50 Famous Celebrities That Suffer From Mental Disorders

Luke Chase July 19th 2016 Entertainment
With 25 percent of American adults living with a diagnosable mental disorder, it's no wonder mental health is an increasing priority for the average person. But what about the celebrities or famous people we've come to follow so closely? They aren't exempt from mental health issues, either. Even people who seem to have everything - money, fame, power - experience bouts of anxiety and depression at some point in their lives. This slide show includes some of Hollywood and history's most well-known names.
Britney Spears
Depression and Bipolar Disorder
Britney Spears has "suffered from a psychological disease for years," says a source close to the singer. Two separate sources who are acquaintances of the family believe the singer has never been formally diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but "there is no question she is bipolar ... she's had manic episodes for years." According to Dr. Diana Kirschner, who has not treated Spears but is an expert on the subject, "people who show patterns of behavior like Britney are suffering from a dual diagnosis. They have both a substance abuse problem and a bipolar disorder or manic disorder."
PEOPLE magazine has learned from multiple sources that the singer also suffered from depression after both her pregnancies. "She had postpartum depression after Preston was born," says a source who was close to the family during her marriage to Kevin Federline. "She didn't want anyone's help ... It got worse after Jayden was born."
Robin Williams
Robin William’s widow Susan has revealed the beloved actor was struggling with dementia with Lewy Bodies. This may help to explain his tragic actions, as despite being relatively unfamiliar, it is a deeply serious and unpleasant condition. Dementia with Lewy Bodies is not as common or well known as depression, or the more familiar forms of dementia, most obviously Alzheimer’s disease. However, even among the grim spectrum of neurological disorders and mental illnesses, dementia with Lewy Bodies is a particularly nasty condition.
A severe case of dementia with Lewy Bodies means you potentially can’t think, can’t sleep, can’t stay awake, can’t trust what you see, can’t move, can’t understand what’s going and can’t be happy. Judging by her Susan Williams’ comments about the speed of progression of his symptoms, it sounds like Robin Williams had a severe case of dementia with Lewy Bodies.
Demi Lovato
Demi said to ABC News: "I've spoken openly about being bullied throughout the past few years, but one thing that I've never been able to feel comfortable talking about was the effects that it had on my life, afterwards," she said. "I literally didn't know why they were being so mean to me. And when I would ask them why, they would just say, 'Well, you're fat."
Her torment turned into a dangerous habit. "I developed an eating disorder, and that's kind of what I've been dealing with ever since," she said. Lovato began a lifelong struggle with bulimia and alternately, severely restricting her eating. "I was compulsively overeating when I was eight years old," she said. "So, I guess, for the past 10 years I've had a really unhealthy relationship with food." Her family helped her find professional help for her food issues. But there was a secret battle she fought alone, something she desperately hid from everyone: At age 11, Lovato began cutting herself -- intentionally self-mutilating her wrists as a way of coping with emotions.
Gwyneth Paltrow
Postpartum Depression
Gwyneth Paltrow had a blissful time during daughter Apple's first few months of life in summer 2004. Two years later, when son Moses was born, things couldn't have been more different. The actress found herself living a nightmare. "I felt like a zombie. I couldn't access my heart. I couldn't access my emotions. I couldn't connect," Paltrow said in an issue of Good Housekeeping magazine. "It was terrible, it was the exact opposite of what had happened when Apple was born. With her, I was on cloud nine. I couldn't believe it wasn't the same. I just thought it meant I was a terrible mother and a terrible person."
It was Paltrow's husband, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, who first thought she might be suffering from postpartum depression. Paltrow says the hardest part was acknowledging the problem. "I thought postpartum depression meant you were sobbing every single day and incapable of looking after a child," she explains. "But there are different shades of it and depths of it, which is why I think it's so important for women to talk about it. It was a trying time. I felt like a failure."
Catherine Zeta-Jones
Bipolar II Disorder
In April of 2012, Zeta-Jones was admitted to a US rehabilitation clinic where doctors concluded she was suffering from bipolar II disorder, a form of manic depression. Her husband, fellow actor Michael Douglas, was recovering from treatment for throat cancer at the time. “I’m not the kind of person who likes to shout out my personal issues from the rooftops but, with my bipolar becoming public, I hope fellow sufferers will know it is completely controllable,” Zeta-Jones told US InStyle magazine.
“I hope I can help remove any stigma attached to it, and that those who don’t have it under control will seek help with all that is available to treat it.” Describing the past 18 months as “an intense time in good ways and bad”, the Welsh actress said: “You find out who you really are and who are you are married to. You find things inside yourself you never imagined were there. “I’ve gained an appreciation for little things, like tea outside on a terrace.” Zeta-Jones admitted that, at the height of her illness, she Googled her name to find negative comments about herself. “The smartest thing I did was to stop going online,” she said.
