While depression has become the leading cause of disability all over the globe — making it the most common mental illness in the world according to a 2021 fact sheet from the World Health Organization — there’s still so much we are yet to understand about it. After all, there’s a good reason why psychologists often refer to it as “the illness with a thousand faces.” Depression can manifest in a wide variety of symptoms and its presentation can differ greatly from one person to another.
It’s also been known to affect people of all ages, genders, cultures, and economic backgrounds. So even the wealthiest, most successful, and most popular people in the world who seem like they already have everything a person could ever want out of life aren’t exempt from it. Case in point? Plenty of celebrities have spoken out about their experiences with depression and, more importantly, about what helps them get through it. And what they have to say are all perfect examples of how we can live a full and experientially rich life while still battling depression.
With that said, here are 5 signs you might be depressed but don’t let it get you down (as told by some of the most famous people in the world!):
1. “Don’t be guilty.” – Ariana Grande
Global pop sensation and two-time Grammy award winner Ariana Grande has recently taken to social media to publicly express her support of Mental Health Awareness Month last May, as well as her own struggles with depression. “Here’s to ending the stigma around mental health and normalizing asking for help,” the billboard chart topper captioned in an Instagram post. “Healing isn’t linear, fun, quick or at all easy but we are here and we’ve got to commit to making this time as healthy, peaceful and beautiful as possible. The work is so hard but we are capable and worth it.”
Grande, who has also previously gone on record to discuss her PTSD following the May 2017 Manchester bombing at one of her concerts, as well as the depression she experienced following the suicide of close friend and long-time on-and-off again boyfriend Mac Miller, even donated $1 million worth of therapy to her fans in partnership with Better Help, an online mental health platform that provides web-based counseling and therapy services.
So if you, much like Ariana Grande, suspect you might be depressed but don’t let it get you down, you try your best not to feel guilty about it because you understand that mental illness is real and that it’s not something we choose to have.
2. “I recommend getting help when you need it.” – Kirsten Dunst
Another famous face you might not realize is also a mental health warrior is 40-year old actress Kirsten Dunst. Best known for her role as Mary Jane Watson in the original Spider-Man trilogy, as well as being Sofia Coppolla’s muse in The Virgin Suicides and Marie Antoinette, Dunst has actually been in the Hollywood scene since she was only 11 years old — when she starred in Interview With A Vampire alongside Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt.
She’s since then spoken on many occasions about the mental and emotional toll the dark side of stardom has taken on her and admitted that, when she was in her 20s, she entered a rehab center to seek help for her depression. “All I’ll say is that medication is a great thing and can really help you come out of something,” Dunst said. “I was afraid to take something and so I sat in it for too long. I would recommend getting help when you need it.”
Thankfully, the acting veteran seems to be doing a lot better now. Happily married with two children, Dunst continued acting in a number of critically acclaimed films and TV shows. And if you’ve taken her advice and have sought help (be it professionally or from friends and family) for your mental health struggles, then keep fighting! Reaching out to others is definitely one of the best things you can do for yourself in that situation.
3. “The key is to not be afraid to open up.” – Dwayne Johnson
Next on our list is none other than Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who, as of this year, has become the highest-paid actor currently working today. Earning over $270 million in 2022 alone, you probably know him from his roles in the Fast and Furious franchise, Jumanji, and Red Notice.
But perhaps most admirable of all, Dwayne Johnson reveals how he beat years of depression following his mother’s suicide attempt back when he was only 15 years old (which he thankfully was able to save her from). “Struggle and pain is real. I was devastated and depressed,” Johnson said in an interview with The Daily Express. “I reached a point where I didn’t want to do a thing or go anywhere. I was crying constantly.” He later took to Twitter to say, “Took me a long time to realize it but the key is to not be afraid to open up. Especially us dudes who have a tendency to keep it in. You’re not alone.”
Similar to our earlier point, we hope that in spite of your feelings of depression, you remember that you are never alone. And you don’t have to battle depression all on your own either! After all, depression is much more common than most people think. And speaking up about it can help not only you but also those around you who may be suffering in silence and need to find comfort in someone who understands what they’re going through.
4. “Life is too beautiful.” – Jim Carrey
Another name on this list that might surprise you, 60-year old comedian and actor Jim Carrey has also spoken up in interviews about his long-time battle against depression. The funnyman who starred in The Mask, Ace Ventura, The Grinch, and so many more lovably zany comedies, it’s truly one of life’s greatest ironies that someone like Jim Carrey, who has brought so much joy and laughter to millions of people all over the world, would be struggling with his mental health behind closed doors for years.
Still, he remains an inspiration to us all. In spite of his dark days, Carrey recently went on record to say, “At this point, I don’t have depression…I had that for years, but now, when the rain comes, it rains, but it doesn’t stay. It doesn’t stay long enough to immerse me and drown me anymore.” He also preached a heartfelt message about how “Life is too beautiful” to escape using alcohol or drugs and that we “should think of the word ‘depressed’ as ‘deep rest.’ Your body needs to be depressed. It needs deep rest from the character that you’ve been trying to play.”
5. “Feel whatever it is you’re feeling.” – Michelle Obama
Last but certainly not the least, if you’re someone who, in spite of their depression, doesn’t let it get them down, then you will definitely relate to Michelle Obama’s quote about “allowing yourselves to feel whatever it is you’re feeling.”
The former first lady revealed back in August 2020 that she had been dealing with a case of “low-grade depression” in the aftermath of not only the isolation brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, but also the racial tensions and political unrest in the United States. “I’m waking up in the middle of the night because I’m worrying about something or there’s a heaviness,” she said. “The idea that what this country is going through shouldn’t have any effect on us—that we all should just feel OK all the time—that just doesn’t feel real to me.”
A long-standing advocate of mental health, Michelle Obama went on record at last 2015’s “Change Direction” mental health campaign to say, “It’s time to tell everyone who’s dealing with a mental health issue that they’re not alone, and that getting support and treatment isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength.”
So, did anyone on this list surprise you? Do you relate to what some of these famous personalities have to say about their experiences with mental health? Are you also someone who doesn’t let their depression get them down?
At first glance, it’s easy to think that the people who seem to have it all have no reason to be depressed, but depression isn’t a choice and it can happen for no good reason. In that regard, celebrities aren’t much different from you or me; we’re all just doing our best day by day to keep moving forward in life no matter the difficulties we face and find happiness amidst our struggles.
These celebrities listed here are only a handful of the brave souls who have spoken out about their battle with depression and how they continue to survive and even thrive in spite of it. And by openly talking about their mental health, they are raising awareness on the importance of seeking help and finding love, growth, clarity, and freedom no matter the negative circumstances we may find ourselves in.
So, what are some of the ways you keep your depression from getting you down? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!
- Casarella, J. (2020, August 03). Celebrities With Depression. WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/depression/ss/slideshow-depression-celebs
- World Health Organization (2021). Fact Sheet on Depression. WHO, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression