Full House cast

Known for playing goofy Kimmy Gibbler on the popular sitcom “Full House,” and its current reboot “Fuller House,” actress Andrea Barber recently opened up to InStyle about a more serious topic — how she manages her depression.

In a personal essay, the actress wrote that she’s struggled with anxiety for most of her life, and experiences depression seasonally. “Depression is a thief,” she told the publication. “A thief of happiness. A thief of hope. A thief of a life well lived.”

Barber said there’s no “single prescription” she uses to manage her depression. Adding that she’s tried medication, talk therapy, meditation, prayer and self-help books. What ultimately made the biggest difference though, was running.

When I crossed the finish line of my first full marathon, I cried. I cried not because of the pain, not because of everything I had lost. I cried with the realization of everything I had gained.

For Barber, running is more than a temporary release of endorphins. She says it actually taught her how to be resilient — a skill that can help a person move forward, even slowly, when they’re experiencing depression.

Running helped me find an inner strength I didn’t know I possessed. It taught me to become more comfortable with things that make me uncomfortable, like pain. It taught me how to endure; how to keep moving forward no matter how much it hurt. It showed me the difference between fearing loneliness and embracing solitude. It taught me that I cannot always change my life’s circumstances, but I can change myself…

Running has been the single greatest thing I have done for my mental health. Therapy has always been healing by helping me discover my triggers for anxiety and depression and giving me the tools to combat them. Meditation helps me stay in the present moment and stop worrying about the future. Anti-depressants helped by making me feel less—less sad, less hopeless, less lethargic. Running, however, makes me feel MORE. More alive. More confident. Stronger. Happier.

We wanted to know what other activities helped people grow resilient in the face of depression, so we asked our mental health community to tell us one thing that helps them. Because while doing something you enjoy won’t cure depression, it can help you push through tough moments — and sometimes that small push can make all the difference.

Here’s what they told us: 

1. “As materialistic as it sounds, I’ve started taking pride in my nails. During my most depressive episodes I would bite and pick my nails until they were sore and infected — I did it as a distraction but often took it too far. Recently I’ve started to grow them, and now I enjoy learning new tips and practicing different styles of nail art on myself. It makes me feel proud that just a few months ago my fingers had basically non-existent nails and now they’re pretty gorgeous! I suppose other people might think I spend a lot of time on my beauty and appearance, but actually it’s taken such strength to do this and it does really help to distract me when I’m down.” — Ella K.

2. “Honestly, playing video games and interacting with my people online. It helps having someone to talk to, and the game keeps my mind distracted from the deafening thoughts that constantly swirl around due to my anxiety.” — Ashley B.

3.Roller derby. I joined at one of my lowest points in life, and found not only a community that loves me and really understands mental health and wellness, but a strength in myself that I didn’t know I had. It keeps me active, sure, but it has also allowed me to become more at peace with who I am and what my heart and soul and mind can do.” — Allie M.

4. “Cleaning. I now take joy and find pride in a clean tidy house. And on the really bad days where I can’t even clean, it has to be binge watching TV with comfort foods in the warm, curtains closed and low-level lights on with a comfy blanket and my dressing gown.” — Riley D.

5. “Exercise, and watching ‘The Lord of the Rings’. Both make me feel heroic and help me battle my depression with a little more strength and courage.” — Garrick O.

6. “Coloring! Believe it or not, reliving the old days as a child using a coloring book helps so much! And luckily they have hundreds of adult coloring books available now; even coloring for a half hour can completely change around my mindset.” — Julie K.

7. “Hanging out with my kids. They don’t think the same as us, and when I just go for just a simple walk with them, I listen to their stories, and stop to literally smell the flowers, or watch a bird fly by. It sounds so simple, but it is amazing.” — Morticia A.

8. “Being active. Short and to the point. For me, that’s been vital!” — Johnny L.