Amanda Bynes
Bipolar Disorder
Rumors have swirled for months about what caused former child star Amanda Bynes to have a breakdown, which eventually led to her being hospitalized and placed into a psychiatric facility. The 28-year-old star shared some information about her mental health with her followers online: "I was diagnosed bi - polar and manic depressive so I'm on medication and I'm seeing my psychologist and pyshchiatrist weekly so I'm fine :D"
Amanda posted tweets alleging her father had verbally, physically and sexually abused her. She quickly retracted her claims and deleted the tweets. "My dad never did any of those things," she wrote. "The microchip in my brain made me say those things but he's the one that ordered them to microchip me." She deleted that tweet, too. Shortly after, Amanda was hospitalized on an involuntary emergency psychiatric hold.
Mel Gibson
Bipolar Disorder
In a 2008 documentary, Gibson himself said that he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Some of his rage-filled behavior is consistent with that of a person who has bipolar disorder, says Douglas Bey Jr., MD, a psychiatrist in Normal, Ill., and author of the upcoming book Loving a Depressed Man. In summer 2010, the actor Mel Gibson was front-page news, and not because of a new movie role. Two audiotapes, purportedly of the Hollywood star threatening his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, were made public. In them, Gibson can be heard using profane language, insulting Grigorieva, and threatening her life.
This isn’t the first time Gibson’s reputation has come under fire. In 2006, he made headlines after he launched an anti-Semitic tirade toward a police officer arresting him on a charge of drunken driving. Given Gibson’s stormy past, there has been much media speculation on whether a mental health condition could be behind his behavior. “Irritability is a primary symptom in bipolar disorder,” says Dr. Bey, who has not examined or treated Gibson. “If Mel Gibson was off his [bipolar] medicine or wasn’t being controlled by his medicine — his mood stabilizer — then he’s likely to be quite irritable.”
Charlie Sheen
Bipolar Disorder
Sheen revealed that he has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Talking to Dr. Oz, Sheen said: "I've been described or diagnosed by enough people that I guess at some point you have to take a look at it. Manic behavior is usually in the throes of departing substance abuse and drinking, It doesn't really happen when I'm not doing that."
Also known as manic-depression, bipolar disorder causes suffers to alternate between periods of mania and depression. During manic episodes, symptoms include an overly happy "high", irritability, and acting impulsively. On the flip side, the depressive stage consists of feelings of sadness and hopelessness, a loss of interest in activity as well as suicidal thoughts. We hope that Charlie keeps his cool and fights this horrible disease.
Carrie Fisher
Bipolar Disorder
Many famous figures have come forward about their mental illness struggles, but Fisher has been open about her battle with bipolar disorder and addiction for many years. Given how hard it can be to talk about mental illness, which remains a taboo subject matter in our culture, this is praise-worthy. More than a decade ago, Fisher divulged her bipolar disorder struggle to ABC News' Diane Sawyer.
“I have a chemical imbalance that, in its most extreme state, will lead me to a mental hospital,” Fisher said, adding that her bipolar disorder caused her to stay up all night, experience racing thoughts, and have mood swings. "I used to think I was a drug addict, pure and simple — just someone who could not stop taking drugs willfully. And I was that. But it turns out that I am severely manic depressive.” She added that she has two dueling moods, which she named Roy and Pam. “One is Roy, rollicking Roy, the wild ride of a mood," she said. "And Pam, sediment Pam, who stands on the shore and sobs … Sometimes the tide is in, sometimes it’s out."
Heath Ledger
His brilliant performance as the joker in "The Dark Night" was his best role yet, but it would be his last memorable role. Ledger died in January 2008 from an overdose of sleeping pills, painkillers, and anxiety drugs. In a New York Times interview, he stated that his movie role in "The Dark Night" had taken a toll on his ability to sleep: "Last week I probably slept an average of two hours a night. ... I couldn't stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going." At that time, he told the New York Times that he had taken two Ambien pills, after taking just one had not sufficed, and those left him in "a stupor, only to wake up an hour later, his mind still racing."
On 22 January 2008, Ledger was found dead in his bed by his housekeeper, Teresa Solomon. The toxicology report concluded, in part, "Mr. Heath Ledger died as the result of acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine." It states definitively: "We have concluded that the manner of death is accident, resulting from the abuse of prescribed medications."
Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie rarely cracks a smile on the red carpet and for a while Jolie felt she had little to smile about. The actress battled with depression in her teens and early 20’s. When Jolie’s mother, actress Marcheline Bertrand, passed away in 2007, the "Tomb Raider " star once again fell into a dark period. Jolie agreed to star in the movie "Wanted" as a means of coping with the depression. “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.”
Success at a young age only made her feel guilty. "I was raised in a place where if you have fame and money and you’re decent-looking and have the ability to work in this industry, you have everything in the world. "Then you attain those things and realise you still couldn’t be more empty. I didn’t know where to put myself."
Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus opened up some more old wounds in a recent interview with Elle Magazine, confessing her 'anxiety' over breaking up with former fiance Liam Hemsworth and admitting that she has struggled with 'depression'. She once felt so bad that she locked herself away in her bedroom only for her father, country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, to break the door down to get her out. She told the publication: 'I went through a time where I was really depressed. 'I locked myself in my room and my dad had to break my door down.'
