shannon purser of 'stranger things' wants everyone to book a therapy session

The actress talks about her "debilitating" OCD and the power of therapy.

by Hannah Ongley
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10 August 2017, 8:12pm

JB Lacroix via Getty

Her Stranger Things character might be dead in a netherworld Demogorgon lair — hope is futile, it's been confirmed — but Shannon Purser is still having her impact here on Earth. Purser has recently used her sky-rocketing platform to spur conversations about bisexuality and self-harm. Now the Emmy-nominated actress is speaking out about another stigmatized issue that's deeply personal to her: OCD. Purser has been diagnosed with the mental health disorder, and she's not here for the trend of faking it for attention.

"I had a really, really bad case of [OCD]," Purser revealed at the Variety Power of Young Hollywood event this week. "Everybody hears OCD and they think, 'Okay, you like to clean or be organized.' That's really not what it is, especially not for everybody." Purser said the disorder made her "super self-conscious, to the point where it was debilitating," and thanked therapy for helping to build her confidence. "I think everybody should be in therapy," she added, saying she wants to help shed light on an issue often kept in the dark. "It helps so much to have somebody educated you can talk to."

Part of Barb's epic, pizza-inspiring appeal was her relatable outsider status (and amazing 80s mom jeans). But it took Purser a while to see unconventionality, whether psychological or physical, as a positive thing. "I don't have a typical body type, and that used to be something that made me feel very alone and weird," she revealed. "I've gotten so many messages from people saying like, 'It's so refreshing to see somebody who looks like me on TV,' and that really means the world to me." Nothing Upside Down about that.

Tagged:
mental health
therapy
stranger things
OCD
barb
shannon purser
barb, shannon purser, mental health, ocd, body image, therapy,