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'Jane the Virgin' Star Gina Rodriguez Says She Felt Like People Would Be Better Off If She Was Gone

Editor's Note

If you experience suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

On Monday, “Jane the Virgin” star Gina Rodriguez shared for the first time her struggle with suicidal thoughts, comparing mental health struggles to a “silent little dragon in your head.”

Rodriguez spoke with NBC’s Kate Snow at The Kennedy Forum, a mental health advocacy organization, in Chicago. Prior to Rodriguez’s appearance, Snow’s husband, Chris Bro, talked about the impact of losing his father to suicide. Rodriguez told Snow there have been times when she thought the world would be better without her, an experience common to many who have been suicidal.

“I think I started dealing with depression around 16,” Rodriguez said. She added:

I started dealing with the idea of … 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 continued by pointing out that in her Puerto Rican household, talking openly about mental health struggles wasn’t encouraged, an experience common in many Latinx households.

“It was that easy to end those kind of conversations in our household,” Rodriguez said. “And it was that easy to gather shame and say, ‘Well then not talking about it is easier. Dealing with it by myself is easier.’”

When she first revealed she lived with anxiety in an Instagram post in 2017, Rodriguez told Snow even though she was nervous to speak openly about her mental health, it became an important way to remove the shame she felt about struggling.

The actress has also been open about living with Hashimoto’s disease, a thyroid condition that causes decreased thyroid hormone production. During her conversation with Snow, Rodriguez shared depression can be a common side effect of Hashimoto’s, highlighting how sometimes chronic illness and mental health issues can go hand-in-hand.

Rodriguez told Snow it’s important for her to speak up about having suicidal thoughts, and asking others directly if they are considering suicide. She learned this through her own experience in therapy after several therapists Rodriguez saw didn’t want her to say the word suicide, and dismissed those as “bad thoughts.” But Rodriguez knew she needed to say her suicidal thoughts out loud so they didn’t have so much power in her personal life.

“I felt that before, not too long ago, and it’s a very real feeling,” Rodriguez said. “There was a point where I couldn’t push through every single time anymore. … It’s the conversation that starts the healing.”

If you’re struggling, know you are not alone and help is available. If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

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Image via Wikimedia Commons/MiamiFilmFestival

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