The 21-year-old star was sure to keep it sexy and expensive for the May issue's photoshoot, stripping down to a tiny skin-colour bodice, plus an array of sequins and leather, which shows she has come a long way with her image after revealing her depression was triggered by body insecurities. She added: 'I had really bad skin, and I felt really bullied because of that. But I never was depressed because of the way someone else made me feel, I just was depressed.'
Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen DeGeneres has spoken out about the anger and depression that she faced following her decision to come out publicly as gay. Speaking to the Mail, the 58-year old Finding Dory star revealed that when she went public about her sexuality on her sitcom Ellen in 1997, her career "came to a screeching halt". "There were jokes at my expense and I couldn't turn on the TV at night without some comedian or talk-show host making fun of me. Not for a minute did I regret doing what I did, but it was hard."
"I look on that period of losing it all as a gift. It forced me to do something that I probably wouldn't have done if I'd been skating along on the sitcom. Plus, I was way too insecure and sensitive [before coming out on the show] and I'm glad I lost that because that's a heavy weight to carry around."
Halle Berry
Halle Berry, an Academy Award-winning actress, model and former beauty queen, has the career many could only hope to dream of. Her personal life, especially her relationships, live a lot to be desired for. Though she is known for her quiet nature, this true talent of ‘Monster’s Ball’ fame discussed her failed marriage and her post-partum depression in an interview to ‘Parade’ magazine.
On her suicide attempt after her failed marriages, Halle said: “I was sitting in my car, and I knew the gas was coming when I had an image of my mother finding me. She sacrificed so much for her children, and to end my life would be an incredibly selfish thing to do. My sense of worth was so low. I had to reprogram myself to see the good in me. Because someone didn’t love me didn’t mean I was unlovable. I promised myself I would never be a coward again.”
Elton John
Substance Abuse and Bulimia
Rock legend Elton John is among the many celebrities who have entered a rehabilitation facility to seek treatment for his issues. He is one of few, however, who sought treatment for two separate issues simultaneously. Elton said: "This is how bleak it was, I'd stay up, I'd smoke joints, I'd drink a bottle of Johnnie Walker and then I'd stay up for three days and then I'd go to sleep for a day and a half, get up, and because I was so hungry, because I hadn't eaten anything, I'd binge and have like three bacon sandwiches, a pot of ice cream and then I'd throw it up, because I became bulimic and then go and do the whole thing all over again. That is how tragic my life was."
Interviewer Piers Morgan asked him: 'How close did drugs come to killing you, do you think?' The pop star says: 'Very close. I mean, I would have an epileptic seizure and turn blue, and people would find me on the floor and put me to bed, and then 40 minutes later I'd be snorting another line.'
Owen Wilson
Known for Hit Comedies Like Wedding Crashers, the Star Struggled with Drugs and Kept His Dark Side Hidden—Until His Shocking Suicide Attempt on Aug. 26 2007. As stunning as the news was, others close to Wilson, 38, were not surprised to hear of the latest dark chapter in the life of a man who they say has battled his share of demons, which have included drug addiction. According to the Santa Monica Police Department, the 911 call that brought an emergency crew to his home shortly after noon on Sunday was classified as an "attempt suicide." The following day Wilson issued a statement saying, "I respectfully ask that the media allow me to receive care and heal in private during this difficult time."
His immediate well-being was the primary concern of friends such as Woody Harrelson, Wes Anderson, Samuel L. Jackson and Brad Garrett, who visited Wilson at the hospital, and the actor's close-knit family. Brothers Luke, 35, who initially found Owen, and Andrew, 43, were by his side in the hours and days after the incident; his parents, Robert, 66, and Laura, 67, fought past anguish and exhaustion as they kept a revolving vigil.
Princess Diana
Depression and Bulemia
Princess Diana admitted that she began to follow a strict diet after people made comments on TV and in magazines about her “pudgy” appearance. Once she started dieting, she couldn’t stop. Her eating problems were further exacerbated when her marriage underwent great upheaval, and food became the answer to the emptiness she felt. Overeating, or bingeing, can provide comfort when a person feels alone or helpless. The ensuing guilt and shame then often causes the person to try to get rid of the extra calories through vomiting, using laxatives or water pills, or excessive exercise.
A book published by author Penny Junor claimed that Diana suffered from several mental illnesses. These mental illnesses like depression were hidden from the royal family. It was too late the problems came to limelight. The book stated that within days after her engagement with Prince Charles, Diana changed from a happy teenager into a volatile stranger. Junor stated that Diana suffered from mood swings which often a times were violent and unnerving. She was unpredictable in her mood, with her behaviour changing within a blink of an eye. She would go on to become furiously angry and screaming from being cheerful and funny.
Kurt Cobain
ADHD and Bipolar Disorder
Kurt Cobain, the lead singer of the grunge band Nirvana, was found dead at his home, located at 171 Lake Washington Boulevard East in Seattle, Washington, on April 8, 1994. Forensic analysis determined that he had committed suicide three days prior on April 5. The Seattle Police Department incident report states: "Kurt Cobain was found with a shotgun across his body, had a visible head wound and there was a suicide note discovered nearby."
