Ryan Phillippe on depression: ‘a huge obstacle for me since I was a child’

Ryan Phillippe

Ryan Phillipe has a new interview in Elle to promote his new tv show, Secrets and Lies. I haven’t watched the show yet, but reviews say it’s tawdry, melodramatic, and uneven (although Phillippe tries to find a balance). Maybe the episodes will get better, and I’ll catch up this weekend. Juliette Lewis co-stars as a detective, which means Phillippe may have found some CO$ pamphlets tucked under his trailer door. I read stories about her doing so years ago, maybe she’s chilled out.

Ryan usually gives an interesting interview, mostly because he’s rather reclusive until he promotes a project. He rarely gets papped, and the way he and Reese Witherspoon have quietly co-parented their two children (Ava and Deacon) is impressive. Considering what we now know about the American Citizen, I feel like Ryan worked hard to keep the peace. I can’t say the same for how he trashed most of his movies last year, but that’s Phillippe. This interview is surprisingly deep with little bits of biting humor. He makes fun of his own drink order for not being “manly” enough and identifies as a feminist. Then this happens:

On Cruel Intentions: “Yeah Roger [Kumble], the writer slash director, really screwed up some kids, huh?”

His career: “I’m still acting, and I still love it, but I really want to try–and be willing to fail–in a bunch of different realms. I produced a documentary, a surf movie about the genocide in West Papua, that won a bunch of awards. And now, I’m really involved in helping to liberate a small country. That takes time away from acting, you know. I’m raising kids, as a single father, and I’ve got this startup. I get comments all the time on social media like, ‘What ever happened to him?’ or ‘Where have you been?’ Like, I’m doing stuff! It may not be stuff that you see, but I’m doing stuff.”

On women: “I’m very feminist, man. I was raised by four women, my dad worked the 4 P.M. to midnight shift, so I was basically raised by four women. I’m so pro, pro female. There were some people laughing at Patricia Arquette’s statement at the Oscars, but, in the state of California, women make 83 cents on the dollar compared to the man’s full dollar. I mean over time, and over bodies, that adds up! It’s not equal!”

On depression: “Depression has been a huge obstacle for me ever since I was a child. As you get older I think it decreases some, but I’m just innately kind of a sad person. I’m empathetic, and I take on the feelings of others and transpose myself into the position of others. I see it in my daughter. She has it, and I wish to hell she didn’t. It’s just, some people do have this pervading sort of sadness, or they’re so analytical that they can kind of take the fun out of things because they think too much. I’m thankful in some ways to have a level of sensitivity but it can also become a burden at times, you know? But, that being said, if it was a choice between being this way or being completely ignorant I’d prefer to suffer through the sadness than to be a complete moron with no feelings.”

On social media sniping: “My skin is so thick at this point. I’ve been in the entertainment industry for 23 years so there’s nothing anyone can say that I haven’t heard or thought myself. You just keep movin’, you know? That noise is so quiet at this stage of my life. Who am I trying to really prove anything to at this point in my life? Myself, my kids, my family.”

[From Elle]

Ryan Phillippe is “really involved in helping to liberate a small country“? I’ll just leave that right there.

The stuff Ryan says about depression is sobering. He rarely smiles in public, and I always assumed this was a carryover from his intense, teen heartthrob persona. Now he reveals his innate sadness and near crippling empathy. He’s so empathetic that it pains him to see his daughter take on the same empathetic quality because …. wow. This interview presents a whole new Phillippe, and he sounds very relatable. Sad, but relatable.

Ryan Phillippe

Ryan Phillippe

Photos courtesy of WENN

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87 Responses to “Ryan Phillippe on depression: ‘a huge obstacle for me since I was a child’”

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  1. skipper says:

    My first thought was, why in the world is he telling the world his teenage daughter has depression? It seems like a weird thing to say so publicly about her. I don’t know. I think it’s great if he wants to talk about HIS depression but to let the world know about her’s seems kind of wrong. She’s still fairly young for something like that to come out especially from her own father.

    • misstee says:

      He didn’t say that atall.

      • jinni says:

        Yes he did. He said she has the same sadness and ability to take on other people’s feeling like he has, how much clearer does he need to be?

      • Erinn says:

        I thought he said she had the empathetic traits – not that she was depressed. But I don’t know. I re-read and I guess you can take it either way.

