Ryan Phillippe admits to depression; being ‘innately’ sad

Ryan Phillippe won the hearts of Americans as an actor and former husband of Hollywood sweetheart Reese Witherspoon, but behind the golden boy exterior he…

Ryan Phillippe told Elle Magazine he is a naturally sad, empathetic person. (RoidRanger/Shutterstock)

Ryan Phillippe won the hearts of Americans as an actor and former husband of Hollywood sweetheart Reese Witherspoon, but behind the golden boy exterior he recently admitted to a mental illness which affects more than 14 million adults in the nation. Ryan Phillippe suffers from depression.

The 40-year-old star told Elle Magazine he has battled with depression from a very young age, describing himself as someone who is just a naturally sad, empathetic person.

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“You know, depression has been a huge obstacle for me ever since I was a child,” he admitted in the interview.

“As you get older I think it decreases some, but I’m just innately kind of a sad person. I’m empathetic, and I take on the feelings of others and transpose myself into the position of others.”

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States as well as the primary causes of disability in the nation.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, there are different forms and causes of depression, but individuals with these types of disorders typically experience extreme feelings of hopelessness and sadness, coupled with symptoms of low energy, poor appetite or overeating, insomnia or oversleeping, and irritability, among others.

Part of the key to managing depression, however, is knowing you suffer from it or have the potential to experience those negative feelings. Though Phillippe did not state he had ever been formally diagnosed with depression, he was well aware of his tendency toward it.

“It can ruin your f—king life,” he stated. “I’d prefer to suffer through the sadness than to be a complete moron with no feelings [though],” he added.

Ryan’s confession is one of many echoed by Hollywood stars in the wake of the tragic suicide of Robin Williams. Williams, who delighted fans on-screen and off, was seen as a happy, upbeat individual, and the world was shocked when he took his own life in August of 2014. The tragedy sparked a national depression awareness movement because if Robin Williams, portrayed as one of the funniest, happiest guys in the world, could suffer from depression, it clearly could affect anyone.

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Humor can often be how an individual covers their inner struggles.

“I’m way funnier than people know me to be,” Ryan told Elle. “And it’s a dark humor, like a gallows humor. I think that’s where, if you do carry any of that sadness or depression, your humor does tend to be a little darker than most people.”