16

Feb

Actress Shannon Purser Tweets Mental Health Struggles

Shannon Purser

Shannon Purser has rocketed to fame for playing the role of Barb on the Netflix series Stranger Things. She’s now using her high profile to discuss her ongoing battles with self-harm and depression.

The actress has posted several tweets revealing her lifelong issues with mental health. Purser tweeted a photo of a razor blade last November and wrote, “I haven’t self-harmed in years, but I kept this around, ‘just in case.’ I forgot it was there & now it’s in the trash.” She wrote to a Twitter follower last month, “100% understand. Depression and suicidal thoughts have been with me since I was in middle school. It’s NOT easy to stay alive sometimes.”

Purser spoke to Us Weekly earlier this year and said her issues began in middle school due to social struggles with her peers.

“I think that for a while my self-confidence and my tendency to want to be alone really didn’t do me any favors,” she explains. “So self-harm was something I could turn to that made me feel like I was doing something about all the negative feelings I had.”

Purser then sought help several years later, at which point she was so unhappy she couldn’t get out of bed. “I felt so isolated and so unworthy of love that I just had to go to my parents and say, ‘I think I really need help or I’m going to continue to fall apart.’”

Purser says she hasn’t self-harmed since she was 15, and now wants to help people who are suffering like she did. (In her tweets, she recommends the Crisis Text Line, which helps people through text messaging.)

“It’s very important to me that people know that depression doesn’t discriminate,” she said. “A lot of people look at people who have depression and think that it’s not legitimate because they’re wealthy or it looks like everything seems to be doing fine. But it doesn’t pick and choose. It can affect anybody in the brain, no matter how perfect your life seems.”

“The most evil and insidious thing about mental illness is that it isolates us and makes us feel so different that we think no one can possibly relate,” she continued. “In the end, that can be how it destroys us if we don’t let people into our struggle.”