      • Kiyoshigirl says:

        Correct. He’s saying she inherited his trait to empathize and feel other people’s sorrows. It does not mean she has full on depression. I get it. I had to work long and hard to level my emotional empathy for others around me. On the other hand I also internalize others’ joys and triumphs. The trick is learning to mellow the empathy to a manageable level as not to interfere with daily life. Most creative people deal with the same issue to one degree or another.

    • jinni says:

      Yeah, it’s sort of weird that he’s putting her business out there. Especially sense people with an mental illness gets such a bad wrap. But on the other hand, how is the stigma suppose to be eradicated if we don’t talk openly about mental illness and stop hiding it? Still, I too feel that he should have left it up to her to reveal this info .

      • skipper says:

        I don’t think the stigma will end b/c adults talk about their young children having it for the world to know. Maybe when she gets older and they have a joint interview then I could understand that theory but not when she’s this young. He can help break the stigma by talking about his own issues until she’s old enough to talk about it herself.

      • misstee says:

        ‘ I’m empathetic, and I take on the feelings of others and transpose myself into the position of others. I see it in my daughter. She has it, and I wish to hell she didn’t.’

        Don’t jump all over me please ‘Jinni’ I see NO mention of Depression – he didn’t ‘out’ his daughter as a Depressive you are projecting.

      • Kosmos says:

        Me, too….he should not have made a public statement about his daughter. It’s funny, but when he and Reese split up, I always always thought that she was the sweet person and he was the bad guy…..but NOW, I have totally reversed my feelings about her. She was probably never ever the sweet one. I won’t go on, but I just don’t think Reese is an angel. About Ryan, it’s really interesting to learn of his sadness and depression.

    • tracking says:

      +1 Celebrities should not talk about their kids’ personal issues, period. It’s such a violation.

    • Esmom says:

      To me he seemed to say she was the same sensitive type as him, not that she has full blown depression, and that he worries about her.

      • Lb says:

        That’s how I saw it too.

      • Dolce crema says:

        That’s a good point but still a bit too revealing in my opinion.

      • Jayna says:

        That’s how I read it also.

      • Syko says:

        That’s what I took from it as well, that he has this sensitivity that has caused sadness, and he’s worried about his daughter because he sees that same sensitivity in her. I thought it was perfectly all right to say that.

      • Rhiley says:

        I agree with the first comment, though. He probably should have not mentioned her at all. Now we are questioning his meaning and attention is being paid to Ava. It is already crappy enough being a teenager, but you don’t need your dad opening up about your sensitivity, or empathy, or sadness to the press.

      • Crumpet says:

        I read it that way too. Also I don’t think he is using the term ‘depression’ properly. Clinical depression has nothing to do with empathetic qualities or ‘sadness’.

    • Tammy says:

      He did not say his daughter was depressed. He said she was empathetic like he was and he wish she wasn’t. Empathetic does not mean the same as depressed. And I can so relate.

      • Harryg says:

        Yes, I think he put it nicely. I also like the way he said “that noise is so quiet at this stage” of his life.

  2. AustenGirl says:

    I can so relate to this: ” they’re so analytical that they can kind of take the fun out of things because they think too much.”

    I have struggled with depression–crippling at times–since childhood, too, so I identify with most of what he said. I wish him well.

    • BengalCat2000 says:

      Same here. Everything he said describes me perfectly. Since early childhood, I’ve felt that way. It’s exhausting. And I can’t imagine what it does to my loved one’s.

      • Esmom says:

        Me three. My solution, not a great one, I’ll be the first to admit, has been to withdraw and not say much in family situations. I generally save all the tortured analysis for a therapist.

      • PunkyMomma says:

        Me, too. Struggling with depression as an adult is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Thank God for therapy and drugs. But as a teenager suffering depression, I had no voice – it was one long nightmare. I read Ryan’s words as sincere concern for his child. Maybe he should not have mentioned it, but I can’t fault him for this – my father suffered from depression and he carried enormous guilt that he had passed that down to his child.

      • AustenGirl says:

        @PunkyMomma: I read Ryan’s words the same way as you did. My father has had depression throughout his life, but never bonded with me or helped me understand what I was going through. As a parent with depression to a son with depression, I’ve provided as much help, support, and empathy as I could.

