Since the death of estranged husband Ric Ocasek in September 2019, Paulina Porizkova has turned to social media to speak candidly with fans about her mental health, from her history of anxiety, to having conflicted feelings about aging, to processing grief. In her most recent posts, the Czech-born supermodel has spoken of being depressed, which she’s likened to “paddling a canoe in a stormy sea.”
While Porizkova has shared that Ocasek’s health woes, and subsequent death, brought on her most recent depressive episodes, in an unreserved post on Thursday she admitted that she initially experienced depression in response to feeling dissatisfied in her marriage to the Cars rocker. The former couple met in 1984, wed in 1989 and had two sons, now in their 20s, before announcing in 2018 that they’d quietly separated the year before.
The 55-year-old former catwalk star opened up about the relationship and its impact on her mental health in an Instagram caption accompanying a selfie (tagged #NoBotox, #NoFillers and #NoFilters) that shows her looking emotionally drained.
According to the Her Alibi star, being with Ocasek, who also suffered from anxiety, initially made her own panic attacks “easier to manage.” Ultimately, however, fractures within the marriage — which she describes as a “rock I kept trying to roll uphill by myself” — caused her to experience both “unmanageable” anxiety, which she tried unsuccessfully to treat with medication, and later, depression. Porizkova admitted feeling “lonely” and unwanted by her husband, while at the same time considering herself to no longer be in demand on the career front. (Around this time, she competed on Dancing with the Stars, but was the first contestant to be eliminated in 2007, and in 2009 she revealed that she’d been fired as a judge on America’s Next Top Model amid reported clashes with Tyra Banks.)
“I had my first panic attack at the age of 10,” she told fans. “I didn’t know what it was, I thought I was dying. I told no one and I just expected to die, which of course made the anxiety worse. It was my husband who diagnosed my anxiety when we met, because he had it too. And together, we learned to live with it. With this damp, uncomfortable secret out in the daylight, it didn’t disappear, but it was easier to manage.
“But something shifted in my early 40s and when the anxiety became unmanageable, I turned to medications,” she continued. “In hindsite [sic], I now think my body was trying to tell me what I figured out a bit later: My marriage had become a rock I kept trying to roll uphill by myself. This was anxiety. Not depression.
“Depression happened to me AFTER I weaned off the meds. By then I understood why I was depressed. I was lonely. I wasn’t desired or wanted by anyone, career or private life. It was a situational depression. A depression with the cause.”
In an apparent reference to her separation from Ocasek, who went on to cut her out of his will shortly before his death, she added, “I decided to act on the cause instead of the symptoms. But events don’t always have a happy ending, however hard one works, or how long one tries. It’s not a failure, it’s a lesson.”
Porizkova, who earlier this month moved out of the New York City home she shared with Ocasek and their sons, went to share that she is determined to work through her depression.
“Now, freed from the responsibilities that were forcing me forward, I stand still, and HAVE to feel,” she wrote. “Have to acknowledge where I am and why I am here and take stock and decide where I want to go and with whom.”
She ended her message with a note thanking fans for their “compassion and care.”
“We all have individual approaches to mending things, whether it’s with Jesus or meds or self-help books or meditation, or combinations, it all comes down to whatever works for YOU. There is no particular system guaranteed for all. I’m finding my way out of the tunnel, one little step at the time,” she shared.
Porizkova previously spoke of issues in her marriage during a March appearance on CBS Sunday Morning.
“Suddenly in our marriage it seemed like only one of us wanted to be married, and that was me!” she admitted. “I just know that it's really hard to be married to somebody if you're the only one putting in all the work. And maybe it was age; maybe he just was tired. Maybe I was too — maybe I took too much energy to love. I don't know. It's possible."
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