Rachel Bloom is a co-creator and star of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, a title that, for a brief time long ago, left me puzzled and enraged every time I saw its ad on the subway. Fearing that we had an Entourage-style project on our hands, I was concerned about the “crazy” label until I was literally watching the intro of the golden-globe winning show.
“She’s the crazy ex-girlfriend," her costars sing in the opening sequence. “What? No I’m not. That’s a sexist term!” Bloom’s character Rebecca sharply responds to the taunting. In that moment, it was clear that the show was self aware and understood the implications of the word “crazy”, and further dives into mental illness as Rebecca battles depression. Bloom recently penned an essay for Glamour about her personal experiences with depression and one experience in particular: pitching her television show.
“Rebecca is depressed, and as my co-creator, Aline Brosh McKenna, and I were writing that episode, the anxiety and depression that had invaded my own brain like an alien when I was a kid came back in full force," Bloom wrote.
Bloom describes the intense anxiety she has about her pitch meetings for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and her long-distance relationship that she wasn’t able to sleep, overwhelmed by her thoughts. Her boyfriend proposed shortly after her meetings (which went well, despite her necrosis) and even though her personal and professional life were flourishing, she still suffered from anxiety and depression.
“So I was in this perfect storm—with the show, which by this time was a pilot, and the engagement—and then something happened with my birth control", Bloom wrote. The company sent me the same Pill from a different manufacturer, which shouldn’t affect people but affected me. I went from feeling anxious to sinking into the worst depression of my life. I needed help."
Bloom started regularly going to therapy, and found a safe haven in her psychiatrist's office and coming to terms that she is not alone.
“I have anxiety about anxiety, then I worry the anxiety will ruin my life,” Bloom wrote. “It’s a snake-eats-tail loop. But in opening up to others, I found a lot of people have felt the same way.”
Bloom credits meditation as being one of her best remedies, and credits it to helping her focus on the present not succumbing to black holes of worry. She also acknowledges her support system, including her Crazy Ex-Girlfriend co creator Aline and her now-husband, who do not try to “cure” or “fix” her, but are always there for support.
3 cheers for Bloom for sharing her experience with depression on and off the screen! Considering that major depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States, it is important that these characters are written and seen.