        For all those upset with Ryan for disclosing his daughter’s struggle, I wonder if they would protest his mentioning diabetes, cancer, asthma, or any other medical condition. I say good for him for breaking the stigma for his daughter.

      • Esmom says:

        Amen, PunkyMomma and AustenGirl. One of my teen sons went through a horrific depression last year, it was so debilitating and I was frantic to find ways to help him. Now my younger son is struggling, although not nearly to the same extent. My mom was unwilling to take me to a mental health professional, even when I begged, because of the stigma, and I have vowed not to ever let that happen with my kids. Meds and therapy have given my older son a new lease on life and my younger son is so much lighter since he started therapy. They don’t see treating their conditions as any different than treating the other medical conditions AustenGirl mentions.

        And one of the things that has helped both of them a ton is hearing stories from others, to know they’re far from alone.

      • Crumpet says:

        Oh my goodness, you all are making me tear up this morning. Love and hugs. I want to pass on some information to my fellow Celebitchy depressives.

      • Sister Carrie says:

        Effexor is physically addictive and is VERY difficult (painful) to stop taking. I have clinical depression, have been on Effexor for decades, and would strongly advise anyone to learn about the serious side effects of this medication. For me, the short-term relief was outweighed by the fact that I will be taking this for the remainder of my life.

      • Esmom says:

        Chiming in on Effexor, it’s worked well for me as has Zoloft. Lexapro, not so much. Years ago I was taking a higher dosage of Effexor and went through five terrible days of withdrawal to get off. In recent years I take a very low dose and can go on and off with no withdrawal symptoms.

      • Size Does Matter says:

        I totally identify with what he said as well. It made it very difficult for me to feel like I fit in, especially as a teen, when I just couldn’t be as lighthearted as my peers (unless I had been drinking, which creates its whole own set of problems). It’s still difficult. Exercise helps tremendously, as does the fact that I don’t care so much about fitting in anymore.

        A note about Effexor. I would only use it as a last hope. Horrible, horrible withdrawals. I took it for seven years and it took two years to get off it, along with taking Wellbutrin.

      • Crumpet says:

        @SisterCarrie: All of the SSRI’s are ‘addictive’ in that the upregulation the drug brings about always brings about a downregulation in what your body produces. It takes time for this to reverse itself once off the drug. Tapering very slowly is helpful with Effexor. It’s unpleasant discontinuation is likely due to it’s effects on norepinephrine but it is these effects in addition to the SSRI effects are what make it so effective for depression.

        Also, if you are clinically depressed you will likely be taking it your whole life anyway. That’s why I don’t worry about the physical effects of going off it.

    • Audrey says:

      I relate perfectly as well. It did get easier to handle with age.

      My biggest fear now is that my daughter will be the same way.

      • BengalCat2000 says:

        One of the reasons I chose not to have children is because I’m Bi-polar. I really admire you guys who do have children and are pro-active in their treatment. My parents didn’t know what to do with me and my father died when I was 22 so it’s just been my mom and brother who have been my biggest supporters, (as well as a few close friends) . Thank god for meds and therapy. I also have extreme panic attacks, so loving me must be Super fun.

    • MtnRunner says:

      As a loving parent, you can be no happier than your unhappiest child. I give Ryan a pass for mentioning his daughter. He loves her and will give her whatever support she needs to deal with it. As a parent it is devastating to see your kids bear the same burden you are. She’s lucky to have such an emphatic father. Neither of my parents are emotionally connected enough to understand my depression.

    • Sara says:

      I have issues with innate sadness and depression/anxiety too and this made him such a sympathetic character to me. It’s one of the reasons I often spend hour(s) on celebitchy. Just a way to avoid or drown out my emotions and the “noise” as Ryan calls it. And even at my advanced age, I haven’t come up with an effective way to deal with it (other than escaping into the Internet and often, food), but its nice to hear that others here suffer from the same problem. Not nice, as in cool, but, nice as in comforting… ha.

  3. Kait says:

    I’m glad he mentioned that he’s struggled since childhood and that he sees it in his daughter. We have encountered so much pushback (from outsiders) in seeking help for our child because she’s a kid, what does she have to be depressed or anxious about? Being honest and open is only going to help people become more aware.

