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7 celebrities who have struggled with depression

These famous faces have spoken openly and honestly about their battle with mental health.

20 December 2016
by The Clicks Health Team

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 350 million people around the world suffer from depression. Unfortunately, the social stigma often associated with mental health issues means that many people don’t talk about their condition or even seek help for it. 

These celebrities have bravely stood up to share their experiences with depression, so that others who suffer from the disease can feel less judged and more accepted as they tackle their own personal battles. 

1. Kerry Washington

“I think it's really important to take the stigma away from mental health.”

Known as the problem-solving Olivia Pope in Scandal, Kerry Washington’s rise to popularity after her role in the 2004 movie Ray proved to be a difficult time for the actress. “Suddenly I was losing my anonymity, and I became really scared, scared of my career,” she said in an interview with Essence magazine. “I felt trapped and powerless, as if I had put myself in a corner." 

At the same time that her career was taking off, the actress’s mother was also diagnosed with breast cancer and she found herself experiencing anxiety and depression.

2. Lady Gaga

"I’ve suffered through depression and anxiety my entire life, I still suffer with it every single day."

Having struggled with depression and anxiety while growing up, and following her quick rise to mega-fame, the singer was inspired to start the Born This Way Foundation in 2012 to support young fans affected by abuse, bullying and depression. 

“I just want these kids to know that that depth that they feel as human beings is normal. We were born that way. This modern thing, where everyone is feeling shallow and less connected? That‘s not human,” she told Billboard magazine.

3. Cara Delevingne

"I got to the point where I went a bit mad. I was completely suicidal, I didn't want to live any more." 

At the age of 15, supermodel Cara Delevingne says she experienced depression, anxiety and self-hatred due to the overwhelming pressure to do well in school, as well as her mother’s drug addiction.

Signing a modeling contract two years later also affected her mental health. She was exhausted and overworked, and contemplating suicide. At the advice of a friend, Delevingne took time off and sought help through writing and yoga, and decided to focus on developing an acting career, something she had always been passionate about. 

4. Jon Hamm

“I did do therapy and antidepressants for a brief period, which helped me.”

The star of the hit series Mad Men has suffered from chronic depression since losing his father at the age of 20. This event took a toll on the young man whose mother had passed away 10 years earlier. The actor has spoken candidly about how his work and school routines played a positive role in his recovery, as did therapy and medication. 

“Antidepressants help,” he told The Guardian, “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 to work and…' Reset the auto-meter, kick-start the engine!"

5. J.K Rowling

“[My depression] was characterised by a numbness, a coldness and an inability to believe you will feel happy again. All the colour drained out of life.”

While creating the magical world of Hogwarts and Harry Potter in the early 90s, author J.K Rowling was a single mother with financial problems; a situation that had her grappling with clinical depression. In fact, the condition inspired the “dementors” – faceless creatures in her books that sucked out the souls and happiness of those around them. 

Rowling sought professional help and later returned to therapy after her books became a phenomenon and she felt overwhelmed by the attention and demands. 

6. Bonnie Mbuli

“I realised there is still a stigma around depression. It is still seen as a sign of weakness, and as a white man’s disease.”

The South African actress grew up experiencing stress and anxiety at the hands of a depressed single mother. In 2008, while Mbuli was struggling to launch her career abroad and suffering from panic attacks, she was also diagnosed with the condition. 

“The trauma of my childhood had caused so much psychological and emotional damage that, over time, it translated into physical symptoms, and insufficient serotonin was causing my clinical imbalance,” she explains in her courageous memoir, Eyebags and Dimples.

7. Selena Gomez

“I had to stop because I had everything... and I was absolutely broken inside.”

In 2014, the singer and former Disney star was diagnosed with lupus, an auto-immune disease whose side effects often include anxiety, panic attacks and depression. To deal with these mental health issues, Gomez took time off from touring.  

“I want to be proactive and focus on maintaining my health and happiness and have decided that the best way forward is to take some time off,” she said in a statement to her fans. “I know I am not alone by sharing this, I hope others will be encouraged to address their own issues.”

IMAGE CREDIT: 123rf.com

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