Anxiety and depression do not discriminate. As we enter Mental Health Awareness week Lumity is taking a look at some of the celebrities who have revealed their own struggles to inspire others to do the same.
With studies showing that two thirds of British adults suffer from mental health issues at some point in their lives, the topic is a very real one.
But the harmful stigma that is still attached to this particular problem often prevents people from seeking help.
From postpartum depression to bipolar disorder, anxiety to addiction, these stars have suffered in one form or another and have opened up about their battles in a bid to help others and prove it can happen to anyone.
One of the most crucial things for someone who is feeling depressed, anxious and stressed is to talk about how they feel – so that they can seek help.
Chrissy revealed that she suffered from postpartum depression after the birth of her first child.
She said: “I also just didn’t think it could happen to me. I have a great life. I have all the help I could need: John, my mother (who lives with us), a nanny.
“But postpartum does not discriminate. I couldn’t control it. And that’s part of the reason it took me so long to speak up: I felt selfish, icky, and weird saying aloud that I’m struggling. Sometimes I still do.”
Adele suffers from depression and said after the birth of her son it got worse.
The star explained: “I can slip in and out of [depression] quite easily. I had really bad postpartum depression after I had my son, and it frightened me,” she said. “I didn’t talk to anyone about it. I was very reluctant. Four of my friends felt the same way I did, and everyone was too embarrassed to talk about it.”
The singer has bravely admitted that she couldn’t cope when she became famous.
She said: ”I started having panic attacks, and the scariest part was it could be triggered by anything.
“I used to cover my face with a pillow whenever I had to walk outside from the car to the studio. My new life as a pop star certainly wasn’t as glamorous as all my friends from home thought. Secretly, I was really struggling physically and emotionally.”
The British royal sought help after two decades of “total chaos”.
At the age of 28 Prince Harry felt “very close to a complete breakdown” having “shut down all” of his emotions for almost two decades following the death of his mother, Princess Diana.
With the help of a therapist he came though the other side and admits: “The experience that I have is that once you start talking about it, you suddenly realise that actually, you’re part of quite a big club.”
The ‘Harry Potter’ author has been frank about suffering with depression.
She has said: “It’s so difficult to describe [depression] to someone who’s never been there, because it’s not sadness. But it’s that cold absence of feeling – that really hollowed-out feeling.”
Demi Lovato has been an outspoken advocate for mental health, having suffered from bipolar, bulimia and addiction.
She even produced a documentary about mental health called ‘Beyond Silence’.
“It’s very important we create conversations, we take away the stigma, and that we stand up for ourselves if we’re dealing with the symptoms of a mental illness. It is possible to live well and thrive with a mental illness.”
The actress, entrepreneur and mum-of-two has been frank about that fact that it wasn’t until after she had recovered that she realised that she had suffered postpartum depression.
This is often the case, because when you are depressed it can become your ‘new normal’ and you don’t have the energy to realise that there’s a problem, or to seek help.
Often, just getting out of bed can seem like a mammoth effort.
Gwyneth explains: “I felt like a zombie. I couldn’t access my heart. I couldn’t access my emotions. I couldn’t connect. I thought postpartum depression meant you were sobbing every single day and incapable of looking after a child.
“But there are different shades of it and depths of it, which is why I think it’s so important for women to talk about it. It was a trying time. I felt like a failure.”
Mariah Carey has just spoken out about being diagnosed for bipolar disorder in 2001 when she was hospitalised for a physical and mental health breakdown.
She didn’t actually seek help until recently because she was, “in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me.”
Mariah added: “I’m hopeful we can get to a place where the stigma is lifted from people going through anything alone. It can be incredibly isolating. It does not have to define you and I refuse to allow it to define me or control me.”
The model revealed she felt guilty for being depressed.
“I was so ashamed of how I felt because I had such a privileged upbringing. I’m very lucky. But I had depression. I had moments where I didn’t want to carry on living. But then the guilt of feeling that way and not being able to tell anyone because I shouldn’t feel that way just left me feeling blame and guilt.”
The Oscar-nominated actress wrote about her struggles with depression and bulimia in her memoir ‘This is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare’.
“I just accepted depression as something that’s part of my anatomy. It’s part of my chemistry, it’s part of my biology. When it’s too big for me to just turn around on my own, I see a therapist.”
Emma has been open about the crippling anxiety she’s suffered since she was a child.
“I was a very, very, very anxious child, and I had a lot of panic attacks,” she said on a US talk show where she also shared a photo of a “little green monster” she had drawn to represent her anxiety when she was nine-years-old.
“If I listen to [the monster] enough, it crushes me,” she’s revealed. “But if I turn my head and keep doing what I’m doing — let it speak to me, but don’t give it the credit it needs — then it shrinks down and fades away.”
Sarah Silverman says that people use words like panic attack without understanding what it means:
She explains: “People use ‘panic attack’ very casually out here in Los Angeles. But I don’t think most of them really know what it is. Every breath is laboured. You are dying. You are going to die.
“It’s terrifying. And then when the attack is over, the depression is still there.”
But she has an important message for those that are struggling with depression:
“I wouldn’t wish depression on anyone,” the comic writer said.
“But if you ever experience it, or are experiencing it right now, just know that on the other side, the little joys in life will be that much sweeter. The tough times, the days when you’re just a ball on the floor-they’ll pass. You’re playing the long game and life is totally worth it.”
The ‘Mad Men’ actor entered rehab for alcohol abuse in 2015 and has been open about his battle with depression and how therapy has helped.
“Medical attention is medical attention whether it’s for your elbow or for your teeth or for your brain. We live in a world where to admit anything negative about yourself is seen as a weakness, when it’s actually a strength.
“It’s not a weak move to say, ‘I need help.’ In the long run, it’s way better, because you have to fix it.”
The star says no amount of cash can stop depression.
She revealed: “You can’t pay enough money to cure that feeling of being broken and confused. It’s not like every day’s been great ever since. You have good days and bad days, and depression’s something that, y’know, is always with you.”
The singer told journalists that she has PTSD after being raped when she was in her late teens. She made the revelation while visiting a homeless center for LGBT youths in 2016.
“I told the kids today that I suffer from a mental illness,” she said after her visit. “I suffer from PTSD. I’ve never told anyone that before, so here we are. But the kindness that’s shown to me by doctors as well as my family, and my friends, it’s really saved my life.”
Kristen is an advocate for mental health and struggles with depression and anxiety herself.
She says: “Anxiety and depression are impervious to accolades or achievements. Anyone can be affected, despite their level of success or their place on the food chain.
“It’s important for me to be candid about this so people in a similar situation can realise that they are not worthless and that they do have something to offer. We all do.”
If you are struggling from feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness and sadness there are a number of charities online that exist to help and advise you in confidence and free of charge. We will happily email you a list if you’re suffering and not sure where to turn.
If in doubt – seek face to face medical advice.