Ryan Phillippe: Everyone's Experience With Depression Is Different

By Victoria Kim 08/17/17

“I believe that depression and mood disorders are on a spectrum akin to the way autism is, where it’s an individual experience.”

Ryan Phillippe

Depression is a different experience for each individual going through it, and shouldn’t be boxed in by a blanket definition, says Ryan Phillippe.

The actor, who currently appears on the USA Network series Shooter and the new fantasy/horror film Wish Upon, told Women’s Health that acknowledging each individual and unique experience is important to understanding and treating mental health issues.

“I believe that depression and mood disorders are on a spectrum akin to the way autism is, where it’s an individual experience,” he told the magazine for its Naked Issue. “I think people fear being stigmatized or treated in a blanket fashion, which is sometimes the response to someone who says, ‘I struggle with depression.’ But really, depression could manifest in a thousand different ways depending on who it is.”

The 42-year-old actor, who made his '90s debut on the soap opera One Life to Live, said last year that he’s found it easier to deal with depression as he grows older. “I’m a lot more at peace than I was when I was younger,” he told People Magazine in December. “I struggled much more with depression when I was in my 20s and 30s.” 

Now in his 40s, he said he’s “not nearly as dark a person as I used to be or as at the mercy of my emotions”—though he admits he still struggles with patience and depression.

Phillippe told Women’s Health that meditation, exercise, and his interest in Eastern philosophy keep him grounded in a “chaotic and unpredictable” world. 

The actor, who describes himself as “innately kind of a sad person,” has learned a lot about the nature of his depression over the years. He said that as he gets older, he’s realized that depression does not have to consume everything. 

“When you go through dark periods in life or if you’re a person who has struggled with depression as I have throughout my life, to know that that can decrease and that it doesn’t have to be your defining characteristic, that you can find ways to manage and cope and feel better—that’s what I’m referring to,” he told People last year.

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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