Actress Rene Russo On Taking Medication for Her Bipolar Disorder

She discusses her role in the movie "Nightcrawler."

“I’m not saying medication is right for everyone, but it was right for me,” she said on “GMA.” “Exercise and diet are important, but if you’re clinically depressed then exercise is like taking a bucket [of water] and throwing it on a raging fire. But in conjunction it’s great.”

Russo worked on “Nightcrawler” with her husband Dan Gilroy, who wrote the screenplay and directed the movie. Russo plays Nina, a TV news veteran in the thriller about crime journalism. She initially had trouble connecting with the character.

“It was amazing and the writing was brilliant and I loved the world [the movie] was set in – but I really didn’t like Nina. She was kind of cold and mean-spirited and I really didn’t know how to sort of access her and feel good about it,” she said. “Even a week before I was saying, ‘Dan, I don’t get her,’ and I’m sure he was like, ‘Well, could you? Because we’re shooting in a week.’

Russo looked at herself and her actions to try to understand Nina.

Understanding others’ actions and helping people with mental disorders is why Russo decided to open up about her bipolar disorder.

“Medical diseases equals straightjacket is what people think. If I can share an experience to help because I know a lot of people are hurting out there,” she said. “I think unfortunately depression and anxiety are really hard to live with and what people don’t need is to feel bad about themselves because they like to go on medication.”