The mental state of a person is quite important for his or her general well-being. Mental status not only helps ensure the person’s alertness and cognitive balance, but also helps him or her to deal with the stress and other challenges in life. Mental health is the psychological well-being that functions at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral aspects of a person’s life. In short, your brain is everything. Thank the lord if you are blessed with good mental health because there are people, who are struggling with different brain disorders in their day to day lives. Though such cases are in millions around the world, today, we are here to tell you about few people, who not only survived their mental illness problem but also, showed the world the kind of extraordinary things they could do. So, here goes the list of 12 such famous people with mental illness.
Also Read: 12 Famous People With Autism
12 Famous People With Mental Illness
No matter how physically fit you are as a person, if you are suffering from mental illness in any form, you will not be able to deal well, especially, relationships with the people around you. In short, you will find it hard to carry out your normal daily life routines. Having an unstable mental condition can also affect you emotionally and physically, thereby, leading to grave results like substance abuse or even death. According to WHO (World Health Organization), almost half of the world’s population suffers from mental illnesses.
Mental illness doesn’t care if you are rich or poor. It doesn’t care about your sex or age. It doesn’t care whether you are well-known or just the average Joe. It doesn’t care about anyone. Even the most famous people who are well-known in their fields have been subjected to and treated for different types of mental illnesses. Just like a normal person, they have also struggled and fought it with great effort. Some were successful in the battle while others were not.
Here is the list of 12 famous people with mental illness:
1. Buzz Aldrin
After Neil Armstrong, he was the second person to step on the moon (on July 21, 1969 at 03:15:16 UTC). He graduated at West Point in 1951 and was third in his class with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Aldrin also served as a US Air Force Officer and a Command Pilot where he worked during the Korean War. His career started when he was selected as a member of the third group in NASA astronauts for the Gemini mission. Aldrin married 3 times and had 3 children with his first marriage. Aldrin’s fight with depression and alcoholism had been recorded in Magnificent Desolation, a book regarding his journey to the moon which he co-authored.
2. Ludwig van Beethoven
Beethoven is famous for his compositions which include 1 violin concerto, 5 piano concerto, 9 symphonies, 16 string quartets and 32 piano sonatas. With these compositions, it is not a question as to why he is considered as one of the most important persons in the history of music. Great as he was, Beethoven had a series of failed relationships with the women he loved because of his social class. He also had a failed relationship with his nephew Karl who he helped raise, however, they have reconciled before he died. It had been said that Beethoven suffered from bipolar disorder and was also an alcoholic. He was short-tempered and he even considered suicide during his early twenties. This information was recorded in his Heiligenstadt Testament.
3. Jim Carrey
Hard to see Jim Carry in the list of famous people with mental illness, isn’t it? Who would have thought that an entertaining and popular actor like Jim suffered from a disorder too? This famous Canadian-American actor had been open about his ordeal with the whole mental illness thing. While he was still struggling to make a name for himself, his father was able to get him an act at a comedy club called Yuk Yuk’s. Though, one of the greatest impersonators of today, Jim Carrey’s impersonations at that time failed. He questioned his abilities to perform and the added financial constraints of his family added to his burden.
When he was cast to play the lead role in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective in 1994, his life began to change. He rose to fame and landed on a lot of acclaimed roles. However, his fame didn’t come without a price; he had several failed relationships. Carry fought depression and he was open enough to share that he took Prozac to help him deal with it. He already said that he stopped taking medications and avoided stimulants.
4. Judy Collins
Collins is a very popular American singer and actress. Her music genre includes folk, country, rock-n-roll and pop. She debuted at an early age of 13 while performing Mozart’s Concerto for two Pianos. After several years, she became famous and well-known all throughout as a folk singer. Her biggest success came in 1975 through her bestselling album Judith where she covered for Stephen Sondheim’s “Send in the Clowns”.
Collins started having mental illness when she stopped smoking in 1970s and suffered from Bulimia. She also suffered from alcohol addiction which she put into writing. She confessed how it ruined her relationship with the people around her as well as her music career. She also suffered from depression and admitted that she tried drugs. She attended a rehabilitation program in Pennsylvania in 1978 and kept the status of her mental state ever since.
5. Janet Jackson
Being the youngest child of the Jackson family, she is a popular figure in the music industry as a great singer, song writer as well as an actress. She has sold 160 million records which made her one of the best-selling musicians in contemporary music. Due to her life struggles and crisis, she had an emotional breakdown. Jackson suffered from anxiety and severe depression which inspired her sixth album, The Velvet Rope. She also struggled from anorexia, physical abuse, self-hatred and body dysmorphia.
6. Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens is a famed English writer with popular works like Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, A Christmas Carol and A Tale of Two Cities among others. At the age of 20, Dickens enjoyed popular entertainment and mimicry. He was drawn to theater and though he was supposed to audition for a play, he wasn’t able to because of a cold. He submitted his first story “A Dinner at Poplar Walk” in 1833 to Monthly Magazine, a London Periodical. In his mid-thirties, he had everything that any man could ever ask for. He had wealth, wife and fame. He suffered depression after the birth of his son. This must have also been triggered by quite a traumatic childhood for the young Dickens where he grew up working in a factory after his father was imprisoned. His first work that he had troubles with was “The Chimes” in 1844. After which, friends closer to him observed that he became withdrawn and down every time he started to write a new story. However, his mood would also elevate in the process of writing which resulted to some kind of mania at the end of every story. This must have been the reason why he separated from his wife.
7. J.K. Rowling
Next on the list of famous people with illness is J.K. Rowling. Famous for being the author of the very much famed boy wizard, Harry Potter, Rowling has lived a “rags to riches” life story. From pure talent in writing, she became multi-millionaire after living on state benefits for quite awhile. After graduating from the university, Rowling reflected on her life and thought to herself that she was a failure. She was a single mother to a dependent child because her marriage had failed. By this time, Rowling had been clinically diagnosed with depression and she even attempted to commit suicide. Though depression almost ruined her life, Rowling claimed that the failure she experienced allowed her to focus more on writing.
8. Abraham Lincoln
Lincoln is perhaps one of the greatest, if not the greatest, of all American Presidents. He served the state as the 16th president from March 1861 until April 1865 when he was assassinated. One of his popular speeches, Gettysburg Address, has become the most important and well-loved speech of all time as it hit important points on liberty, democracy, equal rights, nationalism and republicanism.
Though Lincoln may have lead the United States of America through one of the most difficult times that the state had suffered from, Lincoln had his own personal sufferings as well. He suffered from major and severe depression. It has been said that both his mother and father’s side families have members who suffer from depression. The president even collapsed at one point when he was in a state of too much sadness and wasn’t able to deal with it well. Friends of Lincoln named him as “the most depressed person they’ve ever seen”.
9. Catherine Zeta-Jones
This pretty Welsh actress is not immune to mental illness as well. Very successful in her chosen field, Zeta-Jones was an acclaimed and a highly regarded actress with several awards under her name. It was in April 2011 when Zeta-Jones checked herself at Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, Connecticut to have treatment for bipolar II disorder. Further in 2013, she checked herself again at a different health care facility for further treatment of the same disorder.
10. Diana, Princess of Wales
Even royalties are not susceptible to mental illnesses. Princess Di, herself, suffered a great deal from this illness. Due to her royal status and the breakdown of her marriage with Prince Charles, Diana suffered from depression and an eating disorder called Bulimia. She admitted to these illnesses as well as aggressive behaviors directed towards herself.
Several people may conclude that the Princess of Wales suffered from a borderline personality disorder. This disorder is characterized by extreme reactions, unstable relationships, impulsive and dangerous behaviors, recurring suicidal ideas, unstable self-worth, paranoia and chronic feelings of emptiness which most were seen manifested on the late princess, however, this was not medically diagnosed.
11. Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson had been winning several Oscars and is one of the most well-known and highly regarded actors in the movie industry. Contrary to what people saw on-screen, Gibson is fighting a serious battle with bipolar disorder. He admitted in 2008 that he was a manic depressive and had periods of “really good highs but some very low lows”. Gibson also confessed that he was an alcohol abuse and he had been drinking since he was 13. On July 2006, he was arrested for over speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol. Due to this, the state ordered him to go to self-help meetings for the first year of his probation.
12. Brooke Shields
Don’t be surprised to see Brooke Shields on the list of famous people with mental illness. She is an American actress whose depression came after she gave birth to her daughter in 2013. What Shields suffered from was a kind of depression called as post-partum depression. She experienced melancholy, suicidal thoughts and the inability to respond to her baby’s needs. This must have been triggered by emotional stress as her father had died three weeks before childbirth (a traumatic labor and delivery). In response to this experience, Shields authored a book titled, Down Came the Rain to share her experience and make the public aware of post-partum depression.
These 12 personalities are just few of the many famous people who suffered from mental illnesses. Some of them are still fighting their respective illnesses while some have already overcome their depressions and disorders. One of the best parts that they are doing to fight these mental illnesses is that they are using their fame and popularity to let the people know about these and save lives through awareness.
We may not be famous people and we are just normal human beings, but rest assured that we can also have ways to help the people with mental illnesses. Mentally ill people have difficult journeys because their number one enemy is not others but their own selves, so the best way for us to help them is to offer our support. Moral and emotional support are a great way for them to know that they have someone else to turn to when they feel down at times due to depression or to have someone to talk to when crazy ideas such as suicidal thoughts come in their way. Mental illness is not an enemy that can defeat us, we should be the one to defeat it on our end.