Advocates of the verdict of death by self-inflicted gunshot wound cite Cobain's persistent drug addiction, clinical depression, and handwritten suicide note as conclusive proof. Members of Cobain's family also noted patterns of depression and instability in Cobain before he achieved fame. Cobain mentioned that the stomach pains from an undiagnosed stomach condition were so severe during Nirvana's 1991 European tour that he became suicidal and stated that taking heroin was "[his] choice"; saying, "This [heroin] is the only thing that's saving me from blowing my head off right now."
Amanda Beard
Depression and Bulimia
Olympic gold medalist and model Amanda Beard confessed to self-mutilation, bulimia and depression in a harrowing book. In her book, In the Water They Can't See You Cry, the 30-year old Olympic swimmer describes how her parents' divorce and the pressure from world swimming drove Beard to abuse herself.
During her teens and 20's the clinically depressed Beard became bulimic (an eating disorder characterized by binge eating, then purging), abused drugs and alcohol and began cutting herself with a razor. The self-mutilation continued -- even as the the 7-time Olympic medalist became a sex symbol, posing naked for Playboy and PETA. Beard went through therapy and medication. She's now happily married to Brown and the couple have a 2-year old son. She hopes to make her 5th Olympic team in London this summer.
Brooke Shields
Postpartum Depression
Brooke Shields seemingly has it all -- happy marriage, celebrated beauty, critical applause, world fame. Yet, after her child was born, she fought the "mother lode" of emotional battles: a crippling bout with postpartum depression. "I really didn't want to live anymore," she admits frankly. She says that, during this time, simply seeing a window was enough to prompt her to think, "'I just want to leap out of my life,' but then the rational side of me [would say], 'You're only on the fourth floor. You'll get broken to bits and then you will be even worse.'"
Princeton-educated and seemingly savvy about all sorts of things, she still never knew that feelings of shame, secrecy, helplessness, and despair -- the classic signs of postpartum depression -- may affect as many as one in 10 new mothers within six months of delivery, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. More incapacitating than the "baby blues," postpartum depression is marked by severe sadness or emptiness, withdrawal from family and friends, a strong sense of failure, and even thoughts of suicide. These emotions can begin two or three weeks after birth and can last up to a year or longer if untreated.
Kendra Wilkinson
Kendra Wilkinson has another shocking revelation: As a teen she tried to kill herself, overdosed on drugs and was institutionalized. "When I was a teenager, I battled some severe depression," Wilkinson, 30, tells her therapist, Dr. Monica Shahbaznia in an episode of her popular reality show 'Kendra on Top' "I attempted suicide a couple times. I went to a mental institution ... drugs, overdosing, slitting wrists, all that stuff."
"I was left on my own," she says, pushing back tears. "I was a young f------ girl. All I wanted was for my mom to say, 'I love you, and I'm here for you.' I never got that." Wilkinson recently disclosed the emotional abuse she has endured at the hands of her "sadistic" mother, Patti: "I feel like I'm being raped every minute with my mom," she told her aunt on Kendra on Top.
Jim Carrey
It’s pretty safe to say that Jim Carrey is considered elite when it comes to acting, especially in the genre of comedy. Although you may not know it, Jim Carrey has dealt with major depression for a significant portion of his life. In fact, at one point, his depression became so debilitating, that he didn’t know how he would overcome it. Like many people, he sought out help from a doctor and was prescribed Prozac.
When Carrey was 15, he dropped out of high school so that he could work to help support his family. This meant he was not getting an education like most other kids, but he wasn’t getting as much interaction with other kids his age. He ended up growing up faster than usual, having to get a job as a janitor. When he got the job, he was quoted as saying, “I’d have a baseball bat on my janitor cart because I was so angry I just wanted to beat the heck out of something.”
Michael Phelps
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
When former gold medal Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps was in the sixth grade, he was fidgety and had trouble paying attention in the classroom. His pediatrician diagnosed him with ADHD and prescribed Ritalin. Michael took the medication for several years, and it seemed to help. At age 13, however, he decided that he was using the drug as a crutch, even though it did help make him less "jumpy" at school.
Michael weaned himself off the medication with his doctor's support, and learned to use the power of his mind to focus on his school work and control himself in the classroom. At this point, his teacher told his mother that her son would never succeed at anything because he couldn't focus on anything for a long enough time. His mother, too, was skeptical that her son could do well without the Ritalin. Defying his teacher's and his mother's grim predictions, Michael Phelps went on to become the most decorated athlete in the history of the Olympics.
Craig Ferguson
Craig Ferguson is a Scottish-American television host, stand-up comedian, writer, actor, director, producer and voice artist. He is the host of the syndicated game show Celebrity Name Game, and the host of Join or Die with Craig Ferguson on History. He was also the host of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, an Emmy Award-nominated, Peabody Award-winning late-night talk show that aired on CBS from 2005 to 2014.
