Recently, via Instagram, the Batwoman actress shared an old selfie of herself in a hospital bed and opened up about her diagnosis with major depressive disorder. Her intention? To shift the stigma surrounding the disease and share her story in the hope it helps others.
“I was first diagnosed with depression at 13, then major depressive disorder at 16. When I was 18 I found out I had dissociative amnesia,” she began.
“I had a few years entirely erased from my memory and a chance run-in with my best friend from primary school was the first I learned about it. She remembered me but I didn’t recognise her at all.”
According to Psychology Today, dissociative amnesia is a condition in which the sufferer separates from some aspect of their self, often following trauma or severe stress. Symptoms include abnormal memory loss in ways that significantly disrupt their lives, including their recollection of specific times, people and events. It’s estimated that 1.8 per cent of adults will experience dissociative amnesia in any given year.
“She remembered our teachers, things we did and my monkey backpack,” Ruby continued in the caption. “Things I didn’t remember even when she said them with such innocent conviction. I went home and asked my mum “Did I have a monkey backpack at school?” That is when it all started to unravel, and my life changed...I started asking questions.”
Ruby shared how she evolved from a smiling, laughing regular child to a “quiet mute who sat alone and stared off to the distance during recess after one of many traumatic events.” At the time, her mum refrained from telling her how the trauma had come about, as Ruby’s doctors said she was “was too young to process what had happened and that it was for the best.”
“Cut to many dark times. On medication, off medication, on and off and on and off,” she continued. “There were hospitalisations, suicide attempts as young as 12. Cut to therapy and meditation cut to seeing me at every self-help section of every book store.”
Ruby’s doctors were initially perplexed as to how to help her, which resulted in a misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder. It wasn’t until a brain scan (and more tests and therapy) later that she finally found out she was dealing with Complex PTSD – a condition that occurs after chronic trauma that repeats for months or years.
While Ruby didn’t expand on what – or who - had led her down such a dark path, she did say she’d come out of it all feeling stronger than ever.
“What I have learned from the struggles of mental health is just how strong I am. It’s that you cannot judge people at all because you can never know what they have been through. It’s that self-love and self-care is more important than anything else.”