It has not been an easy time for Sarah Hyland.
The 28-year-old Modern Family star, who estimates she’s faced 16 surgeries so far, recently revealed she secretly underwent a second kidney transplant in September 2017 after her body began to reject the one her father gave her years earlier.
Recalling the experience in an interview with Self, the star also was candid about the depression and suicidal thoughts she experienced during that time, feeling as if she had failed her dad and in fear that she would fail her brother, who donated her a second kidney.
Speaking to Ellen DeGeneres on her daytime talk show on Friday, Hyland recalled that “really, really hard” time and how she overcame it.
“I have an amazing job, an amazing support system, but…after 26, 27 years of just always being sick and being in chronic pain every single day, you don’t know when you’re going to have the next good day. It’s really, really hard,” she told the comedian. “I would write letters in my head to loved ones of why I did it and my reasoning behind it, how it was nobody’s fault and I didn’t want to write it down on paper because I didn’t want anyone to find it because that’s how serious I was.”
“Were you really close to doing that?” DeGeneres asked.
“I was very, very, very, very close, yeah,” the star candidly responded.
Fortunately, it was speaking to someone about it that made all the difference. “I finally said it out loud to someone and that someone—I’d been saying, ‘I need to go to see a therapist. I think I need to go see a therapist again,’ and they were like, ‘No, no, why would you see one? You can just talk to me.'”
The actress continued, “When I said it out loud, they were like, ‘Oh, you need to see a therapist,’ and that’s when I was like, ‘Ok, I don’t think you’re going to help me. I think I need to really do this on my own and really do even more digging and soul-searching,’ and just saying it out loud helped immensely because I kept it to myself for months and months at a time and saying it out loud really helped.”
Previously, she avoided discussing her secret struggle. “I didn’t want anybody to know that I was that close because if they knew, they would try and persuade me,” she explained.
Ultimately, “It ended up being myself that got me out of that. I had to do it on my own. I told myself I had to do it on my own,” the star said.
Now, she’s hopeful her story encourages and inspires others who are facing similar struggles to speak out and seek help.
“Every person with their anxiety or depression or if you have suicidal thoughts—every individual is different, so I wouldn’t just rely on everything that I say. I’m just sharing my story, but I think talking to someone and saying it out loud really, really makes it sound almost ridiculous and it puts everything into perspective.”
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can get help by contacting Lifeline on 0800 543 354 (available 24/7) or by calling the Suicide Crisis Helpline on 0508 828 865.