Annie Murphy opens up about depression: antidepressants ‘truly saved my life’


Annie Murphy played Alexis Rose on Schitt’s Creek. She has many other credits, of course, but I think most of us know her as Alexis. She had a wonderful character arc that took her from a characteristically spoiled debutante to a self-sufficient woman who chose to invest in herself rather than use other people to carry her along in life. Which is why her next series role as Allison in Kevin Can F*ck Himself was so surprising. It’s a scathing commentary on shows such as Kevin Can Wait that treat the female characters as merely support to make the men seem more desirable. It’s a very dark show that speaks to both Hollywood and viewer expectation. It is very depressing. Even the sitcom scenes get depressing the further you get into Allison and Patty’s lives. Annie recently discussed her own depression while on The Zoe Report. She said at the start of lockdown, she was suffering so much, she was crying to the point of her teeth chattering. She finally sought help, was diagnosed with depression, and put on anti-depressants. Annie said the medication and therapy saved her life. People has more.

Annie Murphy is candidly addressing the severity of her mental health struggles.

The Schitt’s Creek alum, 34, opened up about how she experienced depression at the start of the COVID-19 lockdown. She flew home to Canada on March 12, the date she was originally scheduled to start filming her new series, Kevin Can F**k Himself.

“My mom was like, ‘You’re crying 12 times a day hysterically, to the point where your teeth are chattering. That’s not normal,’ ” she recalled to The Zoe Report, noting that she subsequently saw a therapist who diagnosed her with depression. “I was like, ‘Damn it, I’m depressed.’ ”

“A lot of people are going to think that I sound like I’m playing a tiny violin for myself,” she continued. “‘Oh, you’re rich and famous. Why the f— are you sad? You have nothing to be sad about.’ But I’m not going to post photos of me covered in my own snot, lying on the floor, unable to get up. I don’t want people to have to see that.”

Murphy added, “As excited as I was to get this huge part on [Kevin Can F**k Himself], I do not think if I had gone to work when I was supposed to go to work, I would have been able to do my job.”

Taking antidepressants and participating in regular therapy sessions has ultimately helped to improve Murphy’s mental state. “I do not cry every single day on the floor 12 times. I am able to focus on other things in my life,” she said. “Now, honestly, if a friend’s like, ‘I’m having a really hard time,’ I’m like, ‘Get on drugs. Get on drugs!’ You don’t have to be on drugs for the whole time.”

Murphy additionally credits antidepressants as something that “truly saved my life” because it helped her to become “a functional human being.”

[From People]

There’s a lot to Annie’s interview that got to me. I imagine many celebrities feel like they shouldn’t complain about feeling sad due to their success. Plenty of “everyday” people dismiss their pain because they have good things in their lives. Depression does not discriminate, and it doesn’t care what your CV looks like. If you’re struggling, you deserve help like anyone else. I believe the point Annie is trying to make about anti-depressants is that we need to see them as necessary part of a mental health plan. I do think there is still a stigma around medication, at least when discussing it. But when medication is used with therapy, it’s a strong tool. And Annie is right, maybe it’s simply a temporary bridge to get someone to the right path or maybe it becomes a part of daily life. Whatever it is, if it leads to a healthy existence, it should be embraced. If you are new to anti-depressants, make sure you document everything – how they make you feel, when they kicked in, any adverse reactions, etc. Keep a journal. Be as honest with your medication management doctor as you can because there are so many options and combinations out there and doctors can only work with what you tell them.

I was just talking with my husband this morning about Kevin Can F*ck Himself. I said that to me, the show was the personification of depression. How the scenes show the darkness and despair and then switch to brightly lit, glossy sit-com scenes, where all the dialogue is quippy, even though the viewer knows what Allison truly feels. I’ve made that switch, wiped away a tear only to plaster a smile on for guests. I’ve been at this desk, writing a joke while my inner monologue is repeating “I can’t go on.” The false assumptions about Allison and Patty’s closeness is spot on as well. I have no idea if Allison is going to follow through with her plans, but I relate to the desolation that’s driving her. I’m happy to know that Annie got the help she needed. This would have been a hard role for her had she not. I imagine she has a whole new insight into the character now too.

