There just seems to be this stigma surrounding mental health issues. Even today, people are still afraid to open that can of worms and discuss mental illness. Yet why does it have to be a can of worms? Why does mental health and the disorders that millions of people in the United States alone suffer from need to be a hush-hush topic? Here is a list of 20 celebrities you didn’t know have mental disabilities.
The hope is that by shedding some more light on famous and successful celebs, we can open up a candid and honest conversation about mental disorders and illnesses. They do not have to be these big scary things that we can only talk about behind closed doors. It does not have to be a means of not mentioning That-Which-Will-Not-Be-Named (by the way, the author of the popular Harry Potter book series is on this list!)
From singers and actors to politicians and athletes, even some of the great world leaders we have ever known have struggled with mental disabilities. As more and more celebrities open up and speak up about this reality, we hope that the general public can shed the stereotypes and hang ups they have about mental health and get with the program.
20 Jon Hamm
19 Catherine Zeta Jones
The beautiful and successful Catherine Zeta Jones is holding in a secret mental illness: she was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder. The actress has spoken out about the mental illness, and with such a successful person speaking out, it may help others who are suffering with bipolar disorder. She checked into a treatment facility and made headlines once she was released. Six million people suffer from this disorder, so it is not very surprising for her to suffer. Catherine dealt not only with bipolar disorder, but a divorce and court battle. Stress triggers bipolar disorder, and Catherine was very open about the ordeal.
18 Royce White
Royce White is a successful athlete. He has played forward for the Philadelphia 76ers and has also helped out the Houston Rockets. Yet he too suffers from mental illness. It turns out that Royce has obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety. That has got to be pretty tough considering he is a professional athlete and is expected to perform to the best of his ability almost all the time! This athlete suffers from panic attacks and gets super nervous, especially when exposed to high levels of stress. Yet with the right treatment, he can make being well a priority, and then his basketball game can follow suit.
17 Winston Churchill
How does one try to lead a nation while struggling with mental illness? Take a look at Winston Churchill. The British prime minister who was the source of so many insightful and wise quotes, struggled with depression, debilitating depression. In fact, the political leader had referred to his mental illness as a “black dog.” While his depression would flare up after certain person tragedies, he also faced the disorder on other occasions, especially since it was coupled with bipolar tendencies. Reports of Churchill’s manic depression have been recorded. He was a fighter in relationships and spent large sums of money on impulse.
16 Princess Diana
Princess Di was such a beautiful sight to behold. It is such a shame that she was hiding so much hurt and pain on the inside. The member of British royalty suffered from bulimia and depression. It actually makes a lot of sense, considering that Diana was expected to be prim and perfect any time she was in public, maybe even in private as well. She had to have the proper look, attire, attitude, behavior, and so on. That is enough stress and anxiety to cripple anyone! Somehow, the princess managed to look on top of things and gracefully elegant whenever we saw her.
15 Mel Gibson
14 Michael Phelps
13 Britney Spears
If we look back at the past few years, it seemed as though Britney Spears and mental illness perfectly went hand-in-hand. She attacked a car with an umbrella and shaved off all of her hair. Yet it makes sense considering that she was a teen pop idol at such a young age. With all of the people surrounding her and primping her hair, of course she would want to cut it all off! Yet she was also diagnosed with personality disorder, perhaps due to trying to balance her normal life with the Britney Spears that the public knows and adores. It is a lot to take in and it can be so tough to fit yourself into that mold. We’re rooting for you Britney!
12 Brandon Marshall
11 J.K. Rowling
Did you know that famed, award-winning author J.K. Rowling thought about committing suicide? She is yet another author who struggled with depression, but we are so, so glad that she powered through! After all, she had a lot to say and she created a fabulous story of a boy wizard named Harry Potter who went on awesome adventures. Perhaps you have heard of her books. Her severe depression was the result of trying to make ends meet as a single mother. She was a young twenty-something woman and she actually did try to seek help, only to be told that she was basically not sick enough.
10 Ricky Williams
Sometimes mental illness occurs and you just do not even know what is going on. In fact, many sufferers of mental disorders at first think that there is something wrong with them; that it is merely a case of being insane or crazy. Yet mental illness is very real and it does not discriminate. Just ask Heisman Trophy-winning running back Ricky Williams. He suffers from social anxiety disorder and said that before he got help, he felt the isolation and confusion due to not being able to express what was really wrong with him. About 15 million people in the United States suffer from this disorder, so he is certainly not alone.
9 Angelina Jolie
8 Abraham Lincoln
The great and wise Abraham Lincoln suffered from bouts of depression, it turns out. Well, that does not really come as a surprise, considering that the man had to help lead a country that was headed straight for a bloody civil war. Faced with slavery and tons of hate that was to his left and right, Honest Abe was bound to suffer from some kind of psychological turmoil. He had the symptoms of what would today be considered depression and melancholia. He had periods of brooding and feeling anxious. In the United States, about 20 million people are affected by depression.
7 Carrie Fisher
What do Star Wars and manic bipolar disorder have in common? Carrie Fisher. The actress who played Princess Leia in the famous films has suffered from episodes of manic bipolar disorder and she has even spoken out about her struggles so that the public can listen up and become more educated about mental illness. Now that is Princess Leia tough! She described her episodes as a period when she felt delusional and almost psychotic. Her mind was foggy and she was filled with confusion. Hallucinations and alcoholism ensued until she got treatment for her mental illness. Now she can share her story with others and continue building the Star Wars saga.
6 Stephen Fry
5 Jim Carrey
Would you believe that funnyman Jim Carrey battled with depression? We would. It seems that many people who turn to comedy or a creative interest do so because they find it to be a nice escape or release from mental fogginess and confusion. So to hear that an actor whose films have raked in about $100 million has struggled with depression makes sense. In 2009, Carrey finally broke his silence and spoke out about how he suffered for years on end with depressive thoughts. He was also diagnosed with ADHD and experienced family and financial issues early on in his life. Without a stable support system, that would throw anyone into a depressive spiral.
4 Amanda Bynes
3 Mike Tyson
Mental illness even attacks tough fighters. Just ask pro boxer Mike Tyson. He too struggled with depression and alcoholism. He has been very open about his mental illness and he even spoke out about the similarities between himself and actor Robin Williams (who was depressed and sadly committed suicide.) Tyson himself had said that to him and others with mental illness, suicide is a form of comfort. It is almost like a way out of the misery. Fortunately, Tyson is still with us and we hope that he is receiving the help and treatment he needs. It really does take a solid support system and the right diagnosis and treatment to get things back on track.
2 Elton John
You may not have known, but the super-popular and famous singer and pianist Elton John struggled with loads of mental issues. He suffered from bulimia, as well as cocaine use. The singer would binge eat on large amounts of food only to purge it all (this is usually done through vomiting.) It is a mental disorder that affects a lot of young women, so to have the singer speak out about it helped to shed some light on the reality that men can suffer from eating disorder as well. We are glad that he seems to be not just surviving, but thriving, and he cited rehab as helping him to overcome his battle with cocaine addiction.
1 Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato is a singer and actress, as well as a huge supporter and activist in the mental health spectrum. She suffers from Bipolar disorder and she received treatment for her struggles with bulimia. Demi got the help she needed and deserved and has spoken on countless television programs as well as in magazines that hopefully loads of people will see. Little girls, parents, and the general public need to know about these struggles. They are real, and getting “better” is not just a matter of “getting a grip.” We applaud Demi for being such a positive and insightful role model for people everywhere who struggle with a mental illness.