Celebrating Celebrities with Depression
Depression isn’t choosy. It affects even the most highly successful and driven people. In fact, “Some research suggests that CEOs may be depressed at more than double the rate of the general public.” If that’s the case, imagine what those stats might be for celebrities who live in the public eye.
Depression can be a scary diagnosis for parents and families to navigate. It’s especially discouraging in the cases where depression affects a child’s energy level, depletes motivation for relationships, and makes simple tasks seem really, really big. When a child has depression, the whole family feels it.
How a child’s depression affects the family
Having a child with depression can impact every aspect of family life. For example, it may lead to a less active, less social family life overall. Further, it may even lead to parents feeling a bit depressed themselves when they remember what things were like “before.”
A child’s depression diagnosis can even affect future planning for families. Parents sometimes think things like …
- “Should we even look at camps? My child probably won’t even wind up wanting to go.”
- “I don’t even want to go to the birthday party. It will just be too hard to watch them sitting in the corner.”
- “What is their life going to be like? Is college even going to be in the picture? Will they ever get a good job?”
That’s why we feel it’s so important to share about people who struggle with anxiety, ADHD, autism, and depression, who have reached amazing professional and personal heights anyway. We hope reading a bit about some of our favorite stars will remind you that, with the right care and support, children with depression can grow into highly functional adults who thrive.
Celebrities with Depression
You may be surprised to learn that some of our favorite actors, comedians, and musicians live with depression. It’s true! Here’s a short list of a few of our favorite celebrities with depression.
Jim Carrey is one of America’s (and the world’s) favorite comedians. From The Mask, to Ace Ventura, to Dumb and Dumber, and beyond … Carrey has kept us laughing for over 30 years. And yet, he is one of many celebrities with depression. One of the most famous Carey quotes about depression:
Your body needs … deep rest from the character you’ve been trying to play.
We really like this quote because it reminds us that children are in a constant state of character-swapping. It’s truly exhausting trying to negotiate how you feel against who you want to be. Identity-shaping is an exhausting and emotionally messy business. It’s not wonder that it’s harder and more energy-depleting for certain kids.
We also really appreciate this vulnerable on-camera description Carrey shared about his experience of depression.
Ellen DeGeneres is another comedian sweetheart who, off-stage battles with depression. For almost 20 years, DeGeneres has walked on stage to spread a message of kindness and joy while experiencing intermittent feelings of despair, hopelessness, and exhaustion. What we can surmise from what Ellen has publicly shared, much of the depression we’re aware of stems from environmental circumstances … like being bullied. If you have noticed your child acting differently as a result playground bullying, you can probably relate to this experience. The world is full of expectations and pressures and it’s hard for kids and celebrities alike to stand tall and feel positive 100% of the time. Here are a few clips Ellen shared with ladyfirst about the depression she experienced after coming out …
I moved out of L.A., went into a severe depression, started seeing a therapist and had to go on antidepressants for the first time in my life.
Eventually I started meditating, working out and writing again, and I slowly started to climb out of it. I can’t believe I came back from that point. I can’t believe where my life is now.
Everybody’s journey through depression is different. Each celebrity with depression experiences it differently, too. They have different coping mechanisms, treatment plans, and support systems.
Superstar, Lady Gaga, has long-battled depression. Insider journalist, Callie Ahlgrim writes, “… in her new Billboard cover story, (Lady Gaga) was blunt about the intersections of her fame and mental illness.” Lady Gaga has become a huge source of inspiration for girls, women, and people everywhere and yet, the very thought of fame sometimes brings her down.
We think it’s important to remember that sometimes people experience depression not because everything is “going wrong,” but even when everything seems to be going really, really “right.” Lady Gaga shared these reflections in recent interviews …
I used to wake up every day and remember I was Lady Gaga — and then I would get depressed.
She shared this with Vogue in 2018 …
It is a daily effort for me, even during this album cycle, to regulate my nervous system so that I don’t panic over circumstances that to many would seem like normal life situations.
Our big takeaway for families when reading accounts of celebrities with depression …
- Depression looks different for everybody
- The way a person experiences depression can change throughout their lives, especially as they age
- Depression exists outside of circumstances; you can experience it even when you “have it all”
- Depression doesn’t define your future and doesn’t mean you can’t be successful
- Depression can be related to chemical imbalances, hormonal changes, and even environmental circumstances.
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