Actress Ashley Judd gave a lecture at ETSU on Friday Nov. 4 called “Stigma Stops Now” about the stigma imposed on people who suffer from mental illnesses.
“I cannot keep what I have unless I give it away,” Judd said.
Ashley Judd, who was diagnosed with codependency and depression, walked into the Culp Auditorium and immediately asked for a hug. This was how Judd conducted the rest of the lecturer, with an openness that allowed the audience to have a say in where the conversation went.
“I am Ashley Judd, and I am in recovery from depression and about that I have no shame,” Judd said
She went on to talk about the Triple A.Q — Acceptability, Accessibility, Affordability and Quality — her belief in a higher power, a faith that would help her in her recovery and deal with her past. She then took a moment of silence and said the Serenity Prayer.
“Religion is for people who are afraid of going to hell. Spirituality is for those of us who have been there,” said Judd, quoting her sister.
Following the moment of silence, she opened the floor up for the audience to give her topics to talk about. Topics such as self-care, anxiety and her childhood were thrown out there.
“When I got into recovery I had so much anger, actually let’s call it rage, that the people who brought me into recovery actually said that my rage was so bombastic that it proceeded me into the room,” Judd said. “Some people with depression can go into the anxiety and for me I did the angry.”
Judd spoke about the anger she had for her mother and also the love she has for her now. She said that, when dealing with an illness, to not lash out with hurtful words because you don’t have the tools yet to deal with your anger.
“I plead with you never say that to a person in their depression who is not yet been given a solution. I think that’s really unfair to say to someone. When you are caught in the pain and you don’t have those tools yet, I think that’s really a mistake,” Judd said.
Judd took questions from the audience, demonstrated a breathing exercise for dealing with anxiety, and told a story about when she had to deal with a forgotten shame and brought the lecture to a close with affirmations.
“In order to recover from something we must first share a vocabulary about what that something is, and the more we can talk about depression and suicidality, the more we come into some kind of harmony about what it looks like, what it feels like, how diverse it is and, of course, that helps us create solutions,” Judd said.