Chiara de Blasio Describes Depression and Addiction In Powerful Essay

By Shawn Dwyer 05/08/14

De Blasio was in Maryland with her family to receive an award from Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for being an example to other young adults struggling with abuse.

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Dante and Chiara de Blasio. Photo via

At the end of last year, Chiara de Blasio, the 19-year-old daughter of New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, spoke on camera about her abuse of drugs and alcohol brought about by her long battle with clinical depression. This week, the first daughter of New York City traveled with her family to Maryland, where Ms. de Blasio received an award from outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for writing an emotionally raw essay about her struggles.

“It is remarkable how I’ve learned to change my natural state, as every morning I awaken a nervous and depressed wreck, before slowly putting myself back together again,” de Blasio wrote. She went on to describe how her adolescence was “miserable” while coming to the conclusion that she was “born with the disease of addiction.”

“The problems that I have aren’t ones that fix themselves,” de Blasio said in her essay. “But as I always say, the most beautiful things come out of pain. And so long as I’m trying to create a beautiful life, I’m in a better place than I was before.”

Ms. de Blasio was recognized by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for being an example for young adults to follow. Her father introduced his daughter to the audience with an emotionally-charged speech that recounted his father’s own struggles with alcoholism and depression that ultimately led to his suicide.

“In my own life, in my own family, we faced these demons before,” Mr. de Blasio said. “My own father was an alcoholic. He could not, unfortunately, tragically, find his way to this kind of help, this kind of recovery. But his granddaughter could. And she did.”

Ms. de Blasio stepped to the podium and described how hard it was to believe that she could be standing before everyone given her state a year ago. She went on to reveal that she plans on devoting her life and career to helping others struggling with mental illness.

Read the full text of de Blasio’s essay here.

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Shawn Dwyer is a writer, editor and content producer living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Linkedin.