Unlike his Mad Men character, Don Draper, Jon Hamm is confronting his issues head on. Last week, the actor appeared on In Depth With Graham Bensinger, where he opened up about the importance of therapy, and how he finally came to accept his mental health struggles. After losing his mother at a young age, and his grandmother and father passing away while he was in college, Jon felt alone — he had family friends and his sister, but not “mom and dad.”
“My sister was like, ‘You need to see somebody. You’re sleeping until 4 o’clock in the afternoon, something’s not right. You’re not well,'” Jon recalled in the video. “For me, it was like, ‘I’ll be fine. Don’t worry about it. I’m fine.’ You’re not fine. This is not fine.”
He reflected on his childhood and how as a “polite Midwesterner,” he was taught to keep things to himself, but that method just wasn’t working. Jon sought out therapy, which he described as “profoundly helpful.”
“It gives you another perspective on something that you can’t quite figure out,” he said. “And she [his therapist] was able to really reorient my kind of way of thinking and she put me on a medication that changed my brain chemistry enough to where, ‘OK, I’m feeling a little better. I can get up and go to work, I can get up and go to school. I can do my work on time. I can self-motivate again.’ Sometimes that’s what you need.”
The unfortunate thing about mental health, and what Jon described with that closed-off attitude he had growing up, is that it’s so hush-hush. We go to the dentist when we have a toothache, and have X-rays to look at broken bones, but why is there such a negative view surrounding getting help for the one thing that matters most: the brain. “It’s got the most interesting stigma,” he explained. “People think if you break your ankle, you’re not expected to just walk it off. But if your brain chemistry is somehow a little tweaked, you’re somehow expected to just deal with it.”
Jon also credited a powerful support system that helped him through his darkest days. It’s important to speak up and ask for help if you’re struggling, because if Don Draper can do it, anyone can. Find tips on finding the right therapist here.