    • Erinn says:

      That makes me so angry. I wish I, or my parents, had realized I was depressed much younger than I did. Because there’s no way I wasn’t suffering from some level of it and anxiety as a kid. I got diagnosed at around 18… I’m 24 now, and it’s still a struggle every so often. I’m not constantly cripplingly depressed, but I really don’t think I’m as happy as I used to be. Honestly… I can’t remember the last time I was ridiculously happy and somewhat care-free – probably as a young kid.

      Honestly… if you can get her help young – that’s going to be the best thing you can do. She’ll pick up on coping mechanisms early, and probably have more success dealing with it. She’ll be able to pick up on her warning signs of when she’s feeling especially down, and that’s such an important thing.

      I’m way overactive on the empathy scale. To the point where I can just be out and about and start picking up on other people, and feeling sad for them, or whatever. If I have friends or family come to me to vent their problems, I tend to get so emotionally worked up for them. I’m not sitting there sobbing or anything – but if someone is worked up about something, it eats away at me. I just have a terrible need to want to make everything better – and it really doesn’t help with the depression. I noticed dad’s actually the same way, and he was diagnosed a little while after I was – so it must be a common thing (that sadly feeds into the feelings of anxiety) or we’ve both picked it up from someone else in the family who was the same.

    • GingerCrunch says:

      Stick with it, Kait! Only you truly know your daughter. There are so many resources, but not everything is a good fit. Our son’s “anger” in his youth stumped us for a long time, despite depression being pretty rampant in my family. I couldn’t wrap my head around it because of his age. After a really rough few months last year and finally being diagnosed correctly, he’s felt the best he can ever remember. He’s almost 20. Heartbreaking, but also a relief.

  4. Maya says:

    He has no right to disclose his teenager daughter’s issues to the world.

    • jc126 says:

      He said she was very empathic and that concerned him – more his issue than hers, hopefully.

  5. NewWester says:

    ” liberate a small country” what is that all about?

  6. slacker says:

    he is still a massive douchebag and his acting skills are questionable. i have to say i am not surprised about the depression though i never would have thought of it. He never seems to smile, never looks like he is having fun in pictures. He seems broody and douchey.

    • Tammy says:

      And how do you know if he is a massive douchebag?

      • Bridget says:

        Stories of his wandering genitalia have been around for many years. As much as Reese wasn’t a peach to live with, Ryan definitely was her match in unpleasantness. Remember Abbie Cornish?

    • word says:

      He’s not in the public eye a lot. He’s not a “pap stroll” type of guy. The only thing we know about him is that he has cheated on his significant other. He seems pretty private otherwise. I think his acting in his new show is pretty good.

    • Naddie says:

      Is he? I’m surprised (not shocked), since I always have a very good feeling around him. He seems so kind in this interview.

  7. Emma says:

    I’m assuming the liberating a small country stuff is about trying to help West Papua become independent from Indonesia. I don’t see it happening in a hurry (although I support it). West Papua has huge mineral resources which Indonesia wants, and doesn’t have the same kind of intensity to its struggle for independence that East Timor had. It’s good that RP wants to put his name behind the independence fight, but…not sure how much it will achieve. Very sad.

  8. Belle Epoch says:

    Why is he talking about this now if it has been a lifelong problem? On the one hand it’s very good that a celebrity is admitting he has a mental health issue. But on the other hand I always side eye celebrities who suddenly decide to reveal they were abused/raped/victim of domestic violence right before a movie comes out. Certain celebrities are masters at bringing up old stuff and getting covers for it.

  9. Esmom says:

    I think many people like him are drawn to the arts. The “tortured artist” persona is very real. Sounds like he has a handle on his issues, which is great. It’s a lifelong journey.

  10. LDUB says:

    Cruel Intentions will remain a classic for my generation. For that I can never be to mad at the guy. Plus, ya know? The hot thing.

  11. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    I have struggled with depression my entire life, and I also have the symptom of taking on other people’s sadness too much and over empathizing. I’m not trying to be unsympathetic, because that can be very difficult, and it is, I suppose, a form of the illness, but it is different from full blown depression. Walking around with a vague sadness is very mild compared to waking up each day in such emotional pain that you have to spend every minute using all of your energy just to survive until the next minute. And wondering how long you can stand it, and thinking that if it doesn’t stop you might have to find a permanent way to stop it. It’s good that we’re talking about mental illness. But a vague sense of sadness is not clinical depression, in my opinion. I’m not trying to turn it into a contest. I just think so many people who have never experienced real depression see it as just that – feeling sort of blue, and they want you to pull your socks up and snap out of it. So his reinforcing that idea does more harm than good, in my opinion.

    • AustenGirl says:

      GNAT, I’m sending you love and hope! As someone who has been hospitalized multiple times, I understand your description of depression. I’ve been depression-free for a few years, but I’m always wary of relapsing.

      I think Ryan made a subtle distinction between depression and sadness when he talked about depression lessening as he got older, but that he still feels sad. You’re absolutely right though, that the perception that equates depression to sadness reinforces the stigma and isolation.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Thank you, AustenGirl. My depression is under control now thanks to a really good doctor, good meds and exercise, etc. And I know the signs now to seek help before it gets totally out of control.

        It could be that I’m overly sensitive. I love my mother, but she just isn’t in touch with her own feelings and sees my depression as weakness and lack of self-discipline. It’s very hurtful. So I may have glossed over his subtle distinction and could be over-reacting. Thank you for you sweet thoughts. I hope we both avoid the black hole for the rest of our lives.

      • Kitten says:

        “I also have the symptom of taking on other people’s sadness too much and over empathizing.”

        @GNAT-My mother suffers from the same thing. She describes it as being a psychic sponge (see: different psychic boundaries) where essentially she absorbs everyone else’s problems and takes them on as her own.

        In one sense, it makes her a wonderfully empathetic person and a great mother, but also exacerbates her anxiety and in a way, ruins her life and infects those around her.

        Also, it was hard at times for me because when my ED was at it’s worst, my mom went through a special kind of hell that made it hard for me to focus on myself and getting better. In other words, my illness became hers in a way.

        I’m glad your depression is under control Gnatty. I know that my BFF went through some really tough times trying to find the right combo of meds to help her battle her anxiety and depression. As far as my mom goes, I can’t manage to convince her to take prescription anything or to try therapy so…

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Thank you, sweet Kitten. I can completely understand how it must have complicated your illness to feel that you were having a negative impact on your mother. I wonder if you told her that if she might get help? Maybe you already did, and there are just some people (my mother is one) who simply will not get help. Period. But I decided to have talk therapy for that side of my problem when my husband told me he didn’t like to tell me things that were bothering him because he could see how much it upset me. Once I saw that my “empathy” was actually causing someone I loved more than anything to feel he couldn’t talk to me, I started talk therapy. I think it has helped a lot, for both me and the people I love.

      • Pia says:

        Those having the same “symptomes” as Ryan Philippe, have you been tested for giftedness ?

        I’ve been tested recently, my son was tested in 2013, and it gives a whole new light to what I’ve been through and why I behave the way I do.
        Among other things like High IQ of course (and you have to be tested by a psychologist who knows giftedness, many are ill-informed sadly) gifted traits are existential depression throughout life, empathy, overthinking, great sense of loneliness, high sensitivity, etc. I encourage you to check the Wikipedia page, it’s a good start.
        I’m not saying chronic depression doesn’t exist, I’d just like to point out that a lot of gifted persons are misdiagnosed (with depression, bi polar disorder, because they share similar traits, it’s true).
        I’m wondering if it can be the case with Ryan Philippe actually

        (I’m French, I hope I didn’t make too many grammatical errors)

    • Erinn says:

      I think (and I’m not sure because I didn’t ever really follow him) that he’s saying even when he’s not in the throes of a major depressive episode, he’s still got a sense of just bleakness and sadness.

      And I get that. I have been diagnosed with clinical depression – but the bad swings of it aren’t every single day. They’ll be every day for quite some time…but I’ll eventually manage to get the right level of treatment, and level out for a while before hitting another bad episode. I’ve had 2-3 REALLY miserable episodes where I can’t get myself out of bed, I’m tired. I hurt. I want to cry and sleep all of the time. I see absolutely no hope. But even after those have resolved, and I’ve managed to get myself functioning again – I feel empty, and a general sense of lingering sadness. I can’t call it a major depressive episode – because ultimately, I don’t feel the same level of hopelessness, or misery – but I just don’t feel like I’m at a normal human level of happy, or whatever. But at the same time it’s not just “i feel sad today omg i must be depressed guyssss” and then I feel fine the next day. It’s like a low hum of depression rather than full blown.

