“I was born a very happy, very lighthearted person,” she says. “My natural essence is quite happy and positive. When I went through that period when I was really depressed, I was like, ‘wow, I really understand what people mean.”
“It’s a serious thing. It’s like a chemical imbalance in your brain,” she adds. “It’s so important to have support from your friends and family, and to find ways to support yourself.”
For Kerr, that meant exercise and appreciating life’s blessings. “I had to push myself to exercise so I got that endorphin release, even though it was the last thing I wanted to do,” she recalls. “I would try to be grateful that I have a roof over my head and have a healthy son.”
Kerr is speaking out about mental illness to help assuage its stigma and show people they should “not feel ashamed of it.”
“For me, I needed to ride that wave and that moment in my life and realise this intensity will pass. But until that happened, I thought, I’ve got these supportive tools in my life to get me through that.”
For more information about depression, or if you or someone you know is suffering, please visit www.sane.org or call the SANE Helpline on 1800 187 263.
This article originally appeared on Marie Claire