It’s easy to look at someone else’s life and think that they have it all, especially when said people are the celebrities that our culture looks up to. Whether it’s good looks, wealth, tons of friends, or even just fame itself, celebrities are the last people you’d think would struggle with mental illness or substance abuse. The fact is, they are people just like you and me and they have problems just like the rest of us. Just not everyone speaks out on them. But these ten people did and for that, we think they are awesome.
In honor of Mental Illness Awareness Week, here are ten celebrities with some inspirational words on their experiences with mental illness.
Emma Stone struggled with anxiety and panic attacks as a child growing up in Arizona. “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 shared in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
Everyone’s favorite goofy (and gorgeous) supermodel, Cara Delevingne, spoke about her battle with depression that started when she was young and continued through her successful modeling career. “I think I pushed myself so far [at school] that I got to the point where I had a mental breakdown … I was completely suicidal, I didn’t want to live anymore. I thought that I was completely alone.”
In an interview with Variety actor, Jared Padalecki talked about his experience with depression and his passion for fighting for it. “I, for a long time, have been passionate about people dealing with mental illness and struggling with depression, or addiction, or having suicidal thoughts,” he shared.
While filming I Smile Back, Sarah Silverman was forced to revisit a dark time in her life. She struggled with depression and panic attacks as a teenager. “I went from being the class clown to not being able to see life in that casual way anymore. I couldn’t deal with being with my friends, I didn’t go to school for months, and I started having panic attacks.”
The chart topper realized through a run of CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) that her father leaving her when she was five was the main source for a series of bad relationship choices and panic attacks that lead her to seek treatment. She admitted that she was a “goth” teen that experimented with drugs and alcohol and that she could have definitely been destined for a path of addiction. Instead, she finds balance and peace through yoga and practices respecting her body regularly.
As a young child, Jennifer Lawrence experienced social anxiety that “took away her spark.” Luckily, when she took up acting, her anxiety was lifted almost instantly. “One day, I begged my parents to take me to a casting, we went to New York and that’s where I started acting. As soon as I was on stage, my mom started to see the change in me. She saw my fears disappear. She found her daughter again, the one who had this light and joy. I finally found my path in life and something that made me happy, because I felt capable, whereas before I felt useless. That’s why my mom fought for me to become an actress.”
Known by most as the “Queen of the Geeks”, actress, gamer, and now New York Times Bestselling author Felicia Day has been open about her struggles with depression and anxiety. She’s written candidly about it in her book You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) and even talked about it with Forbes magazine. “I think that in talking about depression and anxiety, it’s really important to have someone who you see from the outside as being very successful and confident, but if you’re able to peel back the layers, you see that everybody has problems. Success can bring just as many emotional challenges. I think it made people feel less alone,” she told The Hollywood Reporter.
Twilight actress, Kristen Stewart opened up about her previous struggles with anxiety in an interview with Marie Claire earlier this summer and again more recently for Elle U.K. for their September issue. “I went through so much stress and periods of strife. I would have panic attacks…I literally always had a stomach ache. And I was a control freak and I couldn’t anticipate what was going to happen in a given situation,” she said.
Demi has been open about her struggles with addiction and mental illness. She went into rehab in 2010 due to a drug and alcohol addiction, eating disorder, and mental issues including cutting. While in treatment, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. “Mental illnesses in general, they’re not talked about as much as they should [be],” she explained. “I would love for people to become more educated.”
On Oprah’s “Master Class” Dwayne Johnson opened up about his experience with depression. “Have faith that on the other side of your pain is something good,” he said.
Which celebrity inspires you the most in your life? Share with us in the comments below or on our Facebook page #MIAW.