Oh, and I forgot, Annie is in the next season of Russian Doll! She’s really making some good choices in her career.



Photo credit: Avalon Red and Instagram

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27 Responses to “Annie Murphy opens up about depression: antidepressants ‘truly saved my life’”

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  1. BusyLizzy says:

    Well I want to thank her for her message because even though I think we live in a society that overprescribes medication, I think anti depressants can be life changing for some. I had a bit of depression back in 2016 when I had panic attacks because of my crippling anxiety, lost 20 pounds and spent every night crying after work. I felt like I was drowning and I was prescribed Sertraline, it really helped me get my life back on track with the additional help of therapy (I eventually stopped taking them 7 months later). I am thankful I had access to anti depressants.

    • Megs283 says:

      Sertraline was and is a game-changer for me. I went on it in 2016, went off in 2017, went back on in 2018 and I’ve embraced that it will probably be a lifelong thing for me. I’ve always been anxious – memories of my childhood are tainted by my anxieties – and it’s so freeing to live without that running commentary of constant needless worry in my head.

    • mmm says:

      “Well I want to thank her for her message because even though I think we live in a society that overprescribes medication, I think anti depressants can be life changing for some.”


      I think overprescribing of medication and overpatologisation of mental illness are important topics to talk about. But it’s a fact that medication helps some people and I’m glad it’s for them even though it’s not for me.

  2. Lady Baden-Baden says:

    Herewith my usual frivolous comment: I have SUCH a crush on this woman.

    Actually, thinking about it, maybe my crush is on Alexis? Not seen her in anything but Schitt’s Creek

    • Esmom says:

      Sh was just brilliant as Alexis. My favorite in a cast that was pretty much all brilliant.

    • Megs283 says:

      She seems like such a bright and caring individual. I follow her on IG ☺️

    • K says:

      Watch a few interviews with her, she’s pretty darn charming herself. I don’t think Alexis would have been nearly as compelling (she became my favorite character though I would not have guessed that early on in the show) without Annie’s particular delivery and expressions.

  3. Amy T says:

    So much respect for the way she’s using her platform and choosing roles.

  4. Seraphina says:

    I don’t know this actress but I applaud her and thank her for her message. I see people struggle with depression. Not everyone needs the same level of therapy and that is OK. Metal wellbeing is finally being recognized. The part of the body that controls EVERYTHING and we have finally begun to focus on it’s health. Kudos to her courage and bravery. I am sure her story will help others.

  5. Esmom says:

    Wow, Hecate, I love the analogy of the show as a personification of depression. I am afraid I’m not in the right head space to watch it, though, as much as I love Annie.

    As someone who has also been saved by antidepressants (and same with my son, even more dramatically so), I have to say this. We wouldn’t deny a Type 1 diabetic their insulin and expect them to just will their pancreas to do its job. The brain is an organ just like everything else in the human body and some literally cannot function properly otherwise. The trial and error of medication can be a hassle but the effects of untreated mental illness can be devastating. I just wish access to good providers wasn’t so abysmal. It’s a real problem in this country.

    • Moira's Rose's Garden says:

      “We wouldn’t deny a Type 1 diabetic their insulin and expect them to just will their pancreas to do its job. The brain is an organ just like everything else in the human body and some literally cannot function properly otherwise.”

      Say it louder for the people in the back of the room.

      • Lainier says:

        Anti depressants are a permanent thing for me now. I can’t go off them ever again. I’m okay with this because I have to be okay for my kids. I am a better mother on them. Being me is easier on them.

        If you can’t make your own neurotransmitters, store bought is okay too.

      • Esmom says:

        Lainier, same.

    • Driver8 says:

      I’ve said for years that if I had a physical disability or illness, I would get all the support in the world. It’s frustrating because everyone has been depressed or sad at points in their lives. Most are able to work thru it and move on. I will be on antidepressants and in therapy for the rest of my life. It is a chronic illness and I’m so tired of being judged for not living the kind of life society expects from me. I’m just trying to get thru each day without slitting my wrists. I’m grateful when celebrities speak about their struggles with depression. The stigma needs to end.
      I also love her as Alexis. Schitt’s Creek got me thru quarantine. I put it on sometimes for the mental pick me up. Thank you all too for sharing your stories. It helps more than you can imagine.

