has worked for her and help her keep a check on anxiety and severe OCD.
I would tell my younger self to squeeze my dog tightly and to read a book and to meditate and breathe,” she added. “And to understand that I’m not alone that 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.”
Her signs of OCD started to manifest around the age of 4, when her parents discovered she was not just a funny 'half glass empty kid' but worried constantly and obsessively about innumerable looking disasters. "It sounds funny right now, but it became chronic and depressing", she deliberated. Dunham told in an interview that she had to miss 74 days of 10th grade just because she couldn't make herself get out of her room.“I don’t remember a time not being anxious,” she admitted to the audience.
So, knowing the exact struggles of a person going through life having a stigmatized disorder, she has teamed up for a new campaign for Child Mind Institute; an NGO which works for the betterment of children suffering from mental illnesses and learning disorders. She says that she feels lucky her parents encouraged her to seek help. Dunham’s video input for the campaign is part of a larger series the Child Mind Institute is launching. Celebrities like Emma Stone, Michael Phelps, Elizabeth Vargas have also suffered extensively with mental health and they talk about their journey in this campaign. Dunham says tbey're attempting to create a world in which we are “teaching kids from a young age that it’s as okay to say ‘I’m anxious’ as it is to say ‘I hit my knee.’ ”