Sarah Silverman, best known for her comedic roles was required to delve in to the more serious side of herself in the 2015 film, I Smile Back. Silverman played the role of a mother and wife struggling with mental illness and addiction. People began to wonder how this comedian brought herself to a place to succeed in a more serious and dramatic role. As this question naturally came up in multiple interviews, Silverman began to open up about the struggles she has dealt with in regards to mental health and illness.
To play this role, she discussed how she tapped into the personal relationship she has had with depression. In these interviews, she describes what it felt like the first time depression came in to her life as a child. She explains that “[she] didn’t know what was happening. It felt like [her] perspective shifted about two or three degrees one way and everything looked different.” Self described as a social kid, Silverman all of the sudden did not see any reason to be with people. Not only did she not see any reason to be with people, but she mentions that hanging out with friends felt like a burden. These words bring light to the darkness that can take over someone’s life. As fast as a cloud comes over the sun, depression can completely shift the way someone sees the world.
As Silverman describes the challenges she has faced, she also highlights the things that have helped her in her personal journey with mental health. In relation to her support system, she found benefit not in people trying to fix the situation, but rather having people listen and ask her questions. Silverman details the moment her stepfather asked the simple question, “What does it feel like?” This moment allowed her to feel heard and communicate what she felt. In addition to having her friends and family there to listen, Silverman found great support through therapy and medication. Although she has made significant progress with her mental health, Silverman mentions that this is still an ongoing battle for her.
In one interview, she was asked if she still has bouts of this depression. She responded by saying that this is still something she sometimes struggles with, but she has been on a low dose of Zoloft since 1994 that keeps her from the total paralysis of depression she has felt in the past. For Silverman and many others, depression is not something that ever goes away, but rather something one learns how to manage. It is a process. Throughout all these years, she has come to a place where she now knows that whatever she is feeling will pass and for her, sometimes that’s all it takes.