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Zelda Williams' Take on Happiness Is Super Relatable If You Have Depression

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Zelda Williams says she’s always been open about her mental health, even before her father Robin Williams’ suicide — it’s just that most people weren’t listening, she told Teen Vogue this week.

In an interview that covered social media, prioritizing mental health and what it was like getting messages from adoring fans after her father’s death, Williams spoke truths anyone with depression will probably relate to — and we’re so proud of her for speaking out.

About the outpouring of support after her father’s death:

Dad was someone that a lot of people thought they knew. That’s a wonderful thing. There was a lot of joy in that. Then when they keep at it, they start wanting you to know how hard that was for them. That’s a lovely sentiment. It’s also difficult. It’s also difficult to have people cry to you, and [tell you] how much your dad meant because you’re sitting there going, ‘I’m trying not to cry.’ I’ve learned to navigate that, and I don’t resent it at all.

About how being happy is a full-time job when you live with depression:

I work very hard at reminding myself that happy is a job. There are people who it is very easy for, and who will never understand what that suffering is like — and that’s arguably part of the discussion about mental illnesses… In the same way that there are people who are happy, and it’s just easy, you have to work very hard at being happy when it’s not how you’re programmed to be. It takes therapy, or you take medication. It can take a lot of work. I try and tell people that as hard as it can be, it’s a lot harder to work at being happy, than it is to just be sad. I really hope they continue to work at it, and take the time.

On advice for her teenage self:

I would probably say, ‘you’ll be fine.’ It’s not even so much that I would have changed anything because I like the person I am now. I wouldn’t want to change those formative years because I wouldn’t be the same person. But I’d say you’ll get through it.

This isn’t the first time Williams has offered wise words about depression after her father’s death. Right before the one-year anniversary, she wrote in an Instagram post, “For those suffering from depression, I know how dark and endless that tunnel can feel, but if happiness seems impossible to find, please hold on to the possibility of hope, faint though it may be.”

You can read the full interview here.

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, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

Originally published: June 8, 2017
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