"There was a point where I couldn’t…push through every single time anymore."

By Faith Brar
Gina Rodriguez
Credit: Christopher Polk/Staff/Getty Images

Former Shape cover girl, Gina Rodriguez is opening up about her personal experience with anxiety in a way she never has before. Recently, the 'Jane the Virgin' actress sat down with NBC's Kate Snow for The Kennedy Forum's 2019 Annual Meeting Spotlight Series. The nonprofit organization fights for health equity by aiming to advance the treatment of mental health and addiction.

Before Rodriguez took the stage, Snow's husband, Chris Bo spoke about his father's suicide and the impact it had on him and his family. His words prompted Rodriguez to bring up her own struggles with suicidal thoughts in the past.

"I think I started dealing with depression around 16," she said. "I started dealing with the idea of — that same concept that I think your husband was talking about—(that) everything is going to be better when I'm gone. Life will be easier; all the woes will be away, all the problems...Then I wouldn't have to fail or succeed, right? Then all this surmounting pressure would go away. It would just go away."

Snow then asked Rodriguez if she truly felt that the world would be better off without her.

"Oh, yeah," Rodriguez said, nearly in tears. "I felt that before, not too long ago, and it's a very real feeling. And I like that you had spoken with your husband about not being afraid to ask somebody if they feel that way because it's very...it's just new territory." (Related: Gina Rodriguez Wants You to Know About "Period Poverty"—and What Can Be Done to Help)

She added that similar to many other families, having an open discussion about mental health wasn't the norm in her household, but she hopes that stigma can be lifted for future generations. "It was the reason why I took this talk," she said of the interview opportunity, adding that she couldn't talk to young women without being completely transparent and honest with them.

"I can't just tell them to go out and make their dreams come true and then to ignore everything else," she said.

Rodriguez even admitted that she needed to put her own dreams on hold to focus on her mental health. She explains that she had to pause on filming the final season of Jane the Virgin after experiencing a series of panic attacks, and she wants to emphasize that there's nothing wrong with taking some time for yourself. (Related: Sophie Turner Gets Candid About Her Battle with Depression and Suicidal Thoughts)

"There was a point where I couldn't push through every single time anymore," she said. "It came to a point—this was the first season that...I had to stop production. I just had a really tumultuous season."

Learning to say no was what she needed to do at the time, she says, but she also admits that it wasn't easy finding the strength to make that tough call. "I was unafraid, for the first time, to be like, 'I can't,'" she said. (Here's What Gina Rodriguez Does to Stay Balanced)

By sharing such an unfiltered look into her personal struggles, Rodriguez' interview serves as a reminder that you never know what someone else is going through. But more importantly, she's illustrating that there's no shame in making your own mental health a bigger priority.

If you're struggling with thoughts of suicide or have felt deeply distressed for a period of time, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to speak with someone who will provide free and confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.