      And I have the problem of taking on other peoples’ emotions and just feeling an overwhelming level of empathy. And that’s a hard one to work on. Because you don’t want to overly shut it down. You want to still be empathetic – but when it starts piling on it sucks. And that crap creeps up on you quickly. I’ve apparently become the one at work who the guys feel like they can talk to when something is bothering them. Maybe because I’m the only girl on the team – maybe they think the other guys won’t listen. But I will, and I don’t want them to feel like they can’t talk to me about things – because at this point they’re like a bunch of awful brothers who drive me nuts most of the day, but as soon as I’m sick, or something is bothering me, they’re jumping to ask me if I need anything, or if I’m okay. So I guess- it’s at least a somewhat even street with that. But I do have two female friends in particular who don’t keep it an even street. I have to be there to listen, but when I need to vent, they magically don’t have time. And they don’t realize how much it emotionally drains me because I genuinely will put myself in their shoes, and stress out for them, or be sad for them to a higher level than I should.

      So if what he’s saying is like my own experience – I don’t think that’s doing any harm. and I don’t know – I have adult adhd in combination with the depression, so I’m sure I have a bit of a different experience than those with JUST one or the other.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        I hear you, Erinn, and you’re right. I think my overempathizing began in childhood and was probably the first symptom of my depression. And of course, I have only had episodes of the deep depression I described above. For years, even though I was on medication, I had the slight lingering sadness he describes, and I just lived with it because it was tolerable. Not great, but tolerable. Two years ago, I started taking Abilify, to augment my antidepressant, and I think this is the best I’ve ever felt. I have adult, ADD (no hyperactivity) as well. I wonder if there’s a connection? Anyway, as I said above, I could have overreacted because of my own experience with people who see depression as “the blues.” Now, I just don’t talk about it, which is very isolating. But, you’ve made me reconsider his words. Thank you for your thoughts. I always respect your opinion.

      • Esmom says:

        Erinn and GoodNames, I was the same way as a child as well, so interesting. And GoodNames, my son who had severe depression has mild autism spectrum disorder, which is linked to ADD/ADHD, which are linked to higher incidences of depression and anxiety, according to the many professionals we’ve seen over the years. My son’s doc added Abilify to his Prozac and his depression has all but disappeared. He does still struggle with anxiety and some really rigid behaviors, such as insisting on exercising every day. I now I shouldn’t complain about healthy habits like exercise, especially when I know how much it helps alleviate depression for me, too, but I want him not to feel like his day and athletic training regime is utterly ruined if he doesn’t get a workout in. Balance can be so hard sometimes.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Wow, Esmom, that is really interesting. I suspected there was a connection, but it’s good to know. My heart goes out to you dealing with your child in pain. But how lucky he is to have such a wise and loving mother.

      • Erinn says:

        GNAT – I’m mostly the ADD – the hyperactivity part is pretty minimal – which is why I was diagnosed for that for so long. My parents were like ‘well she’s doing good in school, so she’s fine’. I have a hard time sitting still for any real length of time, but I’ll find something to fiddle around with if I have to sit still. My main issue is the focus, lack of organization, distraction… all hard things to manage on your own when you’re in a job where ‘stats’ matter. Since starting to treat that with a lowish level of ADD meds, my work performance has improved a ton – before I’d be listening to customers and just completely zone out. Or I’d start to make site changes, and all of a sudden, it’s 30 minutes later and I hadn’t started because I had gotten so distracted on some other spot of the internet . And I find the depression doesn’t set in so badly – probably because I’m not as stressed about work. It’s still there – luckily I have figured out what my signs are for when it’s starting to get bad so I can get help early.

        And like I said – I don’t know if Ryan has the same problem I do. But I absolutely agree that there’s a slippery slope of people labeling sadness as depression. I know a few people who’ve done that, and I’ve just wanted to reach out and smack ’em. And you know I always love your posts 🙂

        Esmom – my Dr actually had mentioned that as well now that I think of it. I’d guess it makes it hard to treat either of them if you’re not being treated for both, too – I find that since I’ve been managing the ADD, overall the depression is a bit easier to manage. I only was formally told I have ADD last year, so it’s new to me still. But the more I read into it afterwards, the more sense my whole childhood/adolescence made. I was smart in school – but no study habits. I was one of the top of the class in high school because I could zone in and out and pick right back up in discussion and all – but when I got to university there was no more coasting. And sitting down to study or do readings nearly killed me. Luckily – I have the ‘hyper focus’ tendencies at times too – I can literally forget to eat, and lose track of hours if it’s something I do manage to focus on – video games, web coding, and graphic work usually. Reading was a big one as a kid too – so I managed to sit down and completely do my papers for class in one or two sittings – over hours of time. Probably the only thing that saved me, really. But it was far too stressful to rely on being able to focus like that in the clutch.

