Chiara De Blasio Honored For Opening Up About Depression, Addiction
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City’s first daughter says she was miserable as a child and is putting her life back together after battling substance abuse.
In an article she wrote that was published on xoJane.com on Tuesday, Chiara de Blasio, the college-aged daughter of Mayor Bill de Blasio, didn’t blame her family for her depression and drug addiction.
“I had an amazing, unconditionally loving, and unbroken family,” she said. “I went to good schools. I lived in a beautiful neighborhood. So why, then, did I always feel empty? I was surrounded by love, but I always felt less-than, out-of-place, restless, irritable, and discontent. Perhaps you’re reading this and thinking that I was simply ungrateful. Yes, I was. But a lack of gratitude wasn’t my only problem. I was the problem. I was not born a happy person.”
The 19-year-old Santa Clara University was also honored Tuesday in Washington by Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, for speaking publicly about her struggles and recovery.
In the article, titled “I’m Chiara de Blasio and I’m a Young Woman in Recovery,” the mayor’s daughter wrote that she wakes up every morning “a nervous and depressed wreck” and that she was miserable for her entire adolescence.
“As the only person who can diagnose myself, I believe that I was born with the disease of addiction,” she wrote.
Chiara wrote that she is trying to find healthy ways to make herself feel happy, including exercising, crying and writing poetry.
“There are challenges; there always will be,” she wrote. “But every day, I focus intently on progress. It’s progress — not perfection — that’s important. Getting better is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I know that fighting my depression, anxiety and addiction will be a lifelong battle. But today, it is one that I’m willing to fight.”
It’s not the first time Chiara has opened up about her problems with depression and substance abuse. On Christmas Eve, Bill de Blasio’s transition team released a video of the teen discussing her struggles.
“Removing substances from my life opened so many doors for me,” she said in the video. “I wanted to speak out because so many people are suffering from this disease, dying from this disease every day and we really can’t do anything as a society to help those people until we start talking about it.”
At Tuesday’s awards ceremony, Bill de Blasio declared he could not be prouder of Chiara, WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported.
“My own father was an alcoholic,” the mayor said. “He could not, unfortunately, tragically, find his way to this kind of help, this kind of recovery. But his granddaughter could, and she did. And there’s something powerful in that.”
Chiara thanked her parents, her brother, Dante, and mental health professionals.
“One year ago, I was lost, confused and overpowered by depression, anxiety, addiction and fear,” she said during her speech. “One year ago, life didn’t seem worthwhile. One year later, here I am, and that is nothing other than a miracle.”
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