Ferguson is a recovering alcoholic, and has been sober since 18 February 1992. Ferguson said he had considered committing suicide on Christmas Day 1991, but when offered a glass of sherry by a friend for celebrating the holiday, he was distracted from jumping off Tower Bridge in London as he had planned.
Jon Hamm
This Mad Men star was 20 years old when he experienced depression, following the death of his father. On his father’s death: “I was... unmoored by that. But I was very fortunate to have really good friends in my life whose parents sort of rallied: ‘We’re gonna help this kid out, because otherwise there’s going to be trouble...’ I struggled with chronic depression. I was in bad shape. I knew I had to get back in school and back in some kind of structured environment and... continue.”
“I did do therapy and antidepressants for a brief period, which helped me. Which is what therapy does: it gives you another perspective when you are so lost in your own spiral, your own bull***. It helps. And honestly? Antidepressants help! If you can change your brain chemistry enough to think: ‘I want to get up in the morning; I don’t want to sleep until four in the afternoon. I want to get up and go do my sh*t and go to work and...’ Reset the auto-meter, kick-start the engine!”
Winona Ryder
Best known for her roles in 'Girl Interrupted' as an executive producer and starring in 'Edward Scissorhands', Ryder seemed to have it all. When her relationship with Johnny Depp ended, she began to spiral out of control with abusing alcohol, to having anxiety attacks, and going into a depression. Winona suffered in silence for a while. She then admitted all this to the San Francisco Chronicle in January 2000. She eventually sought treatment in metal institution and soon after with a therapist.
“There was a time when I was 19 when I really, really, really thought I was going crazy,” she has said about her own brief stay at a psychiatric clinic. “I was exhausted and going through a terrible depression. I had had panic attacks from the age of 12 – probably from the pressure of working and then going through adolescence onscreen.”
Emma Thompson
Emma Thompson is an award-winning British actress. She’s won an Oscar and BAFTA, and was married to fellow British actor and director Kenneth Branagh. She’s also battled severe depression for most of her life that has at times crippled her. Her first encounter with depression was when she was acting in Me and My Girl: "I think my first bout of that was when I was doing Me and My Girl, funnily enough. I really didn’t change my clothes or answer the phone, but went into the theatre every night and was cheerful and sang the Lambeth Walk. That’s what actors do. But I think that was my first bout with an actual clinical depression."
She did what many people do when they go through their first bout of clinical depression: put the masks on and try to push through the depression. After a public and painful divorce with Branagh, she suffered another period of severe clinical depression. Going through a painful separation is often a catalyst for depression, manifesting in periods of grief. Thompson credits writing on the computer as an aid to her recovery.
Linda Hamilton
Bipolar Disorder
Linda Hamilton, in her most famous role, fought her way out of a psychiatric ward. She’s known to play uncompromising characters who are tough and rugged. On the other side of the screen, she’s a fighter and always will be a fighter. The biggest battle she’s ever faced has been her mood disorder, bipolar. Linda was diagnosed in her 40s and calls the years between 20 and 40 as the “lost years”. From the age of 23 to 30 she desperately tried to understand the nature of her mood swings.
Linda Hamilton never really knew her father, he was killed in a car accident when Linda was young. Linda’s father also had a suspected mood disorder. Her behavioural problems began at a young age. Her parents remember her beating a dog with a stick when she was five years old. She was an identical twin, and didn’t like resembling someone else, resulting in rebellion and attention-seeking behaviour. It was during this time she experienced excruciating aloneness.
Hugh Laurie
Hugh Laurie is best known for playing Doctor House; a walking-wounded medical genius whose brilliance and brokenness is deeply intertwined. Like his character, Laurie has wrestled with bouts of major depression. His depression, which he calls “heavyweight unhappiness” began in his late teens. He refuses to take medication for his condition but admits of a course of St John’s Wort.
Laurie concluded he had a problem with depression when driving in a demolition derby charity in 1996. In spite of explosions and crashing happening close to and around him he was not stimulated. Instead, he was bored. This lack of reaction made his flat mood noticeable to him. His reactions were not congruent or consistent with external stimuli and thought something was amiss into his head. "It affected everything – my family and friends. I was a pain in the arse to have around. I was miserable and self-absorbed. It’s actually selfish to be depressed and not try and do anything about it. "
Paula Deen
Panic Attacks and Agoraphobia
Married at 18, pregnant at 19, and orphaned at 23, Food Network's Paula Deen became depressed and then severely agoraphobic for the next two decades. For 20 years, she focused on cooking for her family because it was something she could do without leaving the house. “I could concentrate on what was in my pots and block out what was in my head,” she said. Shame and bewilderment prevented her from seeking help, she said, and no one except her husband knew the depth of her illness. Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder characterized by anxiety symptoms in reaction to situations where the sufferer perceives the environment to be dangerous, uncomfortable, or unsafe. These situations can include wide-open spaces, uncontrollable social situations, unfamiliar places, shopping malls, airports, and bridges.
