Lake Bell Details Traumatic Home Birth To Destigmatize Psychiatric Meds

By Victoria Kim 09/16/19

"I barely take Advil but I was like, this is absolutely imperative in order for me to function.”

Image: 
close up of actress Lake Bell
“I took a medication called Zoloft, a very low dose...it took me to a place where I could just be.” Laurence Agron | Dreamstime.com

Actress Lake Bell was a believer in the “organic f—ing kumbaya way of living,” but that did not stop her from seeking medication after a traumatic home birth in which she nearly lost her son.

“It was like I need something, I can’t be a person. I don’t know how to be… I had never felt that before,” the Bless This Mess star said on a recent episode of The Conversation with Amanda De Cadenet. “My heart aches for those who feel that through the hardship of their life every day, like, I have felt it. I know what it is and it’s a monster. It’s a demon.”

Bell is hoping to lessen the stigma around psychiatric medication by sharing her story. She said that turning to Zoloft after her son Ozzy’s birth in 2017 allowed her to function and feel like herself again.

Taking Antidepressants To Feel Normal

“I took a medication called Zoloft, a very low dose and this was again, a person who was afraid of Advil, and I begged for it for my own well-being and for my family’s well-being… and it took me to a place where I could be. I could just be,” she said. “It was rational. I needed to just be Lake and I felt finally like I could breathe the air that Lake breathes, not like some other person that I don’t recognize.”

She was on the medication for about a year before she tapered off.

Bell said she was overcome by guilt after insisting that she have a home birth for Ozzy. The birth of her first child in 2014 to daughter Nova was “empowering,” she told Bless This Mess co-star Dax Shepard on his podcast Armchair Expert in July, and inspired her to have a second home birth.

Nova was born with the umbilical cord around her neck, but Bell and her husband watched as “she came to life” with the help of the midwife.

The Trauma Of Almost Losing Her Son 

Ozzy was also born with the cord around his neck, but did not recover as well as Nova did. The newborn was rushed to the hospital and spent 11 days in the NICU. Having been deprived of oxygen for “longer than the four minutes that is associated with being okay,” the parents were informed that “he could [have] cerebral palsy or never walk or talk. That was our reality,” Bell said.

She struggled to cope with the guilt and trauma of almost losing her son.

“I’ve dealt with that since,” she told Shepard. “You could blame the midwife, you could blame yourself, but ultimately the result is the only thing that matters. I’ve gone through therapy and was medicated for a year and a half. I did wean myself off but I was on antidepressants to help kind of regulate. I barely take Advil but I was like, this is absolutely imperative in order for me to function.”

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr

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