'Jane the Virgin' Star Gina Rodriguez Opens Up About Her Mental Health and Depression

She compared her mental illness to a "silent little dragon in your head".

Jane The Virgin star Gina Rodriguez is getting real about her mental health struggles. Two years ago, the actress took to Instagram to open up about her anxiety—and once again, she's bringing awareness to mental illnesses. Last week, the 34-year-old spoke at the Kennedy Forum, an annual mental health panel, about her uphill battle with anxiety and depression.

"There was a point where I couldn't…push through every single time anymore, and I'm one of those human beings…where I'm like, I'll handle it later. I'll deal with it later. I'll figure it out later. I just have to do this now. All the while you're dealing with your silent little dragon in your head," she told NBC's Kate Snow during the forum. "And it came to a point, and this season was the first season where I had to stop production. I had a really tumultuous season, and I was unafraid for the first time to be like, 'I can't.'"

Rodriguez also spoke about her battle with Hashimoto's thyroiditis, an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland and often includes depression as a symptom. During the forum, she revealed how her depression has impacted her throughout most of her adult life.

"I think I started dealing with depression around 16," she said at the forum. "I started dealing with the idea of—that same concept that I think your husband was talking about—(that) everything is going to be better when I'm gone. Life will be easier; all the woes will be away, all the problems ... Then I wouldn't have to fail or succeed, right? Then all this surmounting pressure would go away. It would just go away."

Rodriguez explained that she wanted to be a part of the forum because she wants to set a positive influence on young girls who might be struggling with their own mental health issues.

"It has to be a part of the conversations I have with these young girls," she explained. "I can't just tell them to go out and make their dreams come true and then to ignore everything else."

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