Through sheer repetition, she mastered the Southern classics her grandmother Irene Paul had taught her: fried chicken and collard greens cooked with fatback or hog jowl, pickled green beans and okra, fried peach pies, sour cream pound cake. “It was real farmhouse cooking, the kind that takes all day,” she said. The process itself was therapeutic, providing structure and purpose to days that otherwise would have been overwhelmed by panic.
Ashley Judd
Actress and aspiring politician Ashley Judd, who once described herself as "absolutely certifiably crazy" and in need of a "psychological support" dog, suffers from mood-altering bipolar disorder. Deep in a friendly Huffington Post story which all but declared she was running against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, reporter Howard Fineman revealed: "She writes movingly and openly about the challenges she faces from her bipolar disorder."
She has often talked about her depression and troubled childhood, but the diagnosis of bipolar disorder is more blunt than the co-dependency Judd has talked about. She told ABC in 2012, "What I said was, 'I'm so tired of holding up all this pain, I'm so glad to come to treatment.'" In her biography "All That Is Bitter and Sweet" she blamed her depression on a turbulent childhood of abuse and loneliness.
David Arquette
David James Arquette born in September 8 1971, is an American actor, film director, producer, screenwriter, fashion designer, and former professional wrestler. A member of the Arquette acting family, he first became known during the late 1990s after starring in several Hollywood films, including the Scream trilogy.
After Arquette and wife Courteney Cox announced they were separating in late 2010, the actor was spotted dancing and behaving erratically at nightclubs. He told Howard Stern during a radio interview that he'd been drinking a lot and acting like a "maniac." Arquette soon checked himself into a rehab center to address his alcohol abuse and depression. In April 2011, Arquette acknowledged his strange behavior, saying he had been sober for more than 100 days and was now more in touch with his emotions.
Marissa Jaret Winokur
Postpartum depression isn't reserved for women who physically give birth to their children. After Tony-winning Broadway actress Winokur's son was born via surrogate in 2008, she felt stressed and overwhelmed. In fact, surrogacy can sometimes make postpartum anxiety or guilt even worse, Winokur's doctor told People in December 2010. "I didn't feel a connection with Zev," Winokur said. She visited a therapist, went back to work, and started exercising, and her depression began to lift when her son was about 10 months old.
During the early development stages of Hairspray, Winokur was diagnosed with cervical cancer. She underwent treatment for the disease, without revealing her condition to anyone except her immediate family out of fear that she would be replaced in the musical. Ultimately she made a full recovery and remained in the show.
Paulina Porizkova
At 18 years old, in 1984, Paulina Porizkova became the first woman from Central Europe to be on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. When she was voted off ABC's Dancing with the Stars in 2007, her feelings of rejection led to anxiety attacks. An antidepressant helped dull her anxiety, Porizkova wrote in a 2011 Huffington Post editorial, but also her personality.
She eventually stopped the medication, fighting withdrawal symptoms with exercise and willpower. While she's not an "anti-medicine crusader," she wrote that she is "starting to wonder whether antidepressants can often be the emotional equivalent of plastic surgery." Porizkova married Ric Ocasek, lead singer for the rock band The Cars.
Margot Kidder
Manic Depression and Paranoia
In the 1970s and early '80s, Margot Kidder was the Man of Steel's No. 1 lady, portraying Lois Lane opposite Christopher Reeve's Superman in the superhero film franchise. But by the 1996, manic depression and paranoia gripped the actress in a well-publicized nervous breakdown in which she cut her hair to avoid being recognized and went missing for days before being found hiding in a suburban California backyard.
After being discovered by police, Kidder was taken to a psychiatric center for observation. In the years that have followed, Kidder bounced back to land several TV and movie roles and to speak publicly about mental health and alternative treatments, like acupuncture. "I'm now ferociously healthy in body and mind," she told The Guardian in 2005. "You couldn't pay me to go near a psychiatrist again. Stopping seeing them was my first step to getting well."
Sinead O’Connor
Bipolar Disorder
Maybe you remember Sinead O'Connor from her 1990 "Nothing Compares 2 U" video, the close-up shot and somber blue lighting. Or perhaps your image of the Irish singer recalls her ripping a photo of Pope John Paul II on an episode of Saturday Night Live in 1992. To O'Connor, the notion that she always had to be controversial proved to be an artistic impediment, and she took a step back.
In a 2007 interview with The Times of London, the now 44-year-old singer and mother of four reveals how treatment for bipolar disorder helped mend what she calls a hole in the center of her being, with symptoms that included suicidal thoughts as far back as age 23.
Pete Wentz
Bipolar Disorder
Life wasn't always quite so picture perfect for Fall Out Boy bassist and soon-to-be-father Pete Wentz. Despite being a hugely successful rocker married to a sexy pop star, Wentz battled depression for a long time and came close to death twice, he says in a candid interview for Playboy's October issue. Wentz says his drinking and drugs led to dangerous activities. "I pulled a trigger on a gun aimed at myself" during a game of Russian Roulette, he says. "My friend and I did one pull each. We'd been drinking and had taken Ambien."
