I was a little hesitant to use the term “mental disorder” for this article. After all, many people still hear that term and think of Jack Nicholson in “One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest” getting electro-shock therapy or Andre's episodes in “Empire.” As someone who has a few disorders (surprise, surprise), I like learning about people in the same boat; not only does it help me relate to them better, it tells me that I'm not alone. It also helps dispel some of the myths about mental disorders-and boy, there are a lot! To that end, here are a few celebrities who “speak out” about their disorders. I know some of the items and links are long, but they're worth reading.
If you meet Howie Mandel on the street, don't try to shake his hand. Either wave or politely nod because many germaphobes find the idea of shaking hands with people they don't know (and sometimes, even people they do know) pretty unsettling. He's been pretty open about how this affects him, which is a good way to use his celebrity to raise awareness about the oft-misunderstood condition. The link above gives more information about the disorder, as does one my articles on AWS (cough, shameless plug, cough).
This Southern chef started having problems with depression and anxiety when she was 19. What I find interesting is that the agoraphobia (fear of public places) that developed with the anxiety disorder may have helped her become the cook that she is-”Some days I could go to the supermarket, but I could never go too far inside. I learned to cook with the ingredients they kept close to the door.” As the cooks among us know, some of the best recipes come from experimentation. Chocolate-cherry crepes, anyone?
He's been very open about his disorder as a way to raise awareness of the fact that ADD/ADHD aren't just “kid's disorders” and that it's very possible for someone with this disorder to be successful beyond their wildest dreams. It's not that we doubted this before so much as that it can be very frustrating when you can't think or learn the way everyone else around you does. As he says, it can be really incapacitating. I have it too, so I feel his pain. Also, he's easy to look at. This isn't related to ADHD, but that doesn't matter. Good-looking men are always relevant. Speaking of which-
This gorgeous man expands on the point I made above. “You get lumped in classes with kids with autism and Down Syndrome, and you look around and say, 'OK, so this is where I'm at.' Or you get put in the typical classes and you say, 'All right, I'm obviously not like these kids either.' So you're kind of nowhere. You're just different.” We're about the same age, so I can relate. Hopefully, it's easier for kids now that more is known about these conditions.
If you've ever seen Sia perform, you can't help but notice that this amazing singer always hides her face. It's not a just gimmick or a way to make her stand out a la Lady Gaga-she does this because she has an extreme amount of social anxiety. After problems with depression in addition to this, she's been able to find a 12-Step program that helps her to manage her anxiety while returning to public life on her own terms. A lot of her work is writing songs for other celebrities like Rhianna and Katy Perry. I think that's great because it would be a shame for all that creativity to go untapped.
I'm not sure how many of you are into football, but I'm mentioning him because I find his condition particularly interesting. He has Dissociative Identity Disorder, also known as Multiple Personality Disorder. In a nutshell, this means that the different roles and personality traits everyone has (angry, sad, upbeat etc) take on a life of their own as opposed to being part of a whole. Here's an interesting (albeit long) explanation: cnn.com.
She's been very upfront about post-partum depression, despite being ragged on by other celebrities. In her book “Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression,” she talks about how she had thoughts of killing herself and her baby and didn't have those nurturing feelings often associated with being a “good mother.” As bad as this experience was for her, it's great to see that she's using this dark stage in her life to help others who may be going through the same thing. You can read more about the condition and her book at the link above.
Slide 13 of this DailyRx article states that she's been dealing with eating disorders since she was 8 years old. If that sounds young, it is-WebMD.com states that, while eating disorders can happen in children, they usually develop in adolescence or early adulthood. To learn more about eating disorders in children and teens, visit the "mental health" section on WebMD.
This comedienne/actress/co-host of “The View” suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder due to an incident she witnessed as a child. Some people think PTSD involves just really bad nightmares or not letting go of bad memories, but that's not even scratching the surface. It happens a lot with veterans, but it can happen with anyone who witnesses or experiences a traumatic event. You can read more about her and the disorder at the link above.
I hope you've enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. I only mentioned living celebrities out of respect, but various types of mental illness are sadly common in the entertainment industry. Who have I missed? What do you think about the way mental illness is portrayed? Were any of these surprising to you? Let's talk. I, for one, find this page interesting: famouspeoplearehuman.com.
Please rate this article