It used to be that we liked our celebs to be well-adjusted pretty people, nice to look at from the outside and willing to keep up appearances that life was grand on the other side of the looking glass. Remaining quiet or numbing themselves with a cocktail of booze and bad behaviour were the only acceptable options and it’s still a rare thing for someone famous to own their disease or personal issue and admit that, like us mortals, sometimes they need a break.
Just today, Kid Cudi shared a deeply personal note on his Facebook letting his fans know that he was checking into rehab for a lifelong struggle with depression: “I am not at peace. I haven’t been since you’ve known me. If I didn’t come here, I would’ve done something to myself.” The 32-year-old rapper went on to admit that he’s ashamed that he’s been living a lie but seeking help has become a necessity. “It’s time I fix me. I’m nervous but ima get through this.”
Late this summer, Selena Gomez decided to cancel dates of her Revival World Tour after discovering “that anxiety, panic attacks and depression can be side effects of lupus,” according to a statement Gomez made to People. With that, the young celeb, who revealed she had the autoimmune disease last year, bravely put her health first and opened a dialogue about how important self-care is and should be.
Gomez is one of the recent young stars to frankly talk about depression and anxiety, following in the footsteps of former One Direction member Zayn, who quit the band in 2014, citing stress and the desire to be “a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight.” After years spent in the massively popular boy band, whose every move, hairstyle and clothing choice was endlessly scrutinized, Zayn was applauded by mental health experts for openly talking about his issues, which can often encourage others to do the same. In June of this year, Zayn took to Instagram to share that the anxiety that has continously “haunted” him had returned and he needed to cancel a planned performance and asked for the understanding and empathy of his fans.
Ellie Goulding has also spoken about suffering from debilitating panic attacks and finding relief in therapy. In her Summer 2016 FLARE cover story, she shared that during her Delirium tour, she thought the attacks were returning, but has arrived at a place of peace for now.
Lena Dunham opted to have her character on Girls battle with OCD over a multi-episode arc in Season 2—a recurring struggle in Dunham’s own life—that removed another layer of shame and embarrassment that can often be crippling to those suffering. The overarching message: you’re not alone.
As more high-profile people come forward about mental health battles, the stigma starts to break down and the less of a taboo these struggles become as talking is encouraged and shame diminished. If you’re battling with depression or anxiety, a resource like depressionhurts.ca can help to determine symptoms and figure out first steps in finding help.