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In any circumstance, battling depression is anything but easy, even for the rich and famous. Some individuals come from an environment that “doesn’t believe” in medication, therapy, or seeking help. The “put an H on your back and handle it” generation made it more difficult to seek help for the feelings of darkness that creep in, unwelcome, and consume us for weeks without end. Some of you readers may know this ‘creeping’ feeling especially in winter time (Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD).
For those of you seeking therapy and taking prescription medication, you’re doing the right thing. There is nothing wrong with asking for professional help to battle one of the most common, underrated, and terrible of mental illnesses. There’s one valuable lesson you learn when seeking advice: You’re NOT Alone.
For example, celebrities may seem like they have it all; mentally, physically, and materialistically. The portrayal of famous people displays them in their best clothes, with their best angle, and their biggest smiles. However, if you were to sit down with a bunch of celebs, you’d learn that many of them, too, battle with depression.
For many years depression was swept under the rug, by celebrities and non-celebrities (meaning people like YOU). Coming out and talking about depression was seen as a sign of weakness and defeat. By the grace of the people we idolize and love from afar, depression is now becoming an everyday topic.
When the world lost Robin Williams, the word depression was proven to be the reason. Everyone questioned how someone so funny, so loving, and so full-of-life could battle depression, and the answer was in the words with which he left us. Williams, “the clown,” put on an act for the saddened people (meaning us), and by this, we all smiled. However, no one asked “the clown” if he needed a good laugh or a dose of happiness. His story touched us all, and in his legacy with depression is talked about amongst many celebrities
Ah, who doesn’t love this man? He’s a man with many faces: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd, The Mad Hatter, Edward Scissorhands and PLENTY more. His acting skills are so excellent, and yet off-screen; apparently, you can see his anxiety overwhelming with his facial expressions, body language, and how he talks. Depp seeks therapy on-set and off-set to manage his anxiety and depression so that he can keep giving us all the amazing acting skills we love to watch. Thanks, Depp!
It was hard not mention Eminem first because, well, he’s my favorite guy. Eminem has been around since the early 90’s as a rap star (or Rap God as he may prefer), and though his language was always “colorful,” to say the least, he has always been an influence for kids battling depression or just a tough life. Eminem grew up very poor, was bullied by peers and was neglected by his mother. The loss of his uncle and best friend Ronnie, his co-worker Proof, and most likely even Nate Dogg took a toll on him.
Eminem’s battle with depression became publicly known when he released “When I’m Gone.” The song, written for his daughter, touched the hearts of all his fans as they knew the truth. Eminem was going to rehab for his sleeping pill addiction that accumulated likely due to his depression. Now a revitalized man, Eminem may shamelessly talk about his depression battles, which lets us all know we can be a soldier in this war, too.
Ah, another idol for many of us. Star Wars fans felt an extreme heartache when he died in the films, but what may hit home is learning that Hon Solo’s actor, Harrison Ford, suffered depression from a young age. Like Eminem, Ford was bullied by peers and had trouble making friends in college. He found himself sleeping most of his days away, with poor attendance in class and eventually expelled. Following his junior year of college, Ford found some meaning-in-life when he started taking a drama class. Ultimately, this brought him to be our favorite characters: Han Solo and Indiana Jones!
Jolie has suffered depression since she was young. Now a mother of six, an Oscar winner, and more, she openly talks about her suicidal tendencies that teenage Jolie used to commit. She’s spoken publicly about mental illness, which is good for people who need reminding that they aren’t alone. After losing her mother in 2007, Angelina Jolie slipped into another depressive state, often turning down roles and falling into a dark pit. She took this into her own hands when she picked up new parts and getting more physically active.
An incredible actor and writer, Joseph Gordon- Levit started battling depression in 2001 when choosing to take time off as an actor to focus on school. He thought it would ruin his career. He fought and managed to stay in college, but the depression wore off when he returned home to Hollywood.
The story behind the “Born This Way” mental health advocate, Lady Gaga suffers depression herself. She understands the ups and downs that come along with depression. Her helpful explanation is to find whatever light you have inside of you, and use it for your power. As a mental health advocate, we can be thankful for Gaga, as she is not just the commander in this battle, she’s fighting too.
It’s very common to hear that a comical actor or actress is battling depression. Whether we perceive it as a mask or as a means to an end, comedians often exert their last energy into their acts. Owen was found to have attempted suicide in his California home, but with the help and love from friends and family, he has “bounced back” from depression. We believe in you, Owen!
For any readers, whether or not you suffer depression, understand how real and painful it is. I’ve listed survivors and warriors of depression, but that doesn’t mean everyone wins. Heath Ledger is a fair example of why it’s important to love the ones close to you and help them if you can. His inability to sleep led him to take too many pills which led to his untimely death. We all love and miss Ledger and his legacy of the Joker amongst many creative roles.
Hopefully, this list has shared helpful and essential information about depression. Only mentioning a few of the many rich, famous, and loved actors and actresses of America; in which we can see how common depression is. Remember, It’s never weak to seek help; it is an act of bravery and strength. Do what you can to keep your mental health-healthy, and always help a loved one in need.