winona ryder won’t be shamed for being sensitive

The actress opens up about depression and why you have to own your feelings.

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Aug 8 2016, 11:57am

Your Stranger Things binge watch is finally over and you're feeling a bit blue. But fear not because agony aunt Winona has some pearls of wisdom for you. Talking to The Cut, Winona makes a powerful case for embracing all your emotions, owning your vulnerable side, and saying fuck you to anyone who tries to shame you for being sensitive. "I'm so sick of people shaming women for being sensitive or vulnerable," says the actress, who has made her career out of playing sensitive, vulnerable types, and has spoken widely in the past about dealing with depression, "I wish I could unknow this, but there is a perception of me that I'm supersensitive and fragile. And I am supersensitive, and I don't think that's a bad thing. To do what I do, I have to remain open."

Elsewhere she compares herself to her Stranger Things character, Joyce, a single mother who has lost her son in highly suspicious circumstances and is being plagued by supernatural activity. "There's a line where someone says, 'She's had anxiety problems in the past.' A lot of people have picked up on that, like, 'Oh, you know, she's crazy.' And I'm like, 'Okay, wait a second, she's struggling. Two kids, deadbeat dad, working her ass off. Who wouldn't be anxious? Even that word, anxious. It's a bad word."

In a culture that stigmatises mental health, women who suffer from anxiety are constantly written off as hysterical. "I remember I did Diane Sawyer," she recalls, "and I talked about my experiences with anxiety and depression when I was that age. And I think by doing that, maybe coupled with my physical size, there's this 'crazy' thing. And I've realised recently it's literally impossible to try to change that story." For the sake of womenkind everywhere, we hope it's a story that changes soon.

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Text Tish Weinstock