Sophia Bush isn’t afraid to stand up for other women when it comes to harassment and birth control, and she’s just as willing to stand up for herself in regards to her career. That’s apparently what led to her exit from Chicago P.D., which she discussed at length for the first time in an interview for Refinery 29′s UnStyled podcast.

At the end of the fourth season back in May, Bush’s character, Detective Erin Lindsay, accepted a job with the FBI. The move came as a complete surprise to fans, and when one viewer speculated about whether her departure was voluntary, she responded, “Took me a long time and a lot of hard work to get out of that show. Please don’t demean my capabilities by degrading my position. I left because I wanted to. End of story.”

On Unstyled, she hinted that there is more to the story — but it’s hers to share if and when she decides she wants to. “I don’t have to give everyone the specific breakdown of exactly why I left until I’m ready to do that,” she told host Christene Barberich. “But the overarching theme for me was that I landed my dream job. I landed this job that, since I was 20 years old and trying to become an actor, I said I wanted. And aspects of it, don’t get me wrong, were wonderful. But… I knew by the end of the second season I couldn’t do that job anymore. But I’m really stubborn and I’m really good at taking care of other people. And how do you quit your dream job?”

Sometimes a friend writes about you in a way that just absolutely floors you... My heart practically burst when I read this today, Christene. I’m so honored to know you, and thrilled to have been on #UnStyled! Podcast pals, enjoy! As she said, there is NO holding back. #Repost @christenebarberich ・・・ Well, today is IT: The Season 2 finale episode of the #unstyledpodcast (how did we get here SO FAST??), and I couldn’t be more proud to have the actor/activist/powerhouse @sophiabush on today to talk about such an incredibly pivotal time in her life (and the world). I’m sure you’ve loved and followed Sophia for as long as I have, but it’s been even more moving and motivating to watch her raising the stakes to deepen her impact across a variety of critical agendas, from gun reform to reproductive health to the environment, wielding her massive platform to drive real change. She also happens to be hilarious and one of the most curious and caring women I’ve ever met. We really get into it on this episode (NO holding back!) and much of our discussion shines a bright light on the conversations that shaped this year and will undoubtedly frame our focus in 2018...so tune in to hear Sophia at her finest, stepping in to her power in a BIG WAY...i am grateful to her and all my extraordinary guests this season, who challenged me to pay attention, listen, and learn more about the remarkable experiences of women everywhere, living with courage and strength. And to all our #UnStyled listeners, I ❤️ and thank you for rooting us on and being there in the studio with us, holding our feet to the fire to make a podcast Worth your time, your comments, your encouragement. Stay tuned for updates on surprise episodes in 2018 leading to Season 3, too ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. #unstyled

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She went on to explain, “A year later, when I sat my bosses down — it was in the summer between seasons 3 and 4 — and I said, ‘Here’s where we are. Here’s everything you’re aware of. Here’s how I’m coming to you today. If something really drastic doesn’t change, I’m leaving at the end of the year’ — because I understand how the business works and how women are treated — I said, ‘I’m giving you not two weeks notice and I’m not coming in here throwing sh*t and breaking lamps and saying I’m never coming back. I’m giving you 23 episodes notice. I’m giving you that much time. So, there will be no conversation in which I was hysterical, emotional, in which I was being a quote irrational female or whatever you want to put on it. I’m literally sitting in front of you, like, cool as a cucumber. … But know this now: If we’re not having a very different conversation by Christmas, then you know with 100 percent certainty in December that come the end of April, I’m leaving.'”

Intelligence striking their best power poses. 💪 #ChicagoPD

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While she didn’t go into any problems that may have been stirring behind the scenes, she said that despite the fact that the cast had become like family, she had to acknowledge that going to work had become a “miserable” experience. “What you start to realize is that, like, if your house was burning down, you wouldn’t hang out inside because your brother was in there and you loved him,” she explained. “You’d be like, ‘Yo, I love you. Let’s get out of this house!’”

She continued, “For me, not to put it on anybody else, but for me, it felt like I was trapped in a burning building. I was just so unhappy and it was my dream job and I was miserable and I had to go.”

The star also said that she’ll be ready to talk more about her exit when the time is right — a time she says “is coming.” She told Barberich, “The analogy I like to use for big life things is almost like, something’s approaching, but it’s still a little blurry in the foreground, but you can see it. … That’s kind of the stage where I feel like I am with the whole thing. And again, it’s hard because people who I care about are there. But again, as I was coming home and realizing that I was getting … sort of accused of being heartless to screamed at for not having made my own statement, I thought, ‘I don’t owe it to any of you guys.'”

That’s true, and Bush, of course, has plenty to keep her busy off-screen. She’s very vocal and passionate about activism and advocacy, and she devotes a lot of time and energy to different causes, from gun reform to reproductive health.

What do you think about what Sophia Bush has to say about leaving Chicago P.D.? Let us know @BritandCo!

(photo via Jeff Schear/Getty Images for EBTH.com)