He's known for playing Dean Forester on Gilmore Girls, and now he's making a name for himself by playing badass hunter Sam Winchester on Supernatural, but in real life the Jared Padalecki is making himself know in a much different way. Jared Padalecki is opening up about battling depression and giving his fans a view into the world of mental illness. In an interview with Variety, Padalecki revealed his past struggle with depression and how he got through it. He said,
And I, in the past, have had my own struggles of not [being] so happy with where I am in life, which is strange and I think it goes to show ... Maybe a lot of people don’t know this, but Season 3 [of Supernatural], we were shooting an episode, and I went back to my trailer to get changed and just kind of broke down.
Soon after, a doctor talked with Padalecki and said he was "clinically depressed." The doctor suggested that the actor take some time for himself and away from filming. Padalecki said it hit him all at once and it wasn't something he expected. He revealed,
And it kind of hit me like a sack of bricks. I mean, I was 25 years old. I had my own TV show. I had dogs that I loved and tons of friends and I was getting adoration from fans and I was happy with my work, but I couldn’t figure out what it was; it doesn’t always make sense is my point. It’s not just people who can’t find a job, or can’t fit in in society that struggle with depression sometimes.
He was lucky enough to find support in his family and friends, including his co-star and real-life best friend Jensen Ackles. Now, Padalecki is hoping to help others dealing with similar situations or those who know someone who is suffering from some type of mental illness. With help from his friend and Arrow actor Stephen Amell, Padalecki created a t-shirt with the slogan "Always Keep Fighting." All proceeds from the shirt go directly to the non-profit organization To Write Love On Her Arms to help anyone dealing with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide.
As a huge fan of Padalecki, I admire him even more for sharing his story and launching a campaign to help such a beneficial cause. If you didn't find him inspirational before, there's no doubt you do now. I'll leave you with this quote from Padalecki:
I say constantly that there’s no shame in dealing with these things. There’s no shame in having to fight every day, but fighting every day, and presumably, if you’re still alive to hear these words or read this interview, then you are winning your war. You’re here. You might not win every battle. There are going to be some really tough days. There might be several tough times in any given single day, but hopefully, this will help somebody to think, “This isn’t easy; it is a fight, but I’m going to keep fighting,” and that’s why we did this shirt.