Celebrities You Didn’t Know Have Battled With Anxiety or Depression
Some celebrities try to keep their private lives to themselves. But more and more are opening up about the biggest issues concerning their lives. This includes famous people who have openly discussed needing marijuana for their health, along with those who have struggled with anxiety or depression.
Yes, even the rich and famous have to deal with mental illness. Here are 25 celebrities that have talked about their battle.
1. Emma Stone
The actress grew up experiencing anxiety and panic attacks. Her parents took her to a therapist for it. However her local youth theater proved to be a great escape for her. She explained exactly what her attacks felt like to The Wall Street Journal.
It was really bad. The first time I had a panic attack I was sitting in my friend’s house, and I thought the house was burning down. I called my mom and she brought me home, and for the next three years it just would not stop. I would go to the nurse at lunch most days and just wring my hands. I would ask my mom to tell me exactly how the day was going to be, then ask again 30 seconds later. I just needed to know that no one was going to die and nothing was going to change.
She went on to explain why acting is therapeutic for her. “There’s something about the immediacy of acting,” Stone continued. “You can’t afford to think about a million other things. You have to think about the task at hand. Acting forces me to sort of be like a Zen master: What is happening right in this moment?”
2. Zayn Malik
The former One Direction member has gone solo, but since then his career has had a bumpy road. This is because he canceled some of his tour dates due to anxiety. The good thing is that he has opened up about it, which probably also helps his fans who also deal with anxiety. After canceling one of his dates he posted the following message.
The singer is a powerhouse who is able to move her audience by just standing in one spot and belting it out on stage. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t feel the pressure to bring it every time she steps on stage. It takes a lot of courage for her to do what she does.
“I’m scared of audiences,” she told Rolling Stone. “One show in Amsterdam I was so nervous, I escaped out the fire exit. I’ve thrown up a couple of times. Once in Brussels, I projectile vomited on someone. I just gotta bear it. But I don’t like touring. I have anxiety attacks a lot.”
Surprisingly to get over her anxiety and panic attacks she has turned to one celebrity for inspiration. She said that once when she was hysterically crying, she asked herself, “‘What would Sasha Fierce do?'” which is of course, Beyoncé’s alter ego.
4. Sarah Silverman
The comedian might be able to laugh things off, but she has actually dealt with depression and anxiety. She talked about it with Glamour, “Once, my stepdad asked me, ‘What does [depression] feel like?’ And I said, ‘It feels like I’m desperately homesick, but I’m home.'”
She started struggling with this when she just 13. She went on to talk about how many people trivialize this tough condition. “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 labored. You are dying. You are going to die. It’s terrifying. And then when the attack is over, the depression is still there.”
5. John Mayer
The musician talked openly about growing up with anxiety. He also had a childhood friend who was struggling and ended up getting sent to a mental institution. This really scared Mayer. “I would get anxiety attacks too,” he told Rolling Stone, “and we would talk each other down. It was heart palpitations, shortness of breath, coldness and shivers, strange stuff, and we’d be like, ‘You’re totally fine. You’re not having a heart attack.’ His mind works at such speed that I think he would sort of second-guess his sanity at times.”
Growing up, the singer was very dedicated to his work. But he also ended up canceling dates due to his acne and “an anxiety bender.” He would often isolate himself.
6. Lena Dunham
The Girls creator recently had her character, Hanna struggle on-screen with OCD. But this wasn’t a random device to make her character more interesting. The actress herself lives with anxiety and OCD. The actress has had some great successes in her career, but she has talked about how her anxiety still rears its ugly head. “It’s like, ‘Oh, you again?'” she told People Magazine. “I really love my life, but I’ve kind of worn anxiety grooves into my brain. It just doesn’t always sound good in there.”
She has used her position for good. She has become much more open about it and has even spoken out against negative portrayals of women with mental illness in pop culture.
She has also been open about exercise and self-care in another Instagram post.
