'Big Bang Theory' Star Wil Wheaton Reveals He Lives With 'Chronic Depression and Generalized Anxiety'

Wil Wheaton discussed his own battle with 'chronic depression and generalized anxiety' in detail, [...]

Wil Wheaton discussed his own battle with "chronic depression and generalized anxiety" in detail, a month before the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.

In May, the 45-year-old Star Trek: The Next Generation actor spoke at the National Alliance of Mental Health's Ohio conference. Wheaton posted the remarks on his blog a month before Spade took her own life Tuesday at age 55. Spade's husband, Andy Spade, confirmed she was treated for depression before her death.

Three days after Spade's death though, Bourdain was found dead in France at the age of 61. The celebrity chef also discussed his own struggles with depression.

In Wheaton's speech, the actor admitted he has a great life, but still struggles with his self-esteem, self-worth and his "value not only as an actor and writer, but as a human being.

"That's because I live with Depression and Anxiety, the tag team champions of the World Wrestling With Mental Illness Federation," Wheaton wrote. "And I'm not ashamed to stand here, in front of six hundred people in this room, and millions more online, and proudly say that I live with mental illness, and that's okay. I say 'with' because even though my mental illness tries its best, it doesn't control me, it doesn't define me, and I refuse to be stigmatized by it."

Wheaton said it took him more than 30 years to admit to himself he has chronic depression, and felt he suffered because he could not come to terms with it.

He began suffering panic attacks when he was seven or eight years old. His anxiety started expressing itself "in all sorts of delightful ways" when he was 12 or 13.

Even though Stand By Me (1986) made him a big star and Star Trek made him an even bigger star, he still struggled. He says he wished he knew at that time he suffered from mental illness.

"I wish I had known that I had a mental illness that could be treated! I wish I had known that that the way I felt wasn't normal and it wasn't necessary," Wheaton said. "I wish I had known that I didn't deserve to feel bad, all the time."

Wheaton, who began talking about his mental illness in 2012, said he felt at his lowest point in his 20s. Meeting his wife Anne helped him a great deal.

"I'm not religious, but I can still say Thank God for Anne Wheaton. Thank God for her love and support," Wheaton said. "Thank God that my wife saw that I was hurting, and thank God she didn't believe the lie that Depression is weakness, or something to be ashamed of. Thank God for Anne, because if she hadn't had the strength to encourage me to seek professional help, I don't know how much longer I would have been able to even exist, to say nothing of truly living.

Towards the end of his speech, Wheaton offered words of advice to others suffering from depression. He suggested first admitting "you're feeling terrible.... and then to a little thing, just one little thing, that you probably don't feel like doing." His suggestions included taking a shower, eating a healthy meal, taking a walk, do anything with a dog, do yoga stretches or listening to guided meditation.

"Finally, please trust me and know that this s–, awful, overwhelming, terrible way you feel IS NOT FOREVER. It will get better. It always gets better," the Big Bang Theory actor said. "You are not alone in this fight, and you are OK."

He continued, "No person anywhere, especially here in the richest country in the world, should live in the shadows or suffer alone, because they can't afford treatment. We have all the money in the world for weapons and corporate tax cuts, so I know that we can afford to prioritize not just health care in general, but mental health care, specifically."

If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).