The musician, who says he has gone to therapists since he was 6, also says that "the list of drugs I've been prescribed would read like a grocery list." Recalling a drug overdose, "I took a handful of Ativan," he says. "It had more to do with being depressed. I wasn't thinking of killing myself. I've never really called it a suicide attempt. I just wanted my head to be completely turned off."
Brian Wilson
Schizoaffective Disorder, Bipolar Type
By 1968, Brian Wilson began having a diminished creative role in The Beach Boys. Until then, he had been the groups principal songwriter, but he began spending the majority of his time in bed, sleeping, doing drugs and overeating. Eventually he was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type which supposedly caused him to hear voices in his head.
But after various medication treatments and therapies, Wilson finally found a regimen that has allowed for him to continue recording and performing. He even managed to finish Smile, the legendary unfinished Beach Boys project that fell apart at the beginning of Wilson’s mental health problems.
Abraham Lincoln
The Great Emancipator managed to lead the country through one of its more trying times, despite suffering from severe depression most of his life. According to one Lincoln biographer, letters left by the president’s friends referred to him as “the most depressed person they've ever seen.” On at least one occasion, he was so overcome with “melancholy” that he collapsed.
Both his mother and numerous members of his father’s family exhibited similar symptoms of severe depression, indicating he was probably biologically susceptible to the illness. Lincoln is even assumed to be the author of a poem published in 1838, "The Suicide’s Soliloquy,” which contains the lines: "Hell! What is hell to one like me, Who pleasures never knew; By friends consigned to misery,By hope deserted too?".
Vincent Van Gogh
You’ve seen the work of this famous artist. You also know him as cutting off his ear and sending it to his girlfriend. He was an unstable man who often had moods. He was discovered to suffer from depression and manic episodes. When he was 37 years old, he committed suicide. His painting are still hung in many art galleries today, inspiring many aspiring painters to follow their dreams.
His self-portraits were a window to see the depression in his eyes. Gogh painted 2,100 painting over his 10 year career, but there were times when he couldn't paint because of his depression. At the same time he had instants where he couldn't stop painting. He was also thought to have other disorders besides depression like bipolar disorder, temporal lobe epilepsy, meniere's disease, schizophrenia, thujone poisoning, and lead poisoning. Gogh had no relief because mood stabilizers and antidepressants didn't exist back then. He embraced his disease, wanted to find out more about it, and checked himself into a mental hospital because he realized he needed help.
John Nash
Many people hail John Nash as an economic and math genius, especially after he won the Nobel Prize for economic sciences in 1994. But what many people didn't know at the time was that Nash lived with paranoid schizophrenia, a mental health disorder in which people have difficulties telling what's real and what's not, affecting their social responses and ability to think logically at times.
During an interview with the Public Broadcasting Service, Nash said his periods of paranoia (during which he heard voices) reflected his wishes to have a more influential role in studies and the world. "People are always selling the idea that people who have mental illness are suffering," he said, proposing that mental health disorders are often misunderstood. Nash said he has made adjustments to live with schizophrenia, which allowed him to continue his life work. His struggle with the mental disorder also inspired the award-winning film "A Beautiful Mind" in 2001.
Herschel Walker
Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)
Herschel Walker is a retired professional football player and a former college football player, bobsledder, sprinter and mixed martial artist. He played college football for the University of Georgia, earned consensus All-American honors three times and won the 1982 Heisman Trophy. Walker began his professional football career with the New Jersey Generals of the United States Football League (USFL), before joining the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League (NFL). In the NFL, he also played for the Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999.
In recent years, Herschel Walker, has gone public about his troubles with dissociative identity disorder, a complex mental health disorder. People with DID are influenced by two or more distinct personalities, or identities, which prevent them from acting like themselves. Walker has received treatment for the disorder and wrote a book about his experiences. "I feel the greatest achievement of my life will be to tell the world my truth," he said in an interview with ESPN..
Howard Hughes
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Howard Hughes -- known for his wealth, movie production and aviation skills in the early and mid 1900s -- was always in the spotlight for one thing or another. But, ultimately, he is also remembered for his struggle with obsessive compulsive disorder, a condition that causes a combination of unnatural obsessions, anxiety and compulsions, which usually are acted out in repetitive behaviors.
Unfortunately, Hughes' OCD led to isolation, increased drug use and his own death, according to the British Broadcasting Corporation. Notably, his obsession with cleanliness and reputation as a "germaphobe" were evident in his daily life and interactions with his employees. In one repetitive routine, he made his workers use several facial tissues and rounds of hand-washing just to fetch his hearing-aid cord. His career and personal battle with the disorder inspired the 2004 Oscar-winning film "The Aviator." Anxiety is also no stranger to this next celebrity.
Andrew Koenig
The actor best known for his role as "Boner" on the 1990s sitcom "Growing Pains" battled depression for most of his life. That's what Koenig's father told reporters in February 2010, shortly after Koenig took his own life. According to Koenig's sister, he had recently stopped taking his medication. Koenig's parents have been outspoken about their son's depression, hoping that their message may be able to reach others who are also considering suicide.
