Ariana Madix has long alluded to her struggles with mental health but only recently has she opened up about them onscreen.
In the latest episode of Vanderpump Rules, Ariana and Lisa Vanderpump candidly discussed their respective struggles, particularly focusing on Ariana’s ongoing battle with depression.
Ariana revealed that she had been suffering from “an underlying feeling of despair,” admitting that even though she had “always thought that [suicide] was so far out of the realm of anything that I would ever do,” she had been having increasingly dark thoughts.
She recalled a particularly disturbing instance just a few weeks prior when she was “driving my car on the freeway and thinking, what if I just drove it off the edge? What if I just did that?”
“For a long time, I was kind of under this impression that my depression was situational, that I was in this sh*tty apartment and that that was what was causing it. And now I thought, you know, I’m moving to this beautiful house, the home of my dreams, and that’s gonna make everything go away. But it hasn’t.”
Ariana is speaking to something that is universal to so many: what happens when you achieve your dream and it isn’t everything you thought it would be?
Based on the way our society is structured, we’re trained to believe that hitting milestones is equivalent to success, which is in turn, equivalent to happiness. People who have hit certain designated landmarks on the life checklist (career: check, marriage: check, house: check) are considered as having “made it,” and are deemed worthy of our aspiration.
And Ariana, for all intents and purposes, has “made it.” She is in a stable, loving relationship. She bought a house (and in the ruthlessly expensive Los Angeles market, no less). She released a cocktail book. And, of course, she stars on a hit television show. She has chased down dream after dream, crossed off milestone after milestone from her checklist, always believing that happiness was just around the corner. But she’s coming to realize that it’s still nowhere to be found.
In a show that is ostensibly about getting drunk and stirring up drama, Ariana had no real obligation to be so open about her mental health struggles. She could have easily chosen to come to terms with her anxiety and depression offscreen, allowing us to continue to believe that she’s doing life better that each of us, that she’s happier and more successful and more Instagrammable than we’ll ever be.
So that’s why it’s perhaps even more important that she and Lisa had such a frank discussion around their mental health (even a heavily produced one). It’s a great reminder that mental health does not discriminate. Even the most aspirational characters can be fighting an internal battle and it can come in many forms. Lisa describes her own bout with depression as “more circumstantial,” a result of the overwhelming grief she faced after unexpectedly losing her brother. Ariana’s depression, she realizes, may just always be a small part of her.
After the episode aired, Ariana took to Instagram Stories and wrote,
“I want all of you to know that I see you and I love you. The world is better with you guys in it. I’m happy to be able to connect with you, learn about you, and go through this life as a team. We may have never even met, but you feel like my friends and I’m glad you’re here.”
Vanderpump Rules airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.
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Michelle Vincent is a project manager and freelance writer. She enjoys traveling, is worried she won’t love her future children as much as she loves her dogs, and is actively recruiting podcast recommendations.