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‘Bridgerton’ Star Ruby Barker Opens Up About Mental Health Hospitalization


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Bridgerton actress Ruby Barker is speaking about her own mental health, including a recent hospitalization, to help encourage others to more carefully consider their mental health and get support when they need it.

In a more than five-minute video shared on her Instagram account Thursday, the actress shared that she was about to be discharged from a mental health facility and was planning to take some time away.

“I’ve been really unwell for a really long time, and I just wanted to be honest with everybody. I have been struggling,” she said. “So I’m in the hospital at the minute and I’m gonna get discharged soon and hopefully get to continue with my life. I’m gonna take a little bit of a break for myself and I want to encourage others if you are struggling, please do yourself a favor. Take a break. Stop being so hard on yourself.”

During the video, the actress apologized to fans for stepping back from the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre and Talawa Theatre Company’s world premiere of Running With Lions due to a combination of her mental health and a COVID-19 diagnosis. She’s also been juggling, she says, with feeling “rage-filled, frustrated, angry” for a while — a convergence of things that were ultimately why she “just couldn’t do it.”

“All this intergenerational trauma bundled up inside me and I was carrying the weight of a world on my back,” she explained. “Now I’m at a point where I have a diagnosis and I will talk to you about that at another time. But I have a diagnosis and I am relinquishing myself. I’m forgiving myself and drawing a line in the sand. I can’t carry on the way that I’ve been carrying on. I need to change. So that’s what I’m trying to do.”

“I was trying to hold together my mental health like this, just adding so much pressure. Like my brain was just gonna go boom, and that’s basically what happened,” she added. “Sometimes you just got to take a break. You’ve got to say, ‘I can’t do this right now. I need support.’”

While opening up about both her condition and treatment, Barker also pointed out how in mental health discourse, “catchphrases” and “buzzwords” can be used to encourage people to consider their own care, but that people who are facing mental health issues in the moment ultimately need more than that to address what’s happening to them.

“People used to always tell me not to be so hard on myself, and I never really, really knew what that meant. What does that really mean to stop being hard on yourself or to love yourself?” she asked. “We really need to change the dialogue and think about our linguistics when we’re actually talking about mental health because people want to have these conversations, but we don’t really know how to even have a conversation.”

The Bridgerton star, who plays Marina Thompson in the first and second seasons of the Netflix and Shondaland series, also took a moment to thank the various people who helped her “have a job, work, have a purpose, have a reason, you know, make me feel like I matter.” That included Sexton, the Australia-born singer, her best friends, mentors and Shonda Rhimes.

“I need to thank Netflix and Shonda Rhimes and Shondaland for giving me an opportunity, for saving me,” she said.

The actress ended her video on a positive note, reiterating that she’s “better” and “cannot wait to fulfill all of my engagements and to have a good career and a good life.”

“I do not want my diagnosis to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. I want to survive and I will survive and I’m going to and so are you,” she said. “That’s the beauty of it. So are you.”


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