Rodriguez said she had to advocate for herself to protect her mental health.
Actress Gina Rodriguez recently expanded on her experience with depression and anxiety, and how she was finally able to advocate for her own mental health by stepping away from filming Jane the Virgin.
During a conversation with NBC News’s Kate Snow at The Kennedy Forum in Chicago, Rodriguez was prompted to speak about her personal battles when Snow’s husband Chris Bro shared his experience of losing his father to suicide.
“I think I started dealing with depression around 16,” said Rodriguez. “I started dealing with the idea of—that same concept that I think your husband was talking about—(that) everything is going to be better when I’m gone. Life will be easier, all the woes will be away, all the problems. Then I wouldn’t have to fail or succeed, right? Then all this surmounting pressure would go away. It would just go away.”
Rodriguez said that after suffering a panic attack while filming the final season of Jane the Virgin, she had to take time away from set. She said it was the first time she was able to advocate for herself to protect her mental health. “There was a point where I couldn’t push through every single time anymore. It came to a point, this last season was the first season where I had to stop production. I just had a really tumultuous season and I was unafraid for the first time to be like, ‘I can’t.’”
Growing up like many of us do, with no outlet to express our feelings or struggles, Rodriguez said she is now learning how to express herself in this way, and says she is hoping to pass on this important lesson to young people through speaking up about it herself. “It has to be a part of the conversation I have with these young girls,” she said. “I can’t just tell them to go out and make their dreams come true and then to ignore everything else.”
The actress—who is the voice of Carmen Sandiego in the new Netflix animated series—revealed in 2017 that she is struggling just like anybody else with depression and anxiety.
As part of artist Anton Soggiu’s #TenSecondPortraits project, Rodriguez posed for the camera for a 10-second shot. She wrote in the caption, “I suffer from anxiety. And watching this clip I could see how anxious I was, but I empathize with myself. I wanted to protect her and tell her it’s okay to be anxious, there is nothing different or strange about having anxiety and I will prevail.”