'Star Trek: The Next Generation' Star Wil Wheaton Opens Up About Dealing With Depression and Anxiety

Wil Wheaton is best known to Star Trek fans as Wesley Crusher, the youngest regular cast member on Star Trek: The Next Generation. For many others, he’s best known for his role in Stand By Me, the popular film adaptation of Stephen King’s short story “The Body.” More recently, he’s opening up about his own life and his lifelong struggle with anxiety and depression.

Wheaton recently gave a talk at a National Alliance on Mental Illness conference in Ohio. The actor has since posted his prepared remarks to Medium, in which he goes into detail about his life as a young actor in Hollywood, the anxiety attacks that came with it, and how that eventually evolved into chronic depression.

Wheaton goes on to explain how he’s learned to accept and deal with his mental illness and shares a powerful message to others dealing with the same or similar mental health conditions:

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“So I am here today to tell anyone who can hear me: if you suspect that you have a mental illness, there is no reason to be ashamed, or embarrassed, and most importantly, you do not need to be afraid,” Wheaton writes. “You do not need to suffer. There is nothing noble in suffering, and there is nothing shameful or weak in asking for help. This may seem really obvious to a lot of you, but it wasn’t for me, and I’m a pretty smart guy, so I’m going to say it anyway: There is no reason to feel embarrassed when you reach out to a professional for help, because the person you are reaching out to is someone who has literally dedicated their life to helping people like us live, instead of merely exist.”

For anyone who struggles with mental illness, or knows someone else who they suspect might, we heartily encourage you to go read Wheaton’s remarks in their entirety. They are genuinely illuminating and educational and a reminder that even those who seem to live a life that is, as Wheaton puts it, “by every objective measurement, very very good” may be struggling with their own mental illness, and that is nothing to be ashamed about.