7. Kristen Stewart
The actress has come across as less comfortable in front of the public and more nervous over the years. Many have made fun of her for it, but she has been open about struggling with anxiety. “I went through so much stress and periods of strife,” she told Elle UK. “I would have panic attacks. I literally always had a stomachache.” This didn’t make growing up easy for the actress.
“Between ages 15 and 20, it was really intense,” Stewart told Marie Claire. “I was constantly anxious. I was kind of a control freak. If I didn’t know how something was going to turn out, I would make myself ill, or just be locked up or inhibited in a way that was really debilitating.”
8. Chris Evans
The Captain America actor has had to do a lot of press to promote his movies, but that’s not always the best thing for his mental health. “You know, just to, try to … I … struggle with anxiety sometimes,” he told ShortList “especially when promoting films like this. Just the life of doing what I do, being in the public eye, it’s a stressful environment. So it’s good to go and talk about the things that cause your anxiety.”
He then continued to talk about how he feels about movie promotion. “It’s very difficult for me to talk about myself. You feel strange, self-aware, very foolish. Your third eye clicks on, just to try to maintain a healthy sense of perspective, and you think, ‘What am I doing here? I’m just making a movie, and people want all these things from me.’ It seems strange to have so much fuss over a film.”
9. Amanda Seyfried
The Mamma Mia! actress might have to deal with being in front of many people and press, but she has been actually dealing with anxiety all of her life. “I have a lot of anxiety that I’ve been struggling with my whole life,” she said. “So I have been working through it. I’m terrified, but this is exactly what I wanted.”
Not only that, but the beautiful blonde is also insecure. “There’s a layer of insecurity that this brings out, of course, but I am trying to throw it away,” she continued. “Although I can’t, really, because insecurity, a little bit of it, is always important for any actor.”
10. Jon Hamm
The actor played character Don Draper who had a very dark side. Sadly the actor has a history of depression himself, and the death of his father also made the actor struggle. “I was … unmoored by that,” he told the Observer. “I struggled with chronic depression. I was in bad shape.” He has been getting treatment through antidepressants and therapy.
“It gives you another perspective when you are so lost in your own spiral. It helps.” He continued, “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!”
11. Demi Lovato
The singer had a very public break down years ago. But ever since then she has been very open about struggling with an eating disorder, bipolar, and more. A big side effect of being bipolar is going through depression and the singer opened up about her experience.
“People are uneducated about bipolar,” she told Refinery 29. “For me, I suffered a lot with bipolar depression, which is not talked about. And, I wish people knew it wasn’t as easy as just becoming happy.”
12. Jim Carrey
The comedian actually started to try and make people laugh because of depression. “Depression. I had a sick mom, man. I wanted to make her feel better,” he revealed in an interview with CBS. He had a hard time growing up as he had to drop out of high school because he had to work when his family became homeless.
“I was on Prozac for a long time. It may have helped me out of a jam for a little bit, but people stay on it forever. I had to get off at a certain point because I realized that, you know, everything’s just okay.” He then continued, “There are peaks, there are valleys. But they’re all kind of carved and smoothed out, and it feels like a low level of despair you live in. Where you’re not getting any answers, but you’re living okay. And you can smile at the office. You know? But it’s a low level of despair. You know?”
13. Kid Cudi
In 2016 the rapper made headlines for checking into rehab for depression. Before checking in he posted a heartfelt message on his Facebook page to talk about his struggle. There he talks about anxiety and depression ruling his life but now he wants peace.
He also opened up about his depression before with Billboard. “I thought about how much of a struggle it has been the past eight years,” he said “to be in the news and pretend to be happy when, really, I was living a nightmare.” He continued, “I have everything I ever dreamed of in terms of stability. But I hadn’t been living that reality, because depression was f***ing me up.”
14. Lady Gaga
I became very depressed at the end of 2013. I was exhausted fighting people off. I couldn’t even feel my own heartbeat. I was angry, cynical, and had this deep sadness like an anchor dragging everywhere I go. I just didn’t feel like fighting anymore. I didn’t feel like standing up for myself one more time—to one more person who lied to me. But January 1, I woke up, started crying again, and I looked in the mirror and said, ‘I know you don’t want to fight. I know you think you can’t, but you’ve done this before. I know it hurts, but you won’t survive this depression.’
