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Christina Applegate says MS battle triggers her depression: ‘Trapped in this darkness’

Christina Applegate, left, and host Anthony Anderson speak onstage during the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards at the Peacock Theater on Jan. 15, 2024, in Los Angeles.    (Kevin Winter/Getty Images North America/TNS)
By Alexandra Del Rosario Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — Christina Applegate has kept her fans in the loop regarding her battle with multiple sclerosis since she was diagnosed three years ago.

Her latest update? “I don’t enjoy living. I don’t enjoy it. I don’t enjoy things anymore.”

The “Dead to Me” and “Married… With Children” TV star, 52, said her depression recently returned after more than 20 years as she got brutally honest about the mental toll of her battle with MS. “I give up so easily,” she told her “MeSsy” podcast co-host, “Sopranos” actor Jamie-Lynn Sigler, in an episode published Tuesday.

Applegate announced in 2021 she had been diagnosed with MS, an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system and can result in progressive physical and cognitive decline. Since unveiling her diagnosis, the Emmy winning actor has been open about her condition — from the 30 lesions on her brain to the difficulty and discomfort of attending all-day Hollywood events like the 2023 Emmy Awards, where her colleagues celebrated her with a standing ovation.

Applegate said on the podcast that she becomes discouraged and hopeless easily and that caring for her teenage daughter is one of the few things motivating her amid her illness.

“I’m in a depression right now which I don’t think I’ve felt that for years, like a real, f—-it-all depression,” Applegate said. “Like real depression, where it’s kind of scaring me too a little bit because it feels really fatalistic, it feels really ‘end of.’”

She added: “I’m trapped in this darkness right now that I haven’t felt in … probably 20-something years.”

Applegate said she did a “big thing” to address her depression: She got in touch with a therapist. She said she held off on initially seeking a mental health expert because she was “afraid to start crying.” Instead, her “way of doing things is to make fun of myself.”

The “raw, honest and triggering” conversation about depression was a way for Applegate and Sigler — who also lives with MS — to air their feelings, Applegate said in a Tuesday tweet.

“When we hold in feelings of despair we give those feelings incredible power,” she said.

She continued: “By just sharing we free ourselves. Never feel alone. There is always an ear somewhere. Love you.”

MS is an incurable disease, and Applegate revealed earlier this year that she might have had symptoms for as long as seven years prior to her official diagnosis. “I didn’t pay attention,” she told “Good Morning America” in April. Despite the support from fans and colleagues, the actor told GMA host Robin Roberts she still struggles with her disease.

“I wake up and I’m reminded of it every day. … But I might get to a place where I function a little bit better,” she said in March. “Right now I’m isolating, and that’s kind of how I’m dealing with it is by not going anywhere because I don’t want to do it. It’s hard.”