For years now, we’ve been asking the question, “What IS wrong with Lena Dunham?” Lena Dunham, who gets off on being problematic. Lena Dunham, the toxic narcissist who makes every event and every interaction all about Lena Dunham. Lena Dunham, the woman who described her rape in the same book she described molesting her little sister. Lena Dunham, who publicly accused another rape victim of lying, just because the young woman said she had been raped by one of Lena’s friends. What IS wrong with her? One explanation might be that she was whacked out on tranquilizers for years.
Lena Dunham has reached six months of sobriety after “misusing” benzodiazepines, specifically Klonopin. The Girls star opened up about this milestone during Monday’s episode of Dax Shepard’s podcast, Armchair Expert. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Klonopin is a benzodiazepine that can be used to treat panic disorders. Dunham told Shepard benzodiazepines are often “normalized” in their industry and that she started taking them when she had to “show up to things I didn’t feel equipped to show up for.” At first, it seemed like the drug helped.
“I wasn’t just happy,” the actress explained. “It was like suddenly I felt like the part of me I knew was there was freed up to do her thing.” However, she soon started taking the drug much more frequently. “It stopped being I take one when I fly,” she said, “and it started being, like, I take one when I’m awake.”
She was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Even though the drug wasn’t making her feel better, she worried about what her life would be like it she stopped taking it. “It stopped feeling like I had panic attacks and started feeling like I was a living panic attack,” Dunham said. “The only thing that was notable were the moments in the day when I didn’t feel like I was going to barf and faint.”
In fact, Dunham admitted “there was a solid three years where I was, to put it lightly, misusing benzos.” Now that Dunham is sober, she claims the “literal smell of a pill bottle makes me want to throw up. I thought medication was allowing me to be more myself. I can see all of the things that the world [brought] upon me. I don’t blame myself for my illness; I don’t blame myself for the sexual abuse I experienced; I don’t blame myself for the physical abuse I experienced; I don’t blame myself for the challenges of being a woman in this world, and an anxious woman in this world, and living in this body. But I do see the way that I medicated myself, negatively impacted people around me, and decimated my decision making and hurt my creativity. So, I just feel, literally like, on my knees grateful every single day.”
Alright, let me do the boilerplate sh-t so we can get it out of the way: if this helps one person who is struggling with a prescription drug addiction, then it’s good thing. And I’m glad Lena shared it, because maybe it will genuinely help people. It’s a huge problem, this whole “doctors just passing out prescription drugs like candy” thing. Even TV stars like Lena deal with those kinds of problems. So good for her for talking about it.
…. Now, can I just say? She’s one of the most annoying people ever. She started taking tranquilizers to “show up to things I didn’t feel equipped to show up for.” Like, work or awards shows or the Met Gala. She got hooked on tranquilizers because she HAD to walk red carpets, you guys. As for her riff on how she doesn’t blame herself for anything that happened… like, I understand the point she’s trying to make. But surely some of the horrible sh-t she did and said during that time IS HER FAULT.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red and Backgrid.