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Sarah Silverman Opens Up About “Dark Years” With Depression, Panic Attacks: “My Whole Perspective Changed”

Sarah Silverman
Sarah Silverman opened up about her battle with depression and panic in the November issue of Glamour  Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Sarah Silverman put the jokes on hold while opening up to Glamour about her struggles with depression and panic for its November issue.

In an as-told-to essay shared on Tuesday, Oct. 13, the comedian, 44, revealed that her depression started at age 13, when she got back from a school trip, where she had to hide her “shameful secret” of wetting the bed.

“My mom was there to pick me up, and she was taking pictures like a paparazzo,” Silverman recalled. “Seeing her made the stress of the last few days hit home. You know how you can be fine one moment, and the next it’s ‘Oh my God, I f—ing have the flu?!’ It was like that. Only this flu lasted for three years. My whole perspective changed.”

During this time, the Masters of Sex actress hid from her friends, missed months of school, and endured crippling panic attacks.

“Every breath is labored. You are dying. You are going to die. It’s terrifying,” she explained. “And then when the attack is over, the depression is still there. Once, my stepdad asked me, ‘What does it feel like?’ And I said, ‘It feels like I’m desperately homesick, but I’m home.’”

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After meeting with several different therapists and trying different dosages of medication — at one point she was up to 16 Xanax a day — Silverman got her depression under control. But then when she was 22, “something came over [her] again," and she had to start taking Klonopin. “To this day I have a bottle of seven pills in my backpack that I never touch because just knowing that they’re there is all I need.”

These days, the I Smile Back star takes Zoloft and goes to therapy to help control her depression and anxiety.

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“I’ve lived with depression and learned to control it, or at least to ride the waves as best I can,” Silverman said.

Read the full essay at

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