9. “I learned to play guitar. It’s not only enjoyable but it’s meant I can write my own song expressing how I feel. Somehow putting it into song is easier than just telling someone in a conversation.” — Teri F.

10. “Reading is the one thing I do when I’m feeling low and need to get away! It opens your imagination to so many different worlds! You can be anyone, do anything, be anywhere all while being tucked up in the comfort of your own bed!” — Sophie H.

11. “Baking. When I get into baking and decorating cakes, I focus my energy on the creativity and work. It gives me a sense of fulfillment to create something, and when I bake for other people, knowing they will enjoy my creations gives me a good feeling that helps ease my soul on the harder days.” — Rebecca B.

12. “I’ve training Brazilian jiu-jitsu for over two years now. It’s given me a great community of people to rely on, plus it’s helped me face fears I may or may not have. When I’m on the mat I can’t worry about everything else going on, I have to worry about surviving that round against my opponent and focus on my technique and breathing.” — Tabitha R.

What would you add?

RELATED VIDEOS


It is known in our modern society that mental illness isn’t just a fling or a phase someone goes through, but rather a real condition just like any other visible illness. Yet the fact it’s almost always invisible comes with a price in the shape of anxiety. But how does it relate to depression?

1. The stigma around mental illness.

People who haven’t faced mental illness tend to mistake depression as someone exaggerating a certain feeling, rather than actually acknowledging it’s a real illness. This actually drives people to be cautious regarding who to open up to about their struggle, when it should be totally fine to talk about it with anyone in your orbit.

2. Not everyone can handle someone with depression.

While it may be just like any other illness, it can be hard to deal with someone who’s going through depression. Mainly, this is because those with depression tend to curl into their own bed for days and might end up not answering calls. That can be when people start to leave. This makes your friend circle even smaller and makes you stress even more about any other decision you’re about to make.

3. The good days.

Now don’t let the title deceive you; the good days might actually be a helpful way to fight depression, but sometimes it simply doesn’t work because of the constant pressure you might feel to “act OK.” You might see people genuinely laugh, something you can’t do that at the moment, which leads you to ask: “Why can’t I be normal, just like them.”

4. Work/School/University.

While achievements can make you feel good about yourself, no one can deny the amount of pressure that comes before it. For a person dealing with depression, missing a deadline or getting bad grades might affect their mood, which eventually adds more pressure and keeps your mind buzzing with ideas of how you feel like a huge failure.

5. Insomnia.

People with depression sometimes experience insomnia of some kind, and while it can sometimes trigger creative thoughts, that’s not the case every time. Sometimes it can be a reason for negative thoughts, leading to falling into anxiety.

Depression can hit anyone, and it’s the fact anxiety can follow depression that makes it even more painful to deal with. So if you or someone close to you lives with depression, don’t hesitate to help or ask for help.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via SanderStock


5 Reasons Why Depression Can Trigger Anxiety

What is depression?

I’ve heard it described a million different ways by a million different people. It is a “crushing sadness” for some yet an “overwhelming numbness” for others. It’s a “pessimistic attitude that can easily be changed” and also “complete apathy you have no control over.” It feels like loss and pain and nothing at all.

For me, depression is a sun shower… the cool rain on a warm, sunny day.

Have you ever experienced a sun shower?

Rain falls from a clear, blue sky. The sun shines and there’s not a cloud in sight, but you feel the mist on your face and watch the droplets flash as they fall. That smell, that beautiful smell of damp earth fills your nose and the flowers sway in a gentle breeze. The world around you is warm, light, summer and peace.

But it’s raining right over your head. You know there are clouds just beyond the horizon –the dark, looming storm clouds that send rain and thunder on the wind. And you feel their presence even on a perfect summer day. While everyone else enjoys their picnics and casual strolls through the park, you sit alone in a bubble… a snow globe where it only snows on you.

So when people ask, “What do you have to be depressed about on this beautiful sunny day?” tell them it’s a sun shower. That when all you see is sunlight, you can still feel the rain on your face.

