Amanda Seyfried isn’t ashamed about having OCD, and she’s not letting the disease ruin her joy.
In Allure’s November issue, the actress opens up about living with obsessive compulsive disorder and how she copes with the stress of success.
The topic came up when Seyfried was talking about home renovations in her cozy upstate N.Y. retreat. She redid her guest house but didn’t include a stove for fear of how people would use it.
“I bought the house in 2013, and then I had it redone,” she said. “I just finished renovating one of the barns for guests. I put in a bathroom and a little kitchenette, but no stove; I want people to eat meals in the house. Also, I always worry about people and how they use stoves. Which is just a controlling thing.”
The controlling thing is related to her OCD, which she’s been treating for the last 11 years with antidepressants.
“I’m on Lexapro, and I’ll never get off of it,” she admits. “I’ve been on it since I was 19, so 11 years. I’m on the lowest dose. I don’t see the point of getting off of it. Whether it’s placebo or not, I don’t want to risk it. And what are you fighting against? Just the stigma of using a tool? A mental illness is a thing that people cast in a different category [from other illnesses], but I don’t think it is. It should be taken as seriously as anything else.”
The 30-year-old actress is fighting against the stigma behind mental illness. Just because you can’t physically see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there. The disease has lead Seyfried to have intense health-related anxiety that left her seeing doctor upon doctor because she was afraid she had a brain tumor.
“You don’t see the mental illness: It’s not a mass; it’s not a cyst. But it’s there. Why do you need to prove it? If you can treat it, you treat it,” she tells Allure. “I had pretty bad health anxiety that came from the OCD and thought I had a tumor in my brain. I had an MRI, and the neurologist referred me to a psychiatrist. As I get older, the compulsive thoughts and fears have diminished a lot. Knowing that a lot of my fears are not reality-based really helps.”
The Allentown Pennsylvania native admits that being famous and dealing with a mental illness is a whole different beast. She tried to remember that her feelings are often irrational, and that helps her cope.
“It’s funny when insecurity hits you. Sometimes I feel I know the world so well, but then…it’s so debilitating. You’re like, ‘What am I doing here? No one wants to see me. Why are you taking my picture?'” Seyfried said. “It’s stupid, it’s irrational, and it’s not all about me, but I make it about me because I’m insecure.”
For now, when things get too out of control for Seyfried, she can retreat about 100 miles north of New York City to upstate New York estate.
“I love this place so much. I love this town! There’s a little strip mall. But it’s a cute strip mall. There’s a Dunkin’ Donuts, a reflexology place. Even the grocery store is special. It’s the classic small-town grocery. There’s a lot of local things happening. And then I go to the farm stand. Everything you get is absolutely local. But I also have a garden. Kale. Romaine. I just planted blueberries last year. Tomatoes aren’t out yet,” she said.
Seyfried and fiance Thomas Sadoski are planning big things for their home including turning the property into a small farm.
“We have a whole new design for the property. We’re going to get a goat and a pig; they’re going to grow up together, so there shouldn’t be trouble,” she said.
Seyfried already has a dog and two cats. She also has a rooster and four chickens, who plenty of problems of their own. “Now here’s a f–king weird thing: They stopped laying. They didn’t lay for a good six months,” she said. “They have a really good home, and they were super fertile, and then they just stopped. Then we got four more chickens, and the other ones started laying again. I think they’re threatened.”
Seyfried admits farm life might be a far cry from the constant partying of Hollywood, but she’s happy where she is. “I hope I wasn’t too boring,” she said. “If I was, you should feel free to make anything up that you want.”