There are many things in life I understand, but the stigma attached to mental illness is one thing I will never understand. A mental illness is not a choice nor is it always caused from life decisions; most people are born with them, or have chemical imbalances in the brain for various reasons. Depression and other mental illnesses can affect anyone no matter who they are; even the second man to walk on the moon has suffered from depression. Even celebrities with mental illness can still succeed and live fulfilling lives.
When celebrities embrace their illness and share their stories with the world, I can’t help but smile proudly. Normalizing something that is common inspires people to get the help they need without being embarrassed by it. Here are 29 celebrities with mental illness who overcame their symptoms during their life.
1. Buzz Aldrin
This man was able to step on the moon, but he couldn’t hide from depression. Accepting his mental illness helped Buzz Aldrin get the help he needed to overcome it.
2. Lionel Aldridge
As a defensive player for the Green Bay Packers, Aldridge played in two Super Bowls and experienced incredible success until the 1970s when schizophrenia took over. His illness led to living homeless for over two years. He was able to get help, and spent the rest of his life sharing his story with others as a way to inspire people.
3. Roseanne Barr
She definitely keeps us laughing with her hilarious personality and is one of the funniest celebrities with mental illness, but Roseanne is no stranger to depression. Getting on medication helped her conquer depression so she could continue making people smile.
4. Terry Bradshaw
Bradshaw was once the quarterback for the Steelers, and years later was diagnosed with depression. During the 90s, he began taking antidepressants to help him begin feeling like himself again.
5. Earl Campbell
As a professional football player and a current business owner, no one suspected that Campbell suffered from a serious panic disorder. He shared his struggle with this mental illness and how he overcame it with medication and therapy in the documentary The Earl Campbell Story: A Football Great’s Battle with Panic Disorder.
6. Drew Carey
Among celebrities with mental illness, Drew Carey is one of the ones who almost lost his battle. Depression almost ended Carey’s life when he attempted to commit suicide twice before he hit 30. He was able to overcome depression on his own.
7. Catherine Zeta-Jones
Bipolar disorder is a continual struggle for Catherine Zeta-Jones, but she has worked hard to not allow it to control her life. With medication and time spent at a mental health facility, she has made leaps and bounds in battling it.
8. Brooke Shields
Depression hit Shields after giving birth to her precious baby. While many moms are ashamed to admit they are dealing with post-partum depression, Shields got antidepressants and help to treat it and overcome a difficult period.
9. Carrie Fisher
Extreme mood swings from bipolar disorder led Fisher to make choices she later regretted. In 1997 she had a psychotic break, went public, and got medication and help for her illness.
10. Emma Thompson
Acting gave Thompson the motivation to get out of bed during the darkest moments of her depression. While mediation helped, she found acting out a role helped her escape her illness by becoming someone else.
11. Herschel Walker
NFL player Herschel Walker has dealt with dissociative identity disorder for many years, but getting treatment has helped him keep it under control.
12. Paula Deen
We all love this happy, bubbly person, but Paula Deen is one of the celebrities with mental illness who has had many moments that cloud her sunny personality. After losing her dad, Deen began having panic attacks. A brown paper bag became her best friend to breathe in, but after 20 years, she was able to overcome it on her own without the help of a professional.
13. Elton John
Substance abuse and bulimia were apart of Elton’s Johns life for many years until he got the courage to ask for help. With therapy and treatment, he was able to get clean, sober, and his health back.
14. Billy Joel
Depression was a part of Billy Joel’s life for many years, and he even attempted suicide in one of his darkest moments. He tried to self-medicate with alcohol, but was only thrown into darker depression. Medication and therapy were key to getting out of depression.
15. Mike Tyson
As a professional boxer, Mike Tyson dealt with both manic and chronic depression. He was put on Zoloft to help him be in control of his emotions and overwhelming feelings.
16. Angelina Jolie
Angelina has been quite secretive of her past depression that came to light during her parents’ divorce. As a teen, she suffered from depression, self-mutilation, and suicidal thoughts. She was able to deal with her mental illness on her own as she adjusted to a new life.
17. Linda Hamilton
Diagnosed at a young age for depression was a blessing for Linda Hamilton. Medication has helped her live a positive and happy life, and she gladly accepts that she will take medicine for the rest of her life.
18. Jimmy Piersall
As a baseball player for the Boston Red Sox, Jimmy Piersall had to accept that something wasn’t right with the way he was feeling. He was able to get the help he need to battle his bipolar disorder.
19. Jane Pauley
Jane Pauley was able to hide her bipolar disorder despite being one of the most famous newswomen on air. Admitting her mental illness was a bold step she took to help her get the help she needed.
20. Jim Carrey
While Jim Carrey can make anyone laugh, he wasn’t always smiles off camera. Taking Prozac was one way Carrey was able to deal with his depression.
21. Jessie Close
Getting diagnosed with depression at the age of 47 was one of the best things that could have happened to Jessie Close. She was able to get the medication she needed and only regrets not doing it sooner.
22. Vaslav Nijinsky
As a professional dancer, nobody could have guessed that Nijinsky was dealing with schizophrenia. He kept it private, but reached out to professionals for the help he needed.
23. Adam Levine
Levine struggles with ADHD every day of his life, but he has learned it is ok to take breaks and let the mind wander.
24. Drew Barrymore
Drew Barrymore lived a tough life as a teenager, and her depression led to a suicidal attempt. She found support and love from people she trusted to be exactly what she needed in her darkest moments.
25. Michael Phelps
Michael Phelps can swim like nobody else, but ADHD has been a part of his life since he was a child. By taking his attention to the pools, he was able to use his illness as a tool to success.
26. Howie Mandel
Dealing with OCD was something Howie Mandel could no longer do on his own. He didn’t get help until he was an adult, but he wishes he would have taken care of his mental health has easily as he did his dental health.
27. Patty Duke
This Academy Award-winning actress shared her story about manic depression in her book and how getting help was what saved her life.
28. Vivien Leigh
Acting was a way to escape her depression, but mental illness would stay with her throughout her life.
29. Sinead O’Connor
This pop star has made it a goal to end the stigma that comes with depression. Battling her own depression for years has fed her fire to normalize mental illness so people can have the courage to get help. Mental illness doesn’t mean your life can’t be beautiful; by getting help, you can enjoy the world like anybody else.
Recovering Like Celebrities with Mental Illness
Celebrities aren’t the only people who struggle with mental illnesses. Morningside Recovery offers comprehensive mental health treatment and mental health rehab for those suffering with depression, anxiety, PTSD, or any other mental illness. To learn more about our programs and how we can help you, call us today at 855-631-2135 to recover like celebrities with mental illness.