Why Patricia Heaton Says She Has To ‘Watch Out for Anxiety and Depression’

Patricia Heaton has plenty of experience as a mother. The mom of four grown sons, the actor also played the maternal role on two successful sitcoms – Everybody Loves Raymond and The Middle.

Yet at the young age of 12, Heaton lost her own mother which resulted in some obstacles but also several important life lessons.

Actress Patricia Heaton attends the 11th Annual Comedy Celebration presented by the International Myeloma Foundation
Patricia Heaton | Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)

‘The Middle’ star gets personal

In a 2014 interview, Heaton talked about her mother’s sudden death from an aneurysm and how her passing affected the actor in her teenage years.

“I have to watch out for anxiety and depression,” she told VivaMagOnline in 2014. “I struggled with that when I was around 16 and then again in my 20s. Some was genetic, and some was situational—a delayed response to my mother’s death.”

Calling her mother’s passing “the most defining moment of my childhood,” Heaton recalled the lack of resources in helping her come to terms with so great a loss.

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“There was no therapy, there was no grief counseling,” Heaton explained to People in 2018. “It was like, ‘Okay, we just came from the funeral. Has everybody finished their homework?’… The foundation of your life has been pulled out from under you, in a very primal way.”

Patricia Heaton recommends making lists to stay grounded

The Emmy winner has found practical ways to keep her anxiety and depression at bay when she starts feeling overwhelmed.

“I know how very real those feelings of depression and anxiety are,” Heaton said, sharing how she practices some self-help. “I sit down and say to myself, ‘Okay, what’s going on in my life that’s causing this?’ Usually it’s due to me biting off more than I can chew.”

Writing items down to stay organized and on track has proven to be a big help for Heaton.

“That’s why I make handwritten lists to see what I have to do in one day.,” she said. “Usually it only takes 30 minutes to check off most items … I think it’s really important for everyone to just check in and look at things in your daily life.”

Faith is paramount in Patricia Heaton’s life

Despite the tragic loss of her mother, Heaton is able to see how the life-changing event strengthened her over the years.

“In a way I feel like my mother’s death was a severe mercy because it set me up to become independent,” she told People. “To know that life is fleeting, and you need to pursue the thing you wanna pursue because you never know how long you have. It also makes you value the time and events that do come into your life. And it also makes everything else not so terrible, because it’s almost the worst thing that could happen to you.”

RELATED: ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’: Why Patricia Heaton Caused the Studio Audience for the Finale to Be Sent Home

Raised Catholic, Heaton finds great comfort in her Christian faith which has been her strong pillar throughout her life.

“The beauty of being a Catholic is, this is not the last time I will ever see my mother,” she shared. “We will be together again. There’s just this period where she’s not here, and so it’s not the most desperate feeling.”

How to get help: In the U.S. and Canada, text the Crisis Text Line at 741741 to reach a crisis counselor for support.