        If I have kids – I’m going to have to keep an eye out for some of these things. Because I can only imagine how much easier it would have been to manage both the ADD and the depression if I’d caught them earlier – at the very least, I’d have noticed the trends sooner, and not felt like there was just no real reason for me to feel the way I felt.

    • Esmom says:

      I’ve been there myself, too, and I hear you. I mentioned above that my sons both suffer to varying degrees, my older one experienced the blackest despair I could ever imagine, it was truly life threatening. My younger one’s issues could easily be dismissed as sadness because it is so comparatively mild but after months of seeing him struggle academically and socially I realized he needed professional help, too. So just because his version of depression is milder, it can still be really hard, especially when you have people constantly telling you to “snap out of it” since you are generally able to function.

      GoodNames and AustenGirl, I’m glad both of you are in a good place now and willing to share your stories, thanks.

      ETA, Erinn, your post showed up later, thanks also for sharing. I can so relate.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Yes, as you three of my favorite posters have gently reminded me, depression comes in many different forms, and I shouldn’t panic over his description. I appreciate your thoughtful responses.

    • Crumpet says:

      I just posted the exact same thing – I should have read all the posts before hand, because you said it far better than I did.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        You said it just fine. Although his words scare me, because I’m afraid people will think depression is just “feeling sad,” the other posters made me see that depression manifests itself in different ways, and a constant feeling a sadness can have a very negative impact on your life. I totally get where you’re coming from, though.

    • MtnRunner says:

      Can I just say how amazing you ladies are? I love this site and the posters who are willing to lay it out there when something important like this is being discussed. Thanks for having the courage to speak up and encourage/enlighten others with your words.

    • jc126 says:

      I have struggled with it to varying degrees my whole life. I only realized that in retrospect looking back at my childhood and at various issues.
      I have also felt the “overly empathic” thing before, though my comments come across otherwise at times, lol. The pain of seeing a child (or adult) lonely, or isolated still cuts through me like a knife when I hear of it or witness it. Or animals suffering.
      However, I think having more “overly empathic” people would improve the world some. Again looking back at my childhood, the LACK of empathy and basic human kindness from some other kids, and some adults, still amazes and appalls me.

    • Sara says:

      Others have mentioned this and I have to say, even though I haven’t had the kind of depression that is crippling and causes me to stay in bed (although at times I have not wanted to get out of bed), and I truly empathize and feel for those of you who have, even the innate sadness or melancholy is to some degree debilitating. It’s disabling because others still look at you strangely for not being full of cheery energy, for being a little slow or foggy sometimes, for failing to lighten up. And it feels alienating to be the Debbie Downer, but you can’t point to any one thing – or maybe you can point to lots of little things but you’re still getting up and going to work so others think you’ve just got a bad attitude. And maybe it is that, but there’s a chemical component at work as well. It’s just to a less degree as crippling depression but nonetheless it still affects one’s life negatively.

    • laura in LA says:

      Although I’m chiming in pretty late here, I felt the need to do so and to clarify that there are different kinds of depression, not all are the same…

      I’ve also had that kind of indescribable sadness, never been hospitalized or on meds, but somehow managed to get through on my own or with psychotherapy. Now that I’m older, I feel pretty certain that what I have is Dysthymia, “a mild but longterm, chronic form of depression”, which can also have periods of major depression.

      I’m currently going through my 3rd (4th or 5th?) It’s hard to tell when the stress of longterm underemployment exacerbates everything where one ends and the other begins, but as these tend to go, this one has definitely been the longest and worst. There’s my normal “low” but still functioning, and then it develops into me almost unable to get out bed wondering how I’m going to live another day.

