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Jared Padalecki and the Scourge of Depression

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | May 18, 2015 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | May 18, 2015 |

Jared Padalecki was scheduled to appear at conventions in Italy and Australia with a whole bunch of the other Supernatural actors and creative folks, over the next week but bowed out at the last moment. That’s not news in and of itself, these things happen, convention attendance ain’t exactly news unless you’re the local police preparing for Nicholas Brendan’s arrival. What made it more was the fact that he bowed out with the following tweets:

That hashtag #AlwaysKeepFighting is a project for the non-profit To Write Love on Her Arms, which Padalecki is involved with (lending his face to t-shirts) dedicated to fighting depression and suicide. Padalecki himself has struggled with clinical depression since being diagnosed in 2008 after breaking down in his trailer on the set of Supernatural. You can read a quite thoughtful interview with him here.

Depression eats away your life, shutting down your ability to enjoy anything, to do anything. It’s like a cancer of the mind, and one that no matter how many times you beat it down, how many times you think it’s in remission, it’ll come seeping back in eventually. It’s not being sad, and it’s not about anything. And that makes it a terrible disease to cope with, because you want to hide it, because those who haven’t suffered it generally don’t understand. They want to help, they want to know what’s wrong. And when the answer is that absolutely nothing is wrong, you get the look. You’re either pitied or thought weak. I can’t imagine being a celebrity and dealing with that publicly. I can’t imagine being on Twitter with that level of publicity. Because do you know how many tweets he must get directed at him calling him all manner of horrible things? Every one of which would jam another knife into that depressive certainty that it really is all in your head and that you have no excuse for feeling like this.

The response of his cast-mates, hell just about every person who has ever been on a show with him over the last 15 years, responded publicly with about the sweetest series of tweets you’ll ever read. This is what support looks like, and it’s a beautiful thing.

Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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