Depression may be something difficult to admit with the stigma around mental health and mental illness. However, depression is quite common. It is so common that estimates say that at least 17.3 million adults in the United States have been depressed at some point in their life. That number may be higher because the stigma often leads to underreporting. Just about 8.7% of women compared to about 5.3% of men are diagnosed with depression.
5 Celebrities That Have Dealt with Depression
Here are five celebrities that have depression or have dealt with depression at some point in their lives. Celebrities may be even more at risk because they sacrafice their normalcy and their privacy. Some may find it difficult to know who to trust or who is looking for a pay day. There may be pressure to keep going even when your stress is high and your body is calling for you to slow down.
Five celebrities speak up in attempt to remove the stigma around mental illness and norrmalize the struggle with mental illness. This is important if more people struggling with depression are to reach out and get help. Hopefully, their openness can help you realize that it is okay to get help, if you need it.
The pop star had quite the amount of trigger and life transitions. She spent a great deal of her childhood in the spotlight and having to grow up under that scrutiny may be difficult for a young person
“[Depression is] more of an issue than people really want to talk about. Because people don’t know how to talk about being depressed—that it’s totally okay to feel sad. I went through a time where I was really depressed. Like, I locked myself in my room and my dad had to break my door down.” It isn’t uncommon to isolate and withdraw from others when you are depressed. “And every person can benefit from talking to somebody. I’m the most antimedication person, but some people need medicine, and there was a time where I needed some too.”
“I found that, with depression, one of the most important things you could realize is that you’re not alone,” Dwayne Johnson spoke, “You’re not the first to go through it; you’re not going to be the last to go through it.” This is the most common feeling that you are alone but you aren’t if you realize that others have struggled and come out on the other side of this.
“And oftentimes—it happens—you just feel like you’re alone. You feel like it’s only you. You’re in your bubble. And I wish I had someone at that time who could just pull me aside and [say], ‘Hey, it’s gonna be OK. It’ll be OK.’ So, I wish I knew that.” Finding support when you are depressed is difficult for some. But, finding someone to remind you that you aren’t alone and that will listen and be a sounding board can be super helpful.
Setbacks are a common trigger to depression. “It was just one dead end after another,” Nicki Minaji shares, “At one point, I was, like, ‘What would happen if I just didn’t wake up?’ That’s how I felt. Like, ‘Maybe I should just take my life” These thoughts of suicide or planning are common with those who are depressed. However, many may be able to work through depression before it gets to that point.
“It’s so difficult to describe [depression] to someone who’s never been there, because it’s not sadness,” J.K. told Oprah Winfrey. “But it’s that cold absence of feeling — that really hollowed-out feeling.” What Rowling describes sounds a lot like feeling numb. It’s more than being sad, it’s not being able to enjoy the positive moments in front of you. It’s not feeling anything bad or good or just being flooded with bad feelings and not seeing an upside.
The duchess of susex received a lot of criticism over her claims of depression and thoughts of suicide but difficult transitions can be a big trigger to depression. Being isolated from those who are supportive and that love you or withdrawing from that, can increase your feelings of loneliness, which is a big precurser to depression. Pregnancy can increase these odds with hormones being in flux and can also occur after a pregnancy.
“Look, I was really ashamed to say it at the time and ashamed to have to admit it, to Harry especially, because I know how much loss he’s suffered. But I knew that if I didn’t say it that I would do it—and I just didn’t want to be alive anymore. And that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought.
Depression Is Not a Cry For Attention; More than just sadness. Symtomology.
Depression is more than just feeling sad or attention seeking. Depression can look like a cluster of these symptoms (symptoms must last at least two weeks and include a change in your previous level of functioning for a diagnosis of depression):
- pulling away from others and enjoyable activities
- sleep impairment (Insomnia or increased sleep, ie. not wanting to get out of bed)
- suicial thoughts or planning
- decision impairment
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue
- Feelings of worthlessness
- compassion fatigue (First responders)
- Feeling isolated or alone (not being able to see loved ones)
- headaches, body pains, stomach problems, and skin rashes (most common in children)
- Over Indulgence in substance abuse
- decreased libido or engagement in sexual activities
There could be any number of triggers. For instance, losing a love one or grieving some kind of loss, pregnancy (post-partem), loss of job or purpose, a loss in identity, a sudden medical or mental health diagnosis, not seeing loved ones or feeling more alone. As you can probably see, a number of these seem to be present in an all time high.
“Grief and depression can co-exist. A death of a loved one, losing a job or being a victim of a physical assault or a major disaster can lead to depression. When grief and depression co-occur, the grief is more severe and lasts longer than grief without depression (American Psychiatric Association).
The pandemic and current painful climate can be triggering a number of these symptoms among people. Depression doesn’t discriminate. The people effected can be struggling with other stressors already. On the other hand, it could be those, who have been relatively mentally and physically healthy all their lives. With the uncertainty that lies right now, for all of us, it’s no wonder that numbers are increasing.
Risk Factors for Depression
(American Psychiatric Association)
Still there is a stigma around mental health. Those who may need it the most may be afraid to reach other and likewise the number of people needing help are increasing every day taxing an already full client list for many counselors. This may mean longer wait times to get connected to mental health providers and those who may not be able to get help right away.
Environmental factors can include exposure to violence, neglect, abuse, or poverty. The more environmental factors someone has, the greater possibility that they can become depressed. Other than environmental or eventful triggers, what else can determine if I will become depressed? Well, some people may have a higher biochemistry that predisposes them to become depressed. It can be something they inherit from family members who also struggle with depression. Someone who is overly pessimistic, or isn’t good under stress (or may become stressed more easily) or seem to have a lower self worth may find themselves increasingly at risk.
Get Help (Treatment):
Now, that you are aware that you are not alone and depression is common, lets talk about treatment options. You can treat depression by use of talk therapy (counseling) or medication (SSRIs) or a combination of the two. Each person is different so finding the right combination for you may take some time.
What can I do on my own?
While you wait, you can look into increasing self care habits. This may mean the practice of positive self talk or affirmations, meditation or deep breathing, reducing the over-indulgence in sleep, food, or alcohol/drugs. It could also mean journaling or talking with friends or support groups. Another way to help is by changing your enviorment and becoming active. You can do both of these by getting outdoors and walking. Fresh air can also help and would be a good time to practice belly breathing exercises.
Disclaimer: You are not alone. If you’re thinking about hurting yourself or just need someone to talk to right now, you can get support by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or by texting HOME to 741-741, the Crisis Text Line. Other Resources
Remember Depression is common and treatable. It’s okay to not be okay. So, reach out, get help, and live your best life.
Related Music: Marshmellow & Demi Lovato “OK Not To Be OK”