In my last blog post I shared my journey with mental illness (obsessive compulsive disorder), and one of the big reasons I felt compelled to do so was because I was inspired by various celebrities speaking openly about their mental health issues as of late.
This trend of being honest and open about your mental health struggles is a relatively new but albeit amazing advance in terms of human vulnerabilities being used to strengthen the confidence of others. Knowing that somebody whom you grew up idolizing has also struggled with not wanting to get out of bed in the morning due to crippling depression, or dealt panic attacks happening while at work helps to de stigmatize mental illness and encourage other’s to speak more openly about their own struggles.
Somebody whom I greatly admire is actress Kristen Bell, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Veronica Mars, Couples Retreat, etc. She has always come across as this happy go lucky, bubbly, and upbeat person that you’d love to have as your best girlfriend. However I learned to love and respect her even more when she opened up about the fact that she has dealt with anxiety and depression since she was a late teen and has been medicated and in therapy ever since and has zero shame about that.
A recent interview she gave touched my heart because of how eloquently she shared her struggles and how she said that it was through the sharing of our vulnerabilities that we can work to lessen the suffering of others, so people don’t feel quite so alone in their struggles. I couldn’t agree more, and by working to normalize mental illness and the struggles that can come from dealing with a mental illness we can help encourage others to get treatment so they can live a full and beautiful life.
Something that I really admired was when Demar Derozan, a basketball player opened up about his struggle with depression on ESPN. He spoke about being embarrassed at first about not being able to function optimally at times because of his mental health struggles, but at a certain point he realized that sharing his struggle with others could really help people realize they aren’t weird or abnormal for feeling these feelings and especially as a man.
Men are more likely than anybody else to commit suicide as the result of untreated mental illness, men tend to feel more ashamed if they can’t cope with life like other people and that shame can lead to even more suffering and ultimately suicide, which is horrible. Having these tough, masculine amazing athletes step up and talk about why there should not be shame surrounding discussing your mental health is really positive.
Kevin Love another basketball player dealt with a panic attack on live television during a game and used that experience to do some real good and share his struggle with anxiety and panic attacks, helping a lot of people realize they aren’t alone.
Mental health issues don’t discriminate and affect only the “non famous” people of the world. Look at Demi Lovato and Mariah Carey or even Catherine Zeta Jones who have all been diagnosed as bipolar and have sought treatment to deal with this illness.
Another wonderful thing was when the rapper Logic came out with his song 1-800-273-8255 which is the number for the suicide hotline. The music video was inspiring and moving and encouraged those suffering from life hardships to hang on because their life matters and it’s important and things can change any time, things can always get better and there is always hope for you.
So if you were looking for a sign to get help and to seek treatment for mental health issues you might be experiencing, realize you are in good company, along with some truly inspiring celebrities who have been open about their mental health struggles and ultimately sought treatment helping them to continue being successful.
Mental health issues aren’t a life sentence of misery and private suffering, you can seek treatment, you can speak up and be vocal about your struggles and know that mental health issues are not something you need to be ashamed of, we all struggle and we all deserve the right support and help for our struggles.