The correlation between success and mental illness is like peanut butter and jelly. There’s a long list of famous individuals who struggle with it; some are very open about their condition. How does that happen? Why do the two, in some cases, go hand in hand? A survey conducted in 2015 by the University of Sydney found that actors experienced higher levels of mental illness compared to the broader population, with a notable number of them struggling with anxiety and depression. The cause might vary from one person to another but they all have a take on mental illness that I find to be useful and relatable. Let’s start!
She, once, opened up about dealing with post-traumatic disorder due to sexual assault. On Apple TV+ Gaga said,
“Everybody that’s at home now that’s suffering, I would like to first say that you surround yourself with someone that validates you. And when I say ‘validates you,’ I mean someone that believes you, cares about you, and tells you that your pain matters and it’s real.”
Takeaway: Find your flock and surround yourself with people who understand and are non-judgmental.
Unlike Gaga, Olsen experienced crippling panic attacks. This experience was confusing to her. She said,
“If I went from cold to hot, hot to cold, full to hungry, hungry to full—any kind of shift in my body—my whole body thought, Uh-oh, something’s wrong! And I just started spiralling. It was so weird”.
Takeaway: Listen to your body. Mental illness always manifests and affects our bodily function causing problems like insomnia, digestive problems, headaches, etc.
The model/actress has a cocktail of issues—depression, substance abuse, suicidal ideation and traumatic childhood. In an interview with Vogue, she stated,
“I wasn’t a very good friend because I wasn’t a very good friend to myself. “I obviously didn’t treat myself at all well. I wasn’t able to show up for people as well as I could and should have, but also, I didn’t let people show up for me either. I would never talk about things that were going on in my life.”
She also added an important point about seeking a mental health routine for oneself.
“Treatment isn’t for everyone; nothing is for everyone, but the things that have really helped me are learning to love myself through other people, learning to be myself with other people.”
Takeaway: As cliché as this might sound, be kind to yourself and allow others to help you. You need all the support that you can get. The second takeaway is to find what works for you. In the same interview, Cara admitted that Yoga helps her recovery.
This Mean Girl actress opened up about her struggle with anxiety attacks in an interview with The Today Show. She mentioned how the attacks made her feel like being in a life-or-death situation. Besides anxiety, she also suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). In a different interview with Allure, she said how being on medication helps her manage her struggle,
“Yeah. I’m on Lexapro, and I’ll never get off of it. I’ve been on it since I was 19, so 11 years. I’m on the lowest dose. I don’t see the point of getting off of it. Whether it’s placebo or not, I don’t want to risk it. And what are you fighting against? Just the stigma of using a tool? A mental illness is a thing that people cast in a different category [from other illnesses], but I don’t think it is. It should be taken as seriously as anything else. You don’t see the mental illness: It’s not a mass; it’s not a cyst. But it’s there. Why do you need to prove it? If you can treat it, you treat it. I had pretty bad health anxiety that came from the OCD and thought I had a tumor in my brain. I had an MRI, and the neurologist referred me to a psychiatrist. As I get older, the compulsive thoughts and fears have diminished a lot. Knowing that a lot of my fears are not reality-based really helps.”
Takeaway: Mental illness is real despite our inability to see it with our own two eyes. If you are on medication, keep taking it.
Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock’s estimated net worth in 2023 is to be around $800 million but like others on this entry, he has his share of struggle with mental illness. He, once tweeted,
“Depression never discriminates. Took me a long time to realize it but the key is to not be afraid to open up. Especially us dudes have a tendency to keep it in. You’re not alone.”
Takeaway: Mental illness can affect anyone regardless of gender. Do not be afraid to bare your soul.
Mental illness can be debilitating. However, there are ways to live with it. These celebrities have accepted the fact that they have it and are working on recovery. It is not the end of the line, instead, it is the beginning of a new path.