Everything Busy Philipps Has Said About Her Struggles With Anxiety

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Busy Philipps has stolen audiences' hearts since the cult hit series "Freaks and Geeks," where she portrayed Kim Kelly, a high schooler with a tough exterior but deep loyalty to her friends. And, of course, no one could forget Philipps' run on "Dawson's Creek" where she cemented her connection with lifetime best friend Michelle Williams

The mom of two has been super open about her struggles when it comes to parenting, marriage, and mental health. In her 2018 memoir, "This Will Only Hurt A Little," she even opened up to about turning to her friends for advice during a rough patch with her ex-husband, director Marc Silverstein (via People).

In a collaborative video with the Child Mind Institute, she explained a revelation she had about going through a difficult time. "Once you have the realization that what you're going through is something that a lot of people struggle with, it feels kind of incredible to know that you're not alone. So: you're not alone," she shared. In bringing fans and friends into the inner folds of her life, Philipps demonstrates just that, and the actress has some solid advice for those experiencing challenges with their mental health — namely, with anxiety and depression.

Philipps has struggled with anxiety since childhood

Busy Philipps got candid with the Child Mind Institute in a Facebook post for their #MyYoungerSelf campaign. She shared in the video, "I have had anxiety for as long as I can remember, since I was a kid. I used to lie awake in bed at night, and I would have spinning thoughts. It would be really hard for me to get to sleep, and I would be so scared that I wouldn't even go to my parents' room. And I didn't want to tell them what was happening because I thought there was something wrong with me."

In 2018, the actress told People that after the birth of her daughter, Birdie, she suffered from postpartum anxiety. "I didn't want anyone else touching her. I felt like I was the only one that could help or soothe her. That was a hard time." However, her friend and "Cougar Town" co-star Courteney Cox's perspective helped Philipps reassess her options: "Courteney was like, 'I think you should talk to a doctor about medication.'"  

Philipps realized through opening up as an adult that it was okay to ask for help. "It turns out that there's nothing wrong with me," she told the Child Mind Institute. "Once I was able to start talking about it, it relieved a lot of the anxiety, and I was able to get help — therapy and sometimes medication, which, there's nothing wrong with that either."

She works towards balance in her home life

In a 2020 video for the Child Mind Institute's #WeThriveInside campaign, Busy Philipps shared why she's been so open about personal issues. "I'm always glad to talk about my own mental health because I think it's something that we all need to talk more about all the time." She acknowledged, "I know this time has been really tricky for so many people." 

The actress also offered her tools for managing feelings when you're overwhelmed. The first step? "[T]aking some time for myself," she shared. "I have two kids and a whole life and it's been really difficult to try to just make sure that I'm able to just sit and breathe for a few seconds. So I've found my own space."

Philipps' next step is making sure she reflects before bed, and "at the end of the day naming the thing that I'm grateful for for that day," she shared "It just is nice to be able to actually take a few seconds and think about those things and it puts things in perspective."

On Instagram, Philipps also shared that regular exercise is integral for her mental health. "I have anxiety and I have a tendency towards depression but I have found if I sweat like this, EVERY SINGLE DAY, I feel better, I'm calmer, I'm a better mom and those fogs of anxiety or sadness seem a little lighter. I've been picking my skin less, engaging in less binge eating and I've just felt better about myself."

Busy Philipps encourages others to open up about their mental health challenges

Busy Philipps has also learned that outside opinions are not as vital to our wellbeing as our own sense of self-worth and confidence. In an Instagram post about her exercise journey, she asked, "How much sweat is too much sweat?" The actress continued, "Someone asked me if people like my sweaty Instagram stories and my feeling is that, honestly, I don't really care all that much. I post those for myself, as a f*** yes for showing up."

Continuing her empowering presence on social media, Philipps also shared a selfie of herself wearing a necklace designed by her friend Jen Gotch. The collection made in collaboration with The Iconery features two necklaces that come with labels "Anxiety" and "Depression." Philipps wrote hers in an Instagram post and shared, "The proceeds from the necklaces are going to [Bring Change to Mind], a non-profit whose goal is to destigmatize mental illness." 

In the post, the actress also clued fans into her own journey accepting her anxiety. "I used to feel so isolated & alone about my anxiety — especially after Birdie was born. But finally I started talking about it and I decided to be open on social media & my ["We're No Doctors" podcast] about my struggles. Talking about these things helps. At least I know it's helped me. And if it helps someone else to hear it in that moment, that's great, too. I'm proud to wear my anxiety around my neck for everyone to see."