Famous People With Depression
Stories of famous people with depression and other mood disorders. Being a depression sufferer myself, I find it interesting and inspiring to see people deal with their chronic depression. I love seeing what people can do with their lives, despite the agonizing pain they have had to cope with. While we probably all know about Heath Ledger and Kurt Cobain, there are plenty of surprising celebrities with depression, like Harrison Ford.
Jim CarreyIn an interview during 60 Minutes, Mr. Carrey revealed that the inspiration behind his funny-man antics was “desperation.” Like many famous comics, Carrey channeled his emotional pain and scarring into humor. The laughter and attention brought from audiences helps ease the depression comedians feel and soothes their pain. Carrey’s attention getting antics started when he tried to entertain his sick mother. To get her spirits up, he’d do anything from impressions to rolling down the stairs. When he was young, he grasped on to an optimistic dream of making it big. In 1987, he wrote himself a check for ten million dollars “for acting services rendered.” As it turns out, the check was a massive underestimate of what he ended up making when he cashed the check 1995. As financial worries lessened, so did his depression symptoms. He has since learned to better cope with his sadness and he says the valleys and peaks have gradually smoothed out a bit. While he used to take Prozac to help stabilize his mood, he now focuses on treatment through spirituality and clean living.
Rodney Dangerfield“If a really good comedian isn’t depressed,” says Bob Saget, “something’s wrong.” Rodney Dangerfield is no exception to this rule. Around the end of his life, he attended regular therapy sessions with his psychiatrist and took around 137 prescription drugs a day, including anti-depressants and Valium.
Rodney’s father abandoned the family when he was a child and he was instead raised by a cold-hearted mother.
He found an outlet in writing jokes, and even remembers the first one. At age 4, Dangerfield finished dinner and whined, “I’m still hungry.”He has had wild mood swings throughout his career and tried to escape the pain and suffering in every way imaginable, including prostitutes and drugs. His wife helped pull him through to the end, but he still experienced these problems until the end of his days.
“You’ve had sufficient,” replied his mom.
“But,” said Rodney, “I didn’t even have any fish.”
J.K. RowlingJ.K. Rowling will be the first to tell you about the hardships of being a single parent. In fact, in her darkest hour, she strongly contemplated suicide while suffering from a massive bout of depression. She missed her ex-husband and worried about finances, that’s when the dark thoughts started coming out. Fortunately, her daughter was there to inspire her to seek treatment: Mid-twenties life circumstances were poor and I really plummeted,” said Rowling. “The thing that made me go for help . . . was probably my daughter. She was something that earthed me, grounded me, and I thought, this isn’t right, this can’t be right, she cannot grow up with me in this state.”
Rowling opted too treat her depression with cognitive therapy rather than anti-depressants. This type of therapy seeks to cure the emotional problem, rather than treating it. The therapy involves a series of counseling sessions providing the sufferer with the mental tools to cope with their emotions. Rowling has been very forthright about her disorder in the hope she can help remove the stigma associated with mental illnesses.
Owen WilsonMany people already know about Owen Wilson’s depression. After all, his attempted suicide took over all the tabloid headlines at their local grocery stores two years ago. But, you may still be wondering why.
The fact is, like millions of other Americans, Wilson is clinically depressed and will be throughout his lifetime. He has been battling depression by taking anti-depressants for years, however, breaking up with Kate Hudson pushed him beyond the effects of his medication and made him feel hopeless. While it has been debated whether Wilson was taking cocaine or heroin around this time, the fact is that either way, a major life change can dramatically endanger a depression sufferer
Brooke ShieldsMrs. Shields is a perfect example of how beauty does not equal happiness. While not a lifelong depression sufferer, she has been very vocal about her experience with postpartum depression, an illness experienced by 13% of pregnant women and new mothers. Her book “Down Came The Rain” describes her experiences in detail.
Like many postpartum depression sufferers, she experienced a detachment from her baby daughter and self-destructive thoughts. At her lowest point, Brooke says she wanted to jump out of a window and throw the baby against a wall. Brooke began taking Paxil to cope with her emotions and eventually recovered. She now has a very close relationship with her daughter.
