You may be familiar with Olivia Culpo, the beauty queen. All hail Miss USA and Miss Universe! Yes, she was crowned both during her pageant days. You may be familiar with Olivia Culpo the actress. Her credits include The Other Woman, I Feel Pretty, and Reprisal – to name a few. You may be familiar with Olivia Culpo, the model. She’s modeled for Sports Illustrated, L’Oreal, and Kipling. However, many of us who follow celebrities tend to forget that they are also people, just like us. Albeit celebrities come from a place of privilege and entitlement, that does not make them immune to mental health struggles. So, here’s Olivia Culpo’s story.

Recently, Olivia opened up about her depression and the serious consequences it had on her health. If Olivia did not speak her truth, no one would have known. She documented a different side of herself and her life on social media platforms, specifically Instagram. The pictures she posted were one of happiness and perfection. Fans envied her physical appearance, her celebrity status, and all the benefits that come with it. Some of the comments under her posts included the words “perfect,” “goddess,” “amazing,” and “beautiful.” Additionally, there are many young women who wish to look like her. But, in reality, none of these pictures on Olivia’s Instagram were real… in a sense. Olivia was not happy, although she portrayed herself to be. Nor is she perfect. And, she spoke about this in a social media post.

Olivia confessed to having depression. Because of this mental illness, she was drinking too much alcohol, smoking, and she wasn’t eating or sleeping. I remember feeling an ache in my chest reading Olivia’s post. This… this was something I could relate to on a personal level. I suffer from depression and have since I was very young. In fact, depression runs in my family and all the females in my family suffer from it. Some are on medication. Some go to therapy. Some have lives where they can cope better than others. My depression has always been an ongoing, painful struggle for me. I cannot afford anti-depressants, I cannot afford a therapist, and I do not have a life that makes depression easy to cope with. Let’s be honest, I am a struggling, poor, freelance writer. But, I relate to Olivia.

My depression comes in waves and when it’s bad… it’s bad. In the past, I would end up drinking too much alcohol to cope with the symptoms of my depression. I needed something to numb myself and the pain I felt. I needed something to stop the negative thoughts that played on a loop in my mind. I needed something to help me sleep, if only for a little while. So, I turned to alcohol. Similar to Olivia, I also wasn’t eating. I was never hungry. Depression prevented me from feeling it. However, I was good at hiding all of this. To family, friends, and even followers on my social media, everything was great. I posted pictures smiling (some may say too many selfies). I appeared happy and healthy. But, on the inside, I was screaming. My eyes were sore from crying constantly.

After reading Olivia’s post, I feel seen and I feel less alone. After seeing how healthy Olivia is now (she’s truly thriving), I know that I can get there too. She has helped me so much.

Olivia helped with how I view social media, as well. She’s made me realize that many people portray “perfection” on their social media platforms, but this does not exist. No one is perfect. No one can live up to the unrealistic expectations society has requested from us… from women. But, no one is immune to struggles. Now, I know when I go on social media some things I view are not the truth. In one way or another, we are all battling our own demons. However, I believe that when we share more of our truth just like Olivia did, we can help each other through our struggles.