Days of our Lives' alum Kate Mansi, who departed the role of Abigail Deveraux earlier this year, seems to have it all. The young actress is on the brink of exciting career opportunities, constantly busy with important charity work, and just welcomed twin nephews into the world. But she reveals that amidst all the blessings, there lies an uncomfortable part of her life she's never shared with the public until now: she struggles with depression and anxiety.
Mansi wrote a guest blog for Bring Change 2 Mind, a charity she signed up with this fall that fights against mental health stigma. In the blog, she shares her joy at having witnessed her sister bring two twin boys into the world and becoming an aunt for the first time. But she also shares there was a darkness over the experience that she's trying to bring to light.
"What I witnessed will forever be one of the most powerful moments of my life. Without even looking into [my nephews'] eyes, holding them or even smelling them yet, it felt like they shattered my heart into a million tiny pieces in the best possible way. I didn't know I could love that BIG!" she writes. "The next morning (and every morning since), the first thought to flutter through my mind upon waking has been, ‘The boys -- it's real! I'm an Aunt!!" I couldn't shake this sheer awe and excitement. I felt an unexpected sense of purpose and strong surge of empowerment to take the best care of myself possible for the sake of my nephews and my sister's new family."
As a result, the actress sneaked in a yoga class that unexpectedly changed her outlook on her own mental health and prompted her to share her struggles.
"A few minutes in[to the class], the instructor offered up a quote for us all to think about as Thanksgiving approached, ‘It is impossible to feel depressed when you feel true gratitude.' Immediately my gut reaction was resistance. I noticed the drastic switch of emotions swirl up inside me and then started judging myself before even questioning why I was so irritated," Mansi shares, adding that she tried to let the feelings go but was unable. "It's a simple concept to encourage gratitude, can't you just move on?' I thought. So I inhaled deeply, refocused on gratitude for my nephews and worked on getting back to my ‘happy place'. Boom, there it was again, right in the forefront of my mind like a giant stop sign I kept seeing and hearing her words: ‘It is impossible to feel depressed when you feel true gratitude.'"
She continues: "Seven days have passed since the yoga class, and I still can't stop thinking (okay, fine, obsessing) about that damn quote. Finally I did something I should have done about seven days ago. I gave myself permission to challenge my thoughts. Permission to take inventory of my inner resistance instead of pushing it away (God knows that's an ever present lesson). Here's what I've come up with:
Undoubtedly, I believe the instructor was well intentioned in offering that quote to her class. An inspirational gesture to encourage her students to embrace gratitude. In my opinion, I have to honor that I found it to be inaccurate, insensitive and a prime example of the stigma surrounding mental disorders. While I see her point in the great impact gratitude practices can create, it cannot completely absolve depression for someone who struggles with it. Her perspective was confusing, conflicting and isolating. Confusing because for me, someone who lives with anxiety and depression, that is not the world I live in. It is imperative to my mental health that I remember, nothing is impossible with depression, or anxiety. This doesn't mean we have to be white knuckling our happiness and preparing for disaster around any corner. Though the reality is, for those who struggle with depression, nothing is impossible. Expecting that you can pluck out your depression and 'solve' it, is a trigger-some set up for disappointment."
Mansi goes on to explain that as she was feeling extreme joy over the birth of her nephews and words like depression could not have been further from her mind, it did not change the fact that it was still a part of her.
"Sometimes it's present, sometimes it's dormant, but it's always there and I am learning to take ownership over it equal to all the other parts of me," she shares. "I've lived the majority of my life with anxiety and depression. I've never embraced it, never spoken about it, never wanted it to be part of my story. Until recently. The truth is, depression and anxiety are a part of my story, and I want to make it one of the great parts! That goes along with all the other wonderful parts I have to be grateful for -- including my new nephews. I want those boys to grow up in a world that is honest and truthful about mental health so that they never feel alone and will know how to comfort those who do. I want to create momentum to elicit change instead of staying silent and perpetuating stigma."
The actress goes on to explain that those are her true reasons for having hosted a series of workout classes to benefit BC2M in a campaign she titled #SweatToStopStigma.
"With partners such as Open Sweat and The Know Collective, we've been raising awareness, support and donations one workout class at a time," she writes. "BC2M has a difficult task. They are not fighting for something tangible like delivering clean water to underprivileged countries, or building homes for people in need. You can't necessarily measure the results of this fight. It is a change that has to occur from within and spread and spread and spread until we've changed the world."
What do you think about Mansi choosing to open up about her experiences with depression and anxiety? How much are you missing the actress on DAYS? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.