Kristen Bell Tried Hallucinogenic Mushrooms to Help Manage Her Depression

The Good Place star said that husband Dax Shepard "babysat" her through the experience

Kristen Bell
Kristen Bell. Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

After about 22 years of living with depression and anxiety, Kristen Bell has tried plenty of treatments to manage her mental health, from medications to talking to a therapist to meditation.

But after reading author Michael Pollan's book How to Change Your Mind last year, she was inspired to try out a new approach — psychedelic drugs.

"He really goes into detail about this underground academic community that has continued to study the effects of LSD and psilocybin on what they call 'healthy normal,' " Bell, 40, explained in a recent appearance on actor Sean Hayes and Dr. Priyanka Wali's new podcast, Hypochondriactor. "There are aspects to those two particular drugs that the places you can go in your brain are much deeper and more healing than anything else."

Bell decided that she was "really interested in doing mushrooms."

"I really wanted to try some psilocybin [the technical term for hallucinogenic mushrooms] and feel what kind of doors open, have a trip that was my own," she explained.

The Food and Drug Administration is currently conducting trials to study the effects of psilocybin on people with severe depression, and has said that results so far show that it is a "breakthrough therapy."

The mom of two knew that she needed to try them in a safe and comfortable setting, and husband Dax Shepard, a recovering drug addict, wanted to help.

"I am very lucky to be married to an ex-drug addict," she joked. "Not only did he know where to get the mushrooms … he got that really nice, quality, organic, set and setting, beautiful mushroom. And then he … babysat me."

Shepard is now sober again after suffering from a relapse in his addiction to painkillers in September.

Bell said that she decided to do it for her birthday last year, with Shepard by her side.

"I said, 'I really would like to experience this. And I don't want to, I'm not going to party with it, but I want to know what this feels like. And I want to talk while I'm doing it, and I want you to talk to me.' And he took me on a walk around the neighborhood and it was so lovely."

The Veronica Mars star said that the mushrooms made her "so enamored with my own body."

"I had gone to the bathroom, I went to pee and I came downstairs wide-eyed and I said, 'Dax, I had to pee. I felt the sensation of having to pee and all of a sudden this beautiful lady' — and I was pointing to my legs — 'picked me up. She walked me down the hallway. She sat me down on the toilet. She rolled a little roll of toilet paper for me and just put it on my lap till I was done peeing. Then she wiped me. Then she flushed the toilet and now I'm back out here.' "

She continued: "But in my head, I had separated this body that had done so much good in my life, that has taken me through happiness and pain and workouts and laziness that I was just like, couldn't stop touching my legs going, 'You're so strong. You're so elegant.' "

Bell said that she's in a better place with her depression and anxiety now, but that it "comes in waves."

"But my waves are never suicidal or anything," she explained. "So I'm very lucky becase that does happen to people."

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Bell believes her anxiety is triggered by too much stimuli, so she's learned to take time for herself when she's starting to struggle.

"When I get too much stimulus I get really irritable and it just spikes. But you just have to know when to take breaks so that you're not overwhelmed, because when I'm overwhelmed my anxiety shoots up like skyrockets," she said. "But I am still on a medication and I don't know if I'll ever be off it. I would love to think I would one day. But right now it's working."

Bell encouraged people who think they may be depressed to seek treatment, even if they're afraid to.

"During your treatment, you'll learn a lot about what this disease is, and you may or may not decide a medication is right for you," she said. "But there's a lot of different routes to feeling better, I guess is what I'd say, a lot."

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