‘Scream Queens’ star Abigail Breslin on mental health, building confidence and being a role model to young girls through Always’ #LikeAGirl campaign
Abigail Breslin thinks we’re still in the dark about mental health.
The 22-year-old “Little Miss Sunshine” star shared her private battles with post-traumatic stress disorder in an emotional Instagram post last year, which developed after she experienced sexual assault and domestic violence. And she doesn’t want people to treat those who are also struggling with this condition as outcasts.
“People think because you have PTSD, you’re a pariah or something,” Breslin told Moneyish. “It can come across as maybe scary or frightening to other people, but when you’re in those flashbacks or states, it’s twice as hard to keep it in. I hope people keep an open mind about it.”
One in 10 women develops post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point in her life, according to the national center for PTSD. Symptoms include changes in behavior like agitation, irritability, severe anxieties and flashbacks to unwanted memories that usually stem from trauma.
“It’s not the same for everybody,” said Breslin, “(and) people who deal with it have to dealt with every day.”
Last year, Breslin shared a photo of a cut on her ankle. “While I now am no longer with my abuser, in the aftermath of what happened to me, I developed Complex PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder),” she wrote under the image. “I took this pic of my ankle a few hours ago right after one of my ‘episodes’ as I call them. I was so freaked out and disoriented, I slipped and fell on a piece of glass. Usually, they occur right after I’ve been triggered… problem is, triggers are often very hard to detect. Which is exactly why #domesticviolenceawarenessmonth is so important.”
The child star appeared in her first film, “Signs,” at age five in 2002. She went on to land roles in “Raising Helen” two years later, and “Little Miss Sunshine,” in 2006, where she was nominated for an Academy Award for her role as Olive Hoover, an adorable but unconventional beauty pageant contestant. Off-screen, Breslin says she faced self confidence issues growing up in the spotlight that have now inspired her to help young girls achieve their own career goals.
The “Scream Queens” star has also partnered with the Always #LikeAGirl campaign and Walmart to support the Girl Scouts and encourage them to stick with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) classes after an Always survey discovered that seven in 10 girls report being so afraid of failing during puberty that they avoid trying new things. The mission of the Always #LikeAGirl campaign is to encourage girls everywhere to embrace failure as fuel to build up confidence instead, an effort Breslin is very passionate about.
“I went through the same things a lot of girls face, especially during puberty when your body is changing and it’s kind of a weird time,” Breslin recalls. “I was very worried about how other people saw me.”
She stresses the importance of taking time off to recharge when you feel overwhelmed at work.
“For me I’d call my mom and say ‘I need a break,’” she said.
“It’s important to make sure you’re not over-pushing yourself and not trying to be ‘perfect,’ but just try to be the absolute best you can be yourself,” she added. “Sometimes that means you have to take a moment to breathe.”
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