Three hundred fifty million people deal with depression worldwide, and it’s rather difficult to understand why society talks so little about it and perpetuates the stigma of mental disease. For famous and successful people, dealing with depression is even more difficult as they are under public scrutiny permanently.
Successful people have struggled with depression in the past and are in the present. For contemporary persons, it has been yet more challenging as they’re always under the public eye. Some of the famous found the way to healing, whereas others lost the fight and ended up in suicide. Either way, successful people face depression more often than we think, and it’s even more difficult for them to recover as there are so many eyes watching their journey.
Here are some public figures who dealt with depression at some point in their lives:
The famous composer from Austria, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, became incredibly depressed in 1789 when his wife got sick. The journal of the Royal Society of Medicine notes that during 1790, Mozart’s depression aggravated, affecting his work. But he managed to remain one of the most prominent music composers that ever lived.
Isaac Newton was a difficult person, prone to depression, despite the incredible mind and genius he possessed. He was frequently involved in arguments with other scientists, which wasn’t always productive for the scientific world.
One of the most potent and inspiring presidents in American history, Abraham Lincoln struggled with anxiety and depression for a long time, even while trying to unite the divided country. Regardless of his long time problems with mental health, Lincoln managed to rule like a great leader.
Coming forward to modern times, the former quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers and current sports analyst had to win battles with mental health problems. Winning fair and square his place in the hall-of-fame, Terry Bradshaw went open about depression. The sports player was first diagnosed in the late ’90s, managing to go through it all with prescribed medication. He publicly speaks about his condition, which he considers to be a physical illness. However, he remains loyal to medicated treatment, as it appears to have worked in his case.
The prestigious and deeply admired astronaut fighting against odds and gravity by landing on the moon with Neil Armstrong at the end of the 60’s also struggled with alcoholism and depression. Unlike Terry Bradshaw, he was relatively private about his fight, choosing not to speak to any male friend or anyone else about the struggle he went through every day.
For a long time, alcohol alleviated his depression symptoms, which helped him go from day to day. As both depression and alcohol abuse aggravated, he realized the situation’s gravity, hiding from everyone in his apartment for days.
Once he got professional help for depression and alcoholism, he became the chairman of the National Association of Mental Health.
You may have read the witty columns in the Washington Post, and were surprised to find out that the humorist dealt with manic depression (bipolar disorder) and depression. His condition was so severe that he had to be hospitalized in 1963 and 1987. He spoke a lot about his struggle with mental health in an interview in 1996 on “Larry King Live”. The show caught the attention of the public and was quite a success. His death in 2007 wasn’t related to his mental health problems, and his openness about his struggle helped many people, for sure.
One thing that strikes about depression is that it can take so many forms, and it can be hidden in plain sight. It’s the case of Ellen DeGeneres, who appears to be such a joyful and bubbly person, whereas deep down, she has been taking her fights with severe depression. Coming out in 1997 during her show “Ellen” caused a lot of backlash from the general public. The reaction caused her depression, but she managed to pull it through. Today, she is thankful for all of her experiences, as they made her into who she is now.
You don’t have to be a kid to have read or seen the movies based on her books. The famous writer who created Harry Potter has millions of fans worldwide, but her road to success was anything but easy. Rowling was going through clinical depression while she was writing the first book of the series. The financial problems and negative feelings inspired her in the creation of the evil characters in her books. It was a cathartic process for the author, but one that brought her both fame and mental healing.
Becoming successful when you’re just a child isn’t comfortable, and it can eventually break you unless you’re seeking help.
It’s the case of Lindsay Lohan, who became famous as a child actor and eventually lost control over her life. Being under the public eye can bring a lot of pressure for a growing person at an early age. Many children who become famous early in life don’t seem to find their path in life when they go outside the flashes.
Lindsay Lohan looked for help at holistic treatment centers, as she was determined to put an end to both her depression and substance use disorders.
The former second lady and author was open to speak about her depression in the late 90’s, after she wholly recovered. Gore received medicated treatment, after her son’s nearly lethal car accident caused her depression.
She spoke several times about the importance of mental health care and how she benefited from it. She highlights that sometimes people need professional help for dealing with their depression, as strong will and determination aren’t enough to get healed.
Depression knows no gender, race, social, or financial status. You may be on top of the world and still have to face your demons at some point. Despite what we may think, success doesn’t always mean happiness and mental health can impact everyone. Stay open about it, and be willing to get professional help before it’s too late. If those famous people did it, so can you.