After being criticized by Tom Cruise for her use of anti-depressants, Brooke published an essay in the “New York Times” detailing the need for global recognition of postpartum depression and the use of anti-depressants for treatment.
In a 2008 interview, Adam Duritz revealed that during the peak of his fame as lead singer for the group Counting Crows he suffered from mental illness, including severe depression.
Ashley Judd, actress and daughter/half-sister of the singing duo The Judds, revealed in 2006 that she had suffered from depression and an eating disorder.
American musician from the band The Smashing Pumpkins, reported to have suffered from deep depression while working hard on the band's albums.
A profile of the musician Billy Joel and his struggles with depression.
An article about the Russian president Boris Yeltsin, his depression, and his rumored alcohol problems.
In recent years, astronaut Buzz Aldrin has spoken frankly about his past depression and alcohol abuse.
In 2008, Delta Burke, best known for her role on the TV series Designing Women, spoke candidly about her depression and hospitalization during an interview with The Insider.
Diana, Princess of Wales
A profile of Diana, Princess of Wales and her struggles with depression and eating disorders.
In an interview with Access Hollywood's Nancy O'Dell, comedian and host of The Price Is Right Drew Carey revealed a darker side of himself. “I was depressed for a long time,” said Carey. So depressed that at the age of 18 and again in his 20's he attempted to take his own life by overdosing on pills.
Nanny McPhee star Emma Thompson has revealed that in the past she suffered from depression, brought on by her attempts to conceive via in vitro fertilization.
A profile of the actor Harrison Ford and his struggles with depression.
Prior to his 2008 overdose, Aussie actor Heath Ledger, star of the gay romance movie Brokeback Mountain, suffered from depression, insomnia and addiction.
Hugh Laurie, the multi-talented British actor who portrays the tortured genius Dr. Greg House on Fox's hit medical drama House, admitted in a 2007 interview that he was suffering from depression.
Project Runway winner Jeffrey Sebelia once battled depression and came close to committing suicide.
When Denver's career fell into a slump in the '80s, he found himself alone without a wife, and began developing a serious problem with depression and alcohol.
Best known as the lead singer and guitarist for the grunge band Nirvana, Kurt Cobain died of a gunshot wound at the age of 27. The official cause of death is listed as suicide.
Marie Osmond was one of the first celebrities to speak out about the reality of postpartum depression.
Mark Roget, the creator of Roget's Thesaurus, found at an early age that making lists of words helped him to cope with his depression.
Newscaster Mike Wallace showed us that even men, who often believe they must be strong and not show vulnerability, can become depressed.
Speaking with the Australian Women's Weekly magazine, singer Olivia Newton-John revealed that she had struggled with depression following the disappearance of her long-time partner Patrick McDermott.
In an interview with Q magazine, Fall Out Boy bassist and songwriter Pete Wentz revealed that he has bipolar disorder.
Comedian Richard Jeni, best known for appearances on the Tonight Show and his HBO comedy specials, died on March 10, 2007 from what appeared to be suicide.
Although diagnosed later in life with clinical depression, Dangerfield believed that it began early in his life due to a father who abandoned him and a mother whose cruel remarks made him feel worthless.
During her tenure on The View, Rosie O'Donnell discussed her depression following the Columbine High School shooting and how she currently uses inversion therapy to help control her depression.
A profile of musician Sheryl Crow and her experiences with depression.
A profile of the football great Terry Bradshaw and his struggles with depression.
Thomas F. Eagleton
In 1972, when depression was much more stigmatized than it is now, Sen. Eagleton, who at the time was the running mate of presidential candidate George McGovern, held a press conference to reveal that he had been treated for depression and had received ECT (electroconvulsive therapy). He eventually left the ticket.
Vincent Van Gogh
An article about the artist Vincent Van Gogh and his depression.
An essay about the depression of Winston Churchill.