It is easy to assume that celebrities are living the dream life and have it all. Behind the sheen and glitter of the good life, some of the world’s most famous and successful are battling with the darkness that depression casts. It turns out that a lifestyle full of fame and money doesn’t automatically shield one from the throes of mental illnesses.
Whether the most successful people in the world are more at risk of suffering from depression compared to an average person, is a controversial question.
Depression is dangerously common and the leading cause of disability in people between ages 15 to 44 according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
While it may be hard to empathize with the uber-rich and successful depressed celebrity, the extreme stressors, the loneliness, disappointments, and emptiness they experience is very real and worth trying to understand.
In recent years more and more celebrities have come forward and opened up about their struggles with depression to lift the stigma associated with mental illnesses.
Here’s what some of them said:
Studies have brought to light, the main causes of clinical depression in celebrities
1. The Pressure of the Whole World Watching
Having the whole world watch and judge your work does not come easy. Actors and actresses have to hear, read, and watch all the complaints and feedback audiences give about their work, even more so in the age of the internet. Actors are constantly living in the public eye and facing rejection and judgment based on what they look like, sound like, and how believably they perform a role. Even getting into character for a film or play can lead to depression, when actors are unable to detach from the role they play on-screen and real life.
- No Privacy
- Part of the entertainment industry means having to maintain a public image all the time. Celebrities have to be doubly careful of where they go, who they go with, and what pictures they take. How an actor is portrayed has a huge impact on the kind of work they get. Nothing they do is private and is in the limelight, under severe public scrutiny. With the rise of social media networks, criticism and comments on everything a celebrity does are much more amplified.
- Privilege makes people less resilient
- Is more common in people who have come from wealth and have had it easy for most of their lives. Such people may not know how to deal with difficult times and may do very poorly when they find themselves in bumpy or unchartered territory.
- Hope that this piece helped you understand that the people you see on big screens, billboards, and glamourous ads are just like the average Joe, the only difference being they’re living in a world of such extreme pressures that you and I couldn’t even imagine. As discourse around mental health gets more normalized, let’s be kinder and show support to those always under the limelight because when the show’s over and the lights go down, there’s a human being under it all. And they deserve some of our compassion.