10 Celebrities Who Have Battled Mental Illness
Mental illness is sadly still a taboo topic, despite affecting millions of people every day. Thankfully, there are plenty of famous faces who have brought mental health to the forefront of everyone’s minds, gradually making it more accepted and helping to deal with the stigmas associated with mental illness.
These 10 celebs have fought various mental illnesses in the public eye, raising awareness of how widespread — and how common, treatable and surmountable — mental health problems are.
Demi Lovato: Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Bulimia, Self-Harm
Demi Lovato is a platinum-selling singer, an ‘X Factor’ judge and an actress. She’s also the survivor of cutting, cocaine use, depression, bulimia and bi-polar disorder. The inspiring starlet has been extremely open about her struggles, documenting her recovery in a TV special called ‘Stay Strong’ and even nabbing an honor on National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Says Lovato, “I’m a survivor of mental health and substance abuse issues, and I’m not ashamed.”
Catherine Zeta-Jones: Bi-Polar Disorder
Catherine Zeta-Jones has been open about her struggles with bi-polar disorder. She checked into treatment earlier this year for what was essentially described as routine maintenance. The ever-elegant star has said, “If my revelation of having bipolar II has encouraged one person to seek help, then it is worth it. There is no need to suffer silently and there is no shame in seeking help.”
Angelina Jolie: Depression
Angelina Jolie seems to have it all, but even she gets the blues — it’s hard to believe, but she is human! After the death of her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, in 2007, Jolie felt herself falling into a depression. How did she deal? By throwing herself into her work — and into a ton of stunts. “My mother had just passed away, and I wanted to do something physical to get it out of my head for a while,” she said in July 2008. “I felt I was going into a very dark place, and I wasn’t capable of getting up in the morning, so I signed up for something that would force me to be active.”
Paula Deen: Panic Attacks, Agoraphobia
Before she was under fire for using the N-word, Paula Deen faced a stigma for something else: mental illness. The cooking show host battled panic attacks and agoraphobia (fear of places that will cause panic attacks) for years. Deen revealed to Larry King that the attacks began after her father’s death. “I never knew when they were going to hit me, but it’s the most terrifying, uncontrollable feeling,” she admitted. Eventually she got past the panic attacks on her own, but they lasted 20 years! If you or someone you love are suffering from panic attacks or agoraphobia, don’t be afraid to seek help.
Christina Ricci: Depression, Anorexia
Actress Christina Ricci had major fluctuations in weight throughout her career in the spotlight, which started as a child. It’s no surprise that her body image was so affected, and as a result of the constant scrutiny, the beauty battled depression and anorexia nervosa. “These are things you can’t always deal with alone, so I went to therapy,” she said of her struggles. “Along the way, I discovered that you can choose to be happy. If you choose to let go of your self-consciousness and insecurities about physical appearance, then you’ll get to a place where you are present to see the world and enjoy yourself.”
Amanda Bynes: Schizophrenia
For a long time, the world thought Amanda Bynes was just trolling everyone with her missives about people being ugly and wanting Drake to “murder her vagina,” but it turns out something much more sinister and much more sad was afoot. After Bynes set a stranger’s driveway on fire, she was placed under a 5150 hold and is currently being held under a conservatorship while she receives treatment for schizophrenia.
Gwyneth Paltrow: Post-Partum Depression
Gwyneth Paltrow often struggles with first world problems, which can sometimes alienate plebeians, but she also has some issues that affect even those of us not in the one percent. Paltrow suffered post-partum depression after the birth of her son, Moses. “I expected to have another period of euphoria following his birth, much the way I had when my daughter was born two years earlier,” she wrote in her GOOP newsletter. “Instead I was confronted with one of the darkest and most painfully debilitating chapters of my life. For about five months I had, what I can see in hindsight, as postnatal depression.”
Mel Gibson: Bipolar Disorder
Prior to his highly public meltdown, Mel Gibson was privy to partying and pranks when he was in a good mood. But when he was in a bad mood? Well, we remember those phone calls. He explained in 2008, “I had really good highs but some very low lows. I found out recently that I’m manic depressive.”
Elton John: Bulimia
Sir Elton John may be a diva, but even divas get insecure. The ‘Candle in the Wind’ singer revealed his struggles with bulimia and substance abuse to Larry King. After saying he’d been “sober and clean” for years, John admitted, “It was the best thing I ever did. But, you know, those three words — I need help. If only I’d said them earlier.”
Michael Phelps: ADHD
Even Olympians have struggles. Michael Phelps revealed that he’s been dealing with ADHD since he was young. When Phelps was only nine years old, he had a lot of trouble concentrating in school, but he’s been able to manage his condition — and get some laser-sharp focus on work, as well — with medication and therapy.