And when all you feel are rain drops… remember to look up at that bright, bright sun.

Depression has a way of convincing me that all I know is rain.

But hope is my ever-present companion, like a shadow to a flickering flame.

You can’t have a sun shower without both the sun and rain.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via phive2015


I was just laying in bed with my husband, when I got a sudden feeling of “awakeness.” I told him I wasn’t tired and that I was probably going to go do the dishes. He immediately knew what that meant. “Why aren’t you tired? Are you depressed?”

His questions instantly made me cry. I’m so not willing to admit I am already depressed again. I have spent the past year, being absolutely consumed with it. Sure, I had those “good days” here and there, but most of it was just a mask. I consider myself to be “high-functioning,” so a lot of people don’t even know I’m depressed. I have been depression-free for a little over a week, and I’m just not ready for it to be stripped from me.

But I only experience insomnia when I’m depressed. The two always go hand-in-hand. Never, ever fails.

You see, I saw a Facebook “memory” yesterday about my daddy. My daddy lost his battle to depression 18 months ago. Seeing something happy about him, threw me backwards, with immense force. I busted out the wellness tools, to no avail. My mask game was so strong, I even had myself convinced that it wasn’t going to happen. It’s most definitely happened. I successfully fought it off yesterday and most of today, but now, I’m sinking — fast.

I stayed in bed, in a state of denial. I impatiently waited for my husband to fall asleep, so I could go cry alone. He held me and said all the right things, but that solo crying time is so important for me. That is when all the depression magic happens. That ugly cry that soothes my soul. That much needed breakdown, after holding it together for almost two whole days.

A week of actual happiness and having the will to live, is not nearly long enough. Especially when you’ve just returned from an extended stay in the “Darkness Inn and Suites.” I’m desperately grasping at the rim, trying not to fall back into that black hole. The black hole that will eventually turn into poor hygiene and questioning my existence. I hate this, but it’s all I know anymore. I do not want to go back to that yet. It’s just too soon.

I’m about to wash my dishes, and think of nothing but those dishes. The sponge will be my saving grace and I will forget my brain is an asshole, if only for a little while. Perhaps a nice zoning out session will snap me out of this. I will eventually find my sleep and get some rest.

Tomorrow is fresh. Tomorrow will be better. I hope.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via openeyed11.


The main thing about depression is, it affects everybody differently. Everyone is different. Every brain is different. Every time is different.

For me, sometimes I just sob. I sob for hours, I can’t breathe and the pain in my chest feels like it will crush me it’s so overwhelming. Other times, I just fucking hate myself. I hate the way I look, I hate the way I feel, I hate that I have no control over my thoughts and just want to fuck everything up. And then sometimes, I just have no energy or motivation to do anything. I don’t want to go to work, I don’t want to talk or eat or wash. I don’t want to leave the house. It’s not because I’m an “awful person.” I just have no energy at all to do anything that most “normal” people wouldn’t even think twice about. Today it is the latter. Last week was the second. I wanted to destroy every relationship with the people I love because, why the fuck would they love me anyway — or because they don’t love me the way I need them to or because I am in love with them and they don’t love me back in that way. Which of course logically, is absolutely their right and they should never be forced to. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt like hell or not make me feel like it’s my fault. The reason I think it’s my fault is because my brain tells me it is. I sometimes think, who would want to deal with this fucking disorder in my brain that makes me an uncontrollable mess.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have definitely felt myself slipping back into the darkness. I’ve stopped sleeping again, I’ve lost my appetite for real food, I’ve become angry and negative and I’ve lost my excitement and passion for my upcoming trip. I know it will pass. I know I will feel buzzed and excited again, but I know I won’t get there without you, the people I love.

