'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend' Star Rachel Bloom Opens Up About Depression, Anxiety

By David Konow 10/27/16

“I have anxiety about anxiety. Then I worry the anxiety will ruin my life. It’s a snake-eats-tail loop."

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'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend' Star Rachel Bloom Opens Up About Depression, Anxiety

In recent months, a number of celebrities have bravely come forward about their personal struggles with depression, including Bruce Springsteen, who detailed his mental health struggles in his best-selling memoir, Born to Run.

Now that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which is already getting rave reviews, is returning for a second season on The CW, the show’s star Rachel Bloom has confessed her worst struggles with anxiety and depression.

A Los Angeles native, Bloom graduated from the prestigious Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, and performed at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York and Los Angeles. Her big breakthrough came with the debut of the musical comedy series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend in 2015, which scored rave reviews and won Bloom a Golden Globe earlier this year. Yet for all her success, before she even hit the age of 30, all was not well. She hit a crisis point right on the verge of her big breakthrough.

As Bloom told Glamour this month, she worked her own personal experiences with depression into the show, writing an episode where her character, Rebecca Bunch, is suffering from insomnia. Bloom couldn’t sleep before pitching Ex-Girlfriend to networks, and as she recalled, “I became delirious—and afraid that I wasn’t sleeping; ergo I would ruin everything. But the lack of rest didn’t ruin the pitches, and I was good at covering up my anxiety.”

Then, right as Bloom was on the verge of her professional breakthrough, her boyfriend proposed to her. It was previously a long distance relationship, and Bloom “feared that our relationship would fail, and then every time I saw him, I thought about that anxiety.” This caused a horrible double whammy where her pitching anxiety and her relationship anxiety clashed together.

“All this time I was trying to hide my feelings,” Bloom recalls. “Even with my boyfriend I struggled to articulate how bad it was on the inside.” Then right as Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was officially a go pilot, Bloom was also feeling the side effects from her birth control, which took her “into the worst depression of my life.”

Bloom knew she needed help and she sought out a psychiatrist. “In his office I finally felt safe,” she said. “I told him everything. Each session improved my life.” Bloom was put on Prozac, which thankfully didn’t “numb [me] out” as she thought it would.

In therapy, the 29-year-old not only learned she wasn’t alone in her depression, but how to stop her anxiety from spiraling out of control.

“I have anxiety about anxiety,” Bloom said. “Then I worry the anxiety will ruin my life. It’s a snake-eats-tail loop … My psychiatrist has also helped me realize that not every thought needs to be indulged—some are nonsense. When I’m about to engage in an anxiety spiral, it feels like I’m balancing at the edge of a pool, and if I dip my toe into the nonsense, I fall in. So I have to stay balanced.”

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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