Sammy Nickalls
October 13, 2015 9:17 am

Cara Delevingne is known all over the world. She’s an immensely successful model, actress, and overall personality. She’s worked with countless legends in multiple professional realms, such as John Green, Karl Lagerfeld, and Taylor Swift. She’s dating popular musician St. Vincent, and from the outside, her life seems as though it’s truly made of gold. However, the outside isn’t always the truth. No level of success or popularity can make you immune to mental illness, and at a talk on Friday at the Women in the World Summit, Cara opened up about her struggle with depression, a struggle that made life seem unbearable.

“I really wanted to do well at school to please my parents and my family. I didn’t really care that much about school, because I knew I wasn’t very good at it,” she told the moderator and audience. “I think I pushed myself so far that I got to the point where I had a bit of a mental breakdown.”

School was a massive challenge for Cara because of her learning disabilities. “I have very bad learning disabilities,” she explained. “If you look at my writing, it’s not good at all.”

All of this was incredibly isolating and alienating to the point where Cara fell into a very dark place. “I didn’t want to live anymore. I thought that I was completely alone,” she told the moderator and audience. “I wanted the world to swallow me up, and nothing seemed better than death.”

Eventually, the situation escalated out of control, and she had to be taken out of school. She was put on medication, then left school at 17 to begin her modeling career. “[Modeling] wasn’t nice,” she continued. “You’re constantly told that you’re not pretty enough, and not tall enough, and not skinny enough and people are better. When you’re young you think that means, ‘I’m not good enough as a person.’ That means, ‘I’m not living up to who I should be.'”

After that first year, she was making a name for herself and started to get noticed, but she had a hard time saying “no” to jobs, and she overworked herself to the point where she developed psoriasis. “All those problems I had I masked with medicine instead of taking time to really solve them,” Cara said. “But at that time I really wanted someone to stop me, to go ‘you need to take a break,’ you need to look after yourself.”

With the help of Kate Moss, writing, and yoga, Cara was able to slowly work through the stresses of the industry and her depression, she explained:

It’s easy to look at a celebrity’s life and think they have it all. But no single person is immune to anxiety, depression, or another form of mental illness. So many people suffer from it, yet so many are afraid to talk about it in a world that still deems mental illness as a form of weakness. . . when really, battling depression and anxiety requires a special form of strength.

Thank you, Cara, for opening up about something so deeply personal. Not only can millions around the world relate to your struggle with depression, but by speaking up, you are putting an essential crack in the foundation that is negative stigma surrounding mental health.

Watch the entire raw, real interview below.

Related reading: 

Things not to say to someone with anxiety or depression

Honest answers to questions about my depression

[Image via Twitter and 20th Century Fox]

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