Comedian Sarah Silverman says she has suffered from depression since age 13 but that treatment and awareness of the physical symptoms has allowed her to live a normal life.
Writing in Glamour magazine on Tuesday, Silverman, 44, said that with the onset of the illness, "I couldn't deal with being with my friends, I didn't go to school for months, and I started having panic attacks. People use 'panic attack' very casually out here in Los Angeles, but I don't think most of them really know what it is. Every breath is labored. You are dying. You are going to die. It's terrifying. And then when the attack is over, the depression is still there."
Silverman was prescribed heavy doses of Xanax through her high school years, but after therapy and a new psychiatrist who weaned her off the medication, she "was myself again" for several years through college, the start of her standup career and becoming a "Saturday Night Live" writer-performer.
But a panic attack blindsided her, she said, and the anti-anxiety medication Klonopin "saved my life." While she no longer takes it regularly, "to this day I have a bottle of seven pills in my backpack that I never touch because just knowing that they're there is all I need."