      A few nights ago, I called a suicide hotline for the first time ever. I didn’t have any immediate intent (could never leave my dogs!), but I was ruminating and desperate. It helped a bit to have someone listen, though this latest episode made me realize I’m not going to make it out of major depression on my own.

      So RP’s comment came as a relief to me at a time when I really needed it, and I don’t think he was expressing anything but heartfelt concern for his daughter, also kind of nice to hear.

  12. amanda says:

    “He’s so empathetic that it pains him to see his daughter take on the same empathetic quality because …. wow.”

    I can’t say my depression (and my grandmothers) are the exact same as his and his daughters, but I can relate.

    Watching old videos of my childhood actually explains a lot of who I am and why I am today. It’s usually painful to relive and makes me re-think about everything I saw and heard of my grandmother growing up because I didn’t know what depression was back then. My grandmother was just my grandmother, but her depression very much molded who she was, how she raised my mother and how I was raised and ended up as a person too.

  13. hadlyB says:

    He’s a single father? Since when?

    • OriginallyBlue says:

      He’s no longer married to his children’s mother, therefore he is a single father.

  14. Mop top says:

    Huh. He says he’s so empathetic about other people’s feelings, but didn’t he cheat on Reese? His empathy sounds selective to me.

  15. Ginger says:

    I am bipolar and have struggled with mania, crippling depression, paranoia, cutting, addiction, etc. at different times in my life. When I was younger I was very sensitive and prone to anxiety. I’m now on medications and in therapy and the world is a different, much better place for me. But I understand what Ryan is saying here, you hope to hell when you have children that the crap you’ve dealt with doesn’t get passed on to them. My son does have the sensitivity and the anxiety but I’ve yet to see signs of depression or bipolar. He was diagnosed with GAD many years ago and his father and I put him in therapy and have found non medicating ways to help him with it. I pray all the time that will be all we deal with.

    • krtmom says:

      I wish you and your son happiness. Finding the right medication and/or therapeutic means to control anxiety and depression is key to leading a better life.

  16. kelly says:

    “Considering what we now know about the American Citizen, I feel like Ryan worked hard to keep the peace.”

    UHM….the guy was a CHEATER. He cheated on all of his significant others, even the American Citizen. He also dumped Cornish around the time she found out she was pregnant.

    • Assistant to an Assistant says:

      Cornish was never pregnant and her never cheated on HER. It was a mutual split. Good terms. As far as Witherspoon, well its apparent you bought into the PR image spin that she and her PR firm at the time, Nanci Ryder/BWR, put out there to make Phillippe that bad guy to protect Witherspoon’s image. It was quite the opposite to everything that has been put out there over the years. Phillippe and Knapp dated,briefly she lied, she got pregnant and Phillippe takes care of his third child with no hesitation. He didn’t dump her. They were not together. Knapp was also messing around with Seth McFarlane at the time!

  17. Miss M says:

    I agree with what he said about the empathizing trait. To empathize and feel other people’s sorrows can be a burden.

  18. word says:

    I like his new show. I thought it was interesting and a bit of a “thriller/who done it” type show.

  19. Ryan says:

    Is it any surprise to anyone that depression is hereditary? If you don’t want your kids to have to go through it, don’t have kids, period. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I passed my depression on to someone, so I never will.

    • Esmom says:

      A doctor once told me if we could all see our genetic profiles and what we might possibly pass on to our kids, no one would ever have kids. I hear what you’re saying but the fact is there’s no way to predict if your kid will or won’t inherit your depression or other any other condition. Having kids is such a leap of faith in more ways than one, imo.

  20. Bridget says:

    I thought it was interesting that not too long ago a director’s cut of ’54’ was screened, and was apparently amazing and was literally an entirely different movie. The version that was released didn’t exactly help his career, I wonder what would have happened if the other version had come out.

    • Deering says:

      His performance in “Shattered Glass” was ace work too. He didn’t get nearly enough props for a very tough role.

  21. krtmom says:

    I give him credit for speaking up about his illness. As for talking about his daughter, maybe it was okay with her to talk about it. I have OCD and saw the signs in my first child at a very young age. Because he was aware of his illness at such a young age, he was able to talk about it and even wrote a paper about it in high school. I was so proud that he accepts what he’s been handed and is not embarrassed to share his experience. Mental health issues are nothing to be ashamed of and should be talked about in the open so that others can get the help that they need.