How ‘Supernatural’ Fans Helped Jensen Ackles Through Mental Health Struggles

The cast of Supernatural has kept very close with its fans. When they’ve been watching for 15 years and attending conventions, that’s a bit deeper than the average TV show. Jensen Ackles, who plays the show’s Dean Winchester, always appreciated the fans and reciprocated their support. This year, the fans helped Ackles cope. 

Jensen Ackles in Supernatural
Jensen Ackles | Michael Courtney/The CW

Ackles was a guest on Michael Rosenbaum’s Inside of You podcast on Sept. 8. While speaking about coping with anxiety during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Ackles revealed the Supernatural fans gave him strength. Supernatural returns Thursday, Oct. 8 at 8 p.m. on The CW.

Jensen Ackles reflected on what ‘Supernatural’ fans have shared with him

The intimacy Supernatural shares with its fans has led many to share very personal stories about their struggles. 

“There’s a lot in the fandom that are beautifully vocal about their struggles with mental instability or with Depression or whatever it might be,” Ackles said. “I’ve met a lot of these people that fight it on a daily basis. I don’t envy that but I am encouraged and inspired by how they continually do that on a daily basis.”

When anxiety hit Jensen Ackles, he reflected on ‘Supernatural’ fans

Supernatural shut down production in March due to the pandemic. They are back in Vancouver filming the final two episodes, but five and a half months in quarantine was a new challenge for Ackles.

Supernatural: Jensen Ackles
Jensen Ackles | Colin Bentley/The CW

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“If I’ve felt that I’ve tasted just a fraction of that throughout the quarantine, I would say that what I’ve learned from that is you’ve got to find a way to stay motivated,” Ackles said. “Find purpose in every day and every moment. That gets you to the next moment.”

These daily tasks substituted for ‘Supernatural’

Normally, Ackles said, he relies on his Supernatural schedule to keep him busy. Without a show to make, he found personal activities to fill his days.

“You look around you and you take inventory,” Ackles said. “You go you know what? I’m going to call my grandmother, I’m going to take my kids outside and shoot some basketball wtih them, I’m going to call a friend. I’m going to find some reason to get motivated to keep moving to the next hour.”

Jensen Ackles driving
Jensen Ackles |Colin Bentley/The CW

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It was a different sort of schedule than Supernatural, but making a schedule helped keep Ackles going.

I haven’t set my alarm clock in four months. My alarm clock used to be set every day to get up because I had people waiting for me on set. I had to get up, I had to learn my lines, I had to read the next script, I had to figure out what I was doing, I had to go to stunt rehearsal, I had to go get a prosthetic fitting. You’re doing things, you’re moving, you’re working, you have purpose. When you strip all that away, all of a sudden it’s what am I supposed to be doing right now?

Jensen Ackles, Inside of You podcast, 9/8/2020