Trigger warning: This post discusses depression and other mental health issues.
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When you watch an actor on TV, you might assume that everything is going well for them, as their career looks pretty successful.
Jennifer Barry has issued an important reminder that we never know what someone is going through.
The Young Offenders actor, who plays Siobhan on the show, opened up about her battle with depression, and what helped her over time.
While Jennifer is still acting and studying in college, she has turned to fitness too and is now working as a personal trainer.
Speaking about how she got to this point, she explained that she was diagnosed with ‘depression/anxiety’ in February 2019.
“I couldn’t sleep, get out of bed, eat or talk about how I felt, so much so I thought the only way it would get better was if I ended my own life,” she sadly revealed. Though now she knows this is the furthest thing from the truth.
Opening up about self-worth she added: “Part of my depression came from a self-hatred that had been slowly increasing over time. I was in a constant battle with food and my weight and hated every inch of myself inside and out.”
She added that her relationship with food and eating not enough/too much took it’s toll on her.
“I loved what exercise did for my head and heart, and I realized how important it was to take care of my body. I started eating the right foods and slowly but surely, I began to love myself again. I worked really really hard and was very patient, and eventually I learned how to feel positive about my body and help myself through what was the worst year of my life,” she revealed.
Jennifer shared this message of hope on her new Instagram account which focuses on personal training and fitness content.
“I never ever want anyone to feel how I did. Everyone deserves to be happy and healthy in themselves and love themselves and their bodies. That is why I became a qualified PT/fitness instructor with Image Fitness,” she explained.
“Now, I’m still an actor and student, but I’m also working as a PT in FlyFit and loving every second of it. I am still very much on the journey and still have bad days, but I know I will never ever go back to that dark place. From here on, the only way is up.”
Jennifer’s post is a heartbreaking and upsetting one, but also one that is full of hope, because as she explained, things did get better.
If you’re feeling sad, empty or confused, it’s so important to reach out to someone who cares about you who will help.
Whether you speak to a parent, teacher or older sibling, being honest is the first step in getting the help you need to feel better.
If you’re nervous about talking about how you feel, try writing it down on a piece of paper or in a text and sending it to a parent or guardian who can help.
As Jennifer points out, things will always get better, and no one deserves to be sad all the time.
You can also free text 50808, an anonymous Irish helpline for those in need, or Free Phone Childline on 1800 66 66 66 or text 50101.