    • Ann says:

      Exactly. I struggled with depression and anxiety for years before I finally tried medication. I was high-functioning academically and professionally, got married, started a family, was fundamentally happy and had every reason to be, but that dark cloud, the tears and feeling of paralysis, just wouldn’t go away. Medication isn’t perfect and it takes tweaking to get it right, but when it’s needed, it’s needed and makes a world of difference.

      The brain is part of the body just like any other organ, and needs treatment sometimes.

      I loved her in the role of Alexis and I’m glad she spoke out. She seems like a nice person.

    • K says:

      Yes, mental health IS physical health. I have never understood why some people try to separate them and discount mental health struggles, as if the brain isn’t an organ too, as if it isn’t actually the captain of the whole damn ship!

      My brain has tried to kill me before through suicidal thoughts, depression and panic attacks that I battled through without much (or any) sympathy from others, yet if I cut my finger in front of a friend they would rush to get me a band-aid or drive me to a doctor. We have to regard mental health struggles as serious.

  6. Moira's Rose's Garden says:

    I love her and even more so for sharing her story.

    Just recently I had someone tell me that medication for depression is unnecessary because mental illness is a result of poor diet choices. I’ve been medication for depression/anxiety for the majority of my life, so suffice to say was less than thrilled with the ignorant statement.

    Mental illness and fame/fortune are not mutually exclusive. Not sure why that’s a difficult concept to grasp.

    • HoofRat says:

      “Broken legs are a result of poor diet choices – why would you need a cast and crutch?” God, the judgment toward people experiencing mental illness is so ingrained and so normalized and so incredibly destructive.

    • Seraphina says:

      Whoever graced you with that wisdom is an idiot.

      • Pusspants says:

        @Seraphina, I love your response! I’m a clinical psychologist and I’ve also taken antidepressants for depression from time to time when needed. Unipolar & bipolar depression runs in my family and yet still some family members think antidepressants “aren’t healthy or natural”, are a “crutch” and that people should be able to “snap out of it” when they are depressed by exercising more and talk therapy. While I agree that those two things are quite helpful, sometimes they aren’t enough. I continue to speak openly about my experience to my family & friends in the hopes of helping people see things a different way. I applaud all of you sharing your experiences managing your own depression!

  7. Marie says:

    I love Annie Murphy so, so, so very much. Alexis was such a joy to watch and honestly that show got me through a dark time in my own life. I’m glad she’s got a supportive family and was able to get help and is speaking out publicly about it. Be well, Annie!

  8. tealily says:

    For me, antidepressants felt like they patched up the bottom of the hole I was falling down until I was able to climb out. I appreciate her candor.

    • Ann says:

      You can’t climb out without some kind of physical support, no matter how strong you are.

  9. Lunasf17 says:

    I went on Zoloft for three days last summer when my mental health bottomed out. They made me so foggy and disoriented so they didn’t work for me but I’m glad they work for her and others, mental health is hard! Also someone in a parenting group once said the meds can give you the space to get to the bottom of the problem and work on it from other angles as well which I think is a great way to think about them. They can be forever for some and a temporary tool for others.

    • Marie says:

      @Luna – definitely important to point out that meds aren’t for everyone. I was on Cymbalta for a few months when I developed extreme anxiety/panic attacks. It made me foggy and emotionally stunted and didn’t really make me feel any better. But I have friends and family for whom meds helped them so much. Therapy is what helped me manage my anxiety. It’s important for those struggling to know to not give up after their first attempt at relief hasn’t worked.

    • mmm says:

      “They can be forever for some and a temporary tool for others.”

      THANK YOU! I came here to say this exact same thing.

      It’s important not to stigmatise the use of medication wrt mental health. But it is also important to support mentally ill people who don’t do medication or therapy.