Depression knows no boundaries. It can affect anyone regardless of age, status, or gender. Symptoms of depression that are left untreated can lead to the worst case scenario: suicide.
Recently, several famous stars have sadly taken their own lives. Kate Spade, a famous 55 year-old fashion designer, was found dead in her apartment for an apparent suicide. Just three days after, another celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain committed suicide at the age of 61. Many Linkin Park fans were also devastated by the death of the band’s lead singer Chester Bennington at the age of 41.
Some of you might think that these celebrities have almost everything — money, fame, and power. What could have caused them to take their own lives? The major culprit identified was depression. Unfortunately, these are not isolated cases. Other stars have also battled this mental disorder for years.
Here is a list of those who have opened up about their struggles:
1. Ellen deGeneres
The famous comedian and television host, Ellen deGeneres, was bullied after coming out to the public in 1997. Shortly after, her life went downhill. She lost her sitcom and her job. Some people were accusing her of being immoral.
“It was harsh. I lost everything. I got stripped down of everything and started all over again,” Degeneres later recalled in one of her interviews.
Those events eventually led her to spiral towards deep depression. Ellen persevered to overcome those dark days. Now, she is multi-awarded comedian, actress, and TV host. She was even named the 50th most powerful woman in the world in 2016 by Forbes.
2. Lady Gaga
Stefani Germanotta, professionally known as Lady Gaga, has been open about her struggle with mental illness. “I often felt lonely and depressed when I was growing up. It had nothing to do with my parents—it’s just my brain chemistry,” says Gaga.
Music helped her in overcoming anxiety and pain. It was her escape. Today, the singer is an advocate of mental health awareness. She has even founded Born This Way Foundation to reach out to young people dealing with depression, severe anxiety, and bullying.
3. Michael Phelps
Michael Phelps holds the record for the most Olympic medals won at a single Olympic game. Despite his success, the swimmer fell into a major state of depression. Phelps was arrested twice for drunk driving and turned to substance abuse before he decided to get help. He enrolled himself in a rehab program. He also feels grateful for his family for helping him get through the dark times.
4. Prince Harry
Prince Harry spent the next two decades remaining mostly silent after her mother’s death. He shut down all his emotions despite his brother persuading him to seek help. The unattended and unresolved grief of losing his mother crippled him and negatively affected his life. Harry recalls several royal engagements when he was very close to a complete breakdown. He sometimes found himself in a “fight or flight reaction” or felt a strong urge to punch someone.
He started seeing a therapist to help him process his emotions. Along with his brother Prince William and Kate Middleton, Harry now spearheads Heads Together campaign to end the stigma and change the conversation on mental health.
Neither fame nor fortune shielded these celebrities from mental illness. Depression may not be easy to overcome, but these celebrities are living proof that it isn’t impossible to treat. They have opened up about their struggles to tell the world that there is no reason to be ashamed of it.
There are various clinics which can provide assessment and address symptoms of depression in Toronto and other areas in Canada. It’s never too late seek help.