Brave admission. Supernatural star Jared Padalecki revealed in a new interview this week that he has dealt with clinical depression.
The veteran actor, 32, is leading a charitable effort to raise awareness of mental health issues, and opened up to Variety about his own ties to the effort.
"I, for a long time, have been passionate about people dealing with mental illness and struggling with depression, or addiction, or having suicidal thoughts," he told the mag. "I, in the past, have had my own struggles of not [being] so happy with where I am in life, which is strange and I think it goes to show… Maybe a lot of people don’t know this, but season three [of Supernatural], we were shooting an episode, and I went back to my trailer to get changed and just kind of broke down."
"A doctor came to set and talked to me for about 30 minutes or 45 minutes and said, 'Jared, I think you're clinically depressed,'" Padalecki continued. "'I think I should write you a note and we can shut down production for five days and then we can take it from there.'"
"It kind of hit me like a sack of bricks," the Gilmore Girls alum added. "I mean, I was 25 years old. I had my own TV show. I had dogs that I loved and tons of friends and I was getting adoration from fans and I was happy with my work, but I couldn’t figure out what it was; it doesn’t always make sense is my point. It’s not just people who can’t find a job, or can’t fit in in society that struggle with depression sometimes."
The CW actor's new effort for the cause is a fundraising baseball T-shirt, which bears a photo of Padalecki with his arms crossed and reads, "ALWAYS KEEP FIGHTING." More than 27,500 shirts have already been sold and proceeds will benefit the To Write Love On Her Arms organization, which helps those struggling with depression, addiction, and suicidal thoughts.
"I say constantly that there’s no shame in dealing with these things," said the star, who explained that he began to feel better after taking a step back and taking a break. "There's no shame in having to fight every day, but fighting every day, and presumably, if you're still alive to hear these words or read this interview, then you are winning your war. You're here."
"You might not win every battle," he added. "There are going to be some really tough days. There might be several tough times in any given single day, but hopefully, this will help somebody to think, 'This isn’t easy; it is a fight, but I’m going to keep fighting'… Even if there are a thousand small fights, even if every other minute you’re thinking about suicide, or depression, or addiction, or if you have mental illness, I want people to hit it head on and take action. And to be proud that they’re winning their fight, period."