Wil Wheaton has been incredibly brave in sharing his struggles with anxiety and depression. The Star Trek, and now Big Bang Theory star has admitted that his onscreen Wil is a bit different than the Wil he knows off camera.
Playing Yourself Is Hard
Playing yourself on TV in a fictional world is hard. Jim Parsons gets to create an entirely new character, backstory, and persona for Sheldon Cooper. Wil Wheaton isn’t given the same freedoms. He needs to play the Wil Wheaton others see. He can’t truly be himself, but also can’t be a character.
For a good while now Wil has been open and honest about his struggles with mental health. He says his issues stem even as far back as working on Star Trek. He told audiences, “One of the things I really struggled with as a person, and I think it’s a shame they didn’t explore this with Wesley Crusher, was that he was too weird and awkward to be around kids his own age, and I could really relate to that. But he was not mature enough to hang out with the adults. Right? They could be peers at work but they couldn’t hang out when they were done, that’s how I felt as an actor. Getting to be with people my own age just felt good.”
Luckily, Wil got to work with his peers later in life on Big Bang Theory. However, he still isn’t totally himself. He explained that his onscreen persona is a bit more outspoken and assertive. He said, “He’s way more confident than I am … it took me playing that role multiple times to really let go of myself.”
Advocating For Help
Wil Wheaton tries to spread awareness and understanding as much as possible. He says that he hesitated to seek help throughout his youth, but now encourages others to have the courage to take care of their mental health. He said, “For the longest time, I was raised in an environment where we didn’t talk about mental health. Because of that, I suffered for 10 or 15 years longer than I needed to. It was because the love of my wife that made go and talk to a doctor about it.”
We love Wil Wheaton and we hope to see him on Big Bang Theory again soon.