In February 2010, Koenig was reported missing by friends and family. He was last seen near a bakery in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on February 14, and missed a scheduled flight back to the United States on February 16, which was the last day he used his cell phone or conducted any banking. On February 25, 2010, a group of 11 of his friends and family members found his body hanging from a tree in Stanley Park in downtown Vancouver. Koenig's father told reporters that his son "took his own life".
Paige Hemmis
As host of ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" from 2004 to 2009, Hemmis was bubbly, compassionate, and always smiling for the camera. But in September 2009, the carpenter and entrepreneur opened up to People about her ongoing struggle with depression that had caused crying fits, eating binges, and insomnia early on in the show's run.
While working on a show like "Extreme Makeover"—which restores and refurbishes damaged or destroyed homes for families in need—is both rewarding and fulfilling, it was also emotionally draining at times, Hemmis said. Both her mother and grandmother also suffered from depression. Hemmis was honored by the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance with the 2009 Rebecca Lynn Cutler Legacy of Life Award and has served as DBSA's celebrity spokesperson.
Tipper Gore
Mary Elizabeth "Tipper" Gore is an author, photographer, and social issues advocate who was Second Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001, and the wife of Al Gore, the 45th Vice President of the United States, from whom she is currently separated. She has advocated for mental health, homelessness, women and children. Gore has also been an LGBT rights activist since her husband was in office, which was rare for a second lady and against her husband's beliefs at the time.
"I know how important good mental health care can be because I personally benefited from it," wrote Gore, the now-estranged wife of Al Gore, in a 1999 USA Today opinion piece. In the article, Gore revealed that she had sought depression treatment years before, after her son had a near-fatal accident. She took medication for some time. "When you get to this point," she said in an interview, "you just can't will your way out of that or pray your way out of that or pull yourself up by the bootstraps out of that. You really have to go and get help, and I did."
Jeret "Speedy" Peterson
Jeret "Speedy" Peterson was an American World Cup aerial skier from Boise, Idaho, skiing out of Bogus Basin. A three-time Olympian, he won the silver medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Peterson was found dead in Lambs Canyon, Utah on July 25, 2011. The cause of death was determined to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Peterson won a silver medal at the 2010 Winter Games, but had fought depression and gambling, and had struggled to stay sober for years, reported People. He discovered skiing during his troubled childhood, and used it as a way to burn off "ADD hellion" energy otherwise spent causing trouble, reported Men's Journal in a 2010 profile on Peterson.
J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter: one of the most recognisable names in the modern world. The boy wizard was largely developed during an episode of severe depression for author J.K. Rowling, who fought her own dementors by creating the magical world of Hogwarts in her tiny Scottish apartment. After a short and catastrophic marriage with Portuguese television journalist Jorge Arantes, J.K. Rowling experienced major clinical depression. After the marriage breakdown she returned to Scotland in the years 1993-1994. Rowling was in her late twenties with a young child to provide for whilst on unemployment benefits.
“I was very frightened of my father for a very long time and also tried desperately to get his approval and make him happy. We were as skint as you can be without being homeless and at that point I was definitely clinically depressed" she said. For Rowling rock bottom wasn’t the end; it opened up new possibilities and eventually led to her success. Her own personal failures gave her energy to work on her passions.
Winston Churchill
Winston Church and Abraham Lincoln are the two most significant political leaders to battle depression. Winston Churchill navigated his country though a radical period of change and was Prime Minister of England during World War II. Churchill had a very distant relationship with this father. Often people with depression don’t have a close relationship with their father, predisposing them to anger or anger turned inward – depression. His first major episode with depression was in 1910, aged 35. Some days he described himself as almost unable to get out of bed, a sign of deep clinical depression. He would also fantasize about jumping in front of an oncoming train when on a platform.
Winston Churchill drank a lot, numbing the pain and self-medicating his depression. He had recurrent bouts of depression but would also experienced periods of hard work which led some historians to speculate if he had bipolar and these bouts occurring in the manic phase. Churchill battled depression for most of his life in various degrees. Toward later stages he had a series of strokes and may have had Alzheimer’s disease which would have contributed to the deterioration of his mental faculties.
Kay Redfield Jamison
Bipolar Disorder
Kay Redfield Jamison is aworld authority on mood disorders, a clinical psychologist, one of the most respected academics in mental health and called a “hero of medicine” by TIME magazine. But while Kay Redfield Jamison has hundreds of accolades, she has also battled bipolar all her life. Her intellect, career and experience with the condition gives her penetrating insight into bipolar, mental health and suicide and what needs to be done to improve awareness and treatment of these conditions.
When she was 28 she attempted suicide. She had stopped taking medication and was profoundly depressed. Kay Redfield Jamison was able to rebound when she was younger but in her late twenties her illness declined for about 18 months and it become intolerable. The problems culminated in taking an overdose of medication. Kay Redfield Jamison is also committed to the continuing destigmatisation of mental illness. She makes an excellent point about destigmatisation being inextricably linked to treatment and research.

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