Healthy Living

Lena Dunham Gets Candid About What Mental Illness Is Really Like

More of this, please.

Lena Dunham is once again here to set the world straight on the realities of mental illness -- and her insight couldn't be more on point.

The "Girls" star recently sat down with comedian Jacqueline Novak for Refinery 29's video series RIOT. In the interview, Dunham jokingly calls out the misconceptions old Hollywood may have created about mental health conditions.

"I feel like there's this glamour, when you look at like a Tennessee Williams play, where the woman who has a psychological illness is in fur, laid out on a chaise," she said. "Whereas in reality, a woman with mental illness or a woman who is struggling with her psychological wellbeing is often in sweats and in a t-shirt that used to belong to her dad and is covered in food bits."

Dunham's jokes aside, anyone who has a disorder knows that it's is far from the romanticized version painted on stage or on screen. Dunham's anxiety disorder, for example, can becoming so paralyzing it makes it difficult to engage in basic social interactions.

"I've always been anxious, but I haven't been the kind of anxious that makes you run 10 miles a day and make a lot of calls on your Blackberry," she explained. "I'm the kind of anxious that makes you like, 'I'm not going to be able to come out tonight, tomorrow night or maybe for the next 67 nights.'"

Novak, author of the book How to Weep in Public: Feeble Offerings on Depression From One Who Knows, also weighed in on dealing with mental illness. The pair lightheartedly shared coping mechanisms and visualization techniques they use to help manage anxiety each day.

The video is par for the course when it comes to Dunham's mental health advocacy. In January, she posted photos about medication on Instagram and praised the benefits of seeking treatment for mental health conditions.

"Meds didn’t make me a hollowed out version of my former self or a messy bar patron with a bad bleach job,” Dunham wrote in one of the captions. “They allowed me to really meet myself. I wish that for every lady who has ever struggled. There’s really no shame."

Nearly one in four people worldwide will experience a mental health issue at some point in their life, yet many people hide their disorder due to shame and fear of judgment. Dunham's candidness on the subject is not only refreshing but vital when it comes mental health issues because her public status encourages people to open up about them. More of this, please.

Watch the RIOT video above to see more of Dunham and Novak's mental health interview.

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