15. Brad Pitt
The movie star also experienced depression when he was younger. “I used to deal with depression,” he said according to The New York Times, “but I don’t now, not this decade – maybe last decade. But that’s also figuring out who you are. I see it as a great education, as one of the seasons or a semester: ‘This semester I was majoring in depression.'”
16. Miley Cyrus
The young pop star has also talked about her struggle with depression. “I went through a time where I was really depressed,” she explained to Elle magazine. “Like, I locked myself in my room and my dad had to break my door down. It was a lot to do with, like, I had really bad skin, and I felt really bullied because of that. But I never was depressed because of the way someone else made me feel, I just was depressed.”
17. Pete Wentz
The Fall Out Boy bassist has also struggled with depression. During this time in his life he also admitted he was taking a lot of drugs. “It had more to do with being depressed,” he said according to People Magazine. “I wasn’t thinking of killing myself. I’ve never really called it a suicide attempt. I just wanted my head to be completely turned off.”
18. Russell Brand
The comedian has talked about using his experience dealing with mental illness in his work. “I know that I have dramatically changing moods, and I know sometimes I feel really depressed, but I think that’s just life,” he said according to Mic. “I don’t think of it as, ‘Ah, this is mental illness,’ more as, ‘Today, life makes me feel very sad.’ I know I also get unnaturally high levels of energy and quickness of thought, but I’m able to utilize that.”
19. Winona Ryder
The actress experienced depression after her breakup with Johnny Depp. “And I think it was really ironic because, like, everybody else just thought I had everything in the world, you know, I had no reason to be depressed, everything was sort of at its peak, but inside I was completely lost,” she told Elle. “I remember feeling, ‘I can’t complain about anything, because I’m so lucky, I’m so lucky.’ After that I realized I needed to take time off more [regularly].”
20. Gwyneth Paltrow
The Goop owner revealed that she experienced postpartum depression after her second pregnancy. “I felt like a zombie. I couldn’t access my heart. I couldn’t access my emotions. I couldn’t connect,” she explained to Good Housekeeping. “It was terrible, it was the exact opposite of what had happened when Apple was born. With her, I was on cloud nine. I couldn’t believe it wasn’t the same. I just thought it meant I was a terrible mother and a terrible person.”
21. Brooke Shields
The actress wrote about experiencing depression for The New York Times after Tom Cruise criticized her for taking medication to treat it. “I never thought I would have postpartum depression,” she wrote. “After two years of trying to conceive and several attempts at in vitro fertilization, I thought I would be overjoyed when my daughter, Rowan Francis, was born in the spring of 2003. But instead I felt completely overwhelmed.”
22. Missy Elliott
The rapper explained that she has struggled with anxiety, which made her change over the years. “I was always feisty, always that kid that would be on the porch with a hairbrush singing or rapping,” she told Billboard. “I got more shy as I got older and realized people could be laughing at me, or judging me.”
23. Caitlyn Jenner
The Olympian revealed to Vanity Fair that she experienced anxiety during her transition. After her 10-hour facial feminization surgery the recovery was so grueling physically that she had to ice her face. However, it was also emotional to the point that she had panic attacks for the first time.
24. Oprah Winfrey
The mogul seems like a formidable force, but she has had to deal with anxiety and nervous breakdowns. “In the beginning, it was just sort of speeding and a kind of numbness and going from one thing to the next thing to the next thing,” she told Access Hollywood.
I will tell you when I realized that I thought, ‘All right, if I don’t calm down I’m gonna be in serious trouble.’ I was in the middle of doing voiceovers, you know? And I remember closing my eyes in between each page because looking at the page and the words at the same time was too much stimulation for my brain.
25. Ellie Goulding
The singer has also suffered from anxiety. “I called a friend to take me to hospital, where they told me it was just a panic attack,” she told Cosmo. “From that day, I kept having them. It was the weirdest time of my life.” She continued, “I couldn’t even get into the car and go to the studio.”
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