When one or all of these types of episodes hits, it really puts a strain on the people around me. I am fully aware it can be extremely difficult to be around me when I am in a bad place. I really struggle to ask for help and to open up about what I need. Even if it’s just a hug or a night in with you, I automatically assume you will say “no,” because you hate me, because I’m hard work and being negative and angry and sad and tired, etc. It is a vicious cycle. Sometimes you will say, “Pull yourself together Cair” or “ Just don’t think those things.” Which I’m sure in your own way, is an attempt at being helpful, but if it was that fucking easy, I would just flip the switch and not feel it. I do not want to be living with this. No one wants to feel so incredibly full of emotion that they just want to scream and claw out these thoughts and feelings that are drowning me. This is one of the reasons it becomes difficult to open up, because you never really know what kind of reaction someone is going to give you and mostly for me, I hate to feel like a burden.

The main thing I want you know is when I’m going through this — no matter how quiet or angry or mean or unsociable or stinky I get — I love you. Please don’t give up on me. Please know I really am trying my hardest at that moment in time, even if you don’t think I am. Please know deep down inside I appreciate you so much and you are the reason I am still here, still trying to find the happiness in every day. You are the reason I am still fighting this, because you believe in me — even when I don’t believe in myself.

Lastly, I want you to know I am sorry. I am sorry you have to deal with this, but I am so glad I still have you by my side. You mean the world to me and I couldn’t do this without you.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via Liga Lauzuma.


I had a couple weeks where everything in my life seemed nearly manageable. I knew my depression was there, I knew my anxiety was there, and I knew I still wasn’t sleeping great. But everything seemed like I was getting a hold of it. I was getting up in the morning, I was doing little jobs. I passed my first year of university. I may not have always wanted to get out of bed, I may have had to drag myself out, but I actually managed to do it.

I managed to put on a smile for everybody and pretend I was OK, until I did feel kind of OK.

And then it came crashing down on me. Whenever I’m having a good week, in the back of my mind, I’m always a little scared. I’m scared I’ll wake up one day feeling worse than ever. I’m scared I’ll be out somewhere and a panic attack will hit me. I’m scared my brain will decide to stop being OK for a minute.

And I guess it has.

I’m not even sure when I started feeling really down again. I was just sat reading a book one day when a text came through, and I turned my phone off to ignore it because I couldn’t deal with people. I noticed I was crying for no reason again. I noticed I didn’t want to interact with people, and I felt cruel when I was replying with short answers because I’m just not in the mood anymore. I noticed I was struggling more and more to get out of bed. I noticed I couldn’t push past my depression this time.

 

It’s weird. I feel so lonely. I know my friends and family would be there if I ask them. But I still can’t help feeling so alone. I can’t help feeling like I’m losing my mind. I can’t help but feel annoyed at myself because all I want to do is enjoy my summer. I don’t want to be sat in my room sobbing for hours into endless tissues, to the point where my face is red and swollen. I don’t want to be sat there, afraid I’ll go back to hurting myself because somehow I believe that at least makes me feel something.

I can’t help feeling that sometimes people just don’t understand. I can’t just think happy thoughts and I’ll be fine. I can’t just sleep it off. And I can’t “just stop being so negative and down.” It doesn’t work like that, unfortunately.

I’m 21 now, I’m an adult, and I need to get on with my life. But sometimes it feels nearly impossible when my mind is like this.

I know, in a week or two, my mind might clear a little, and I might actually see a way past this. I also know that sometimes this lasts a long time, and I may not feel better in a couple weeks. But right now, I’m sat on my bed crying.

This is what depression can be like for me. I plaster on a smile for everyone around me, I pretend I’m OK — and sometimes I even believe it — when actually, my mind is a constant blur of either 100 different emotions at once, or none at all.

Some days, I’m the happy person who laughs. Sometimes I’m also that “negative depressed” person who cries.

Most days, I’m both.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock image by Grandfailure

Real People. Real Stories.

8,000
CONTRIBUTORS
150 Million
READERS

We face disability, disease and mental illness together.