Deep sadness struck fans worldwide when comedian and actor Robin Williams committed suicide in 2014 following a battle with severe depression. It showed how even famous people aren’t immune to mental illness. Celebrities who survived the mental disorder have come forward to point out the importance of recognizing and treating depression.
Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher has written about her ordeal with bipolar disorder, which includes bouts of depression with periods of unrealistic enthusiasm, in her book, “Wishful Drinking,” the New York Daily News noted
. Catherine Zeta-Jones is another movie star who has been outspoken about her treatment for bipolar disorder.
Depression has affected famous people throughout history. Here are six famous people who battled the mental illness.
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1. Abraham Lincoln
Lincoln suffered bouts of depression, including two major breakdowns before his presidency at ages 26 and 31, Salon reported
, citing Joshua Wolf Shenk’s biography of the 16th president. “I am now the most miserable man living,” Lincoln wrote at age 32. Though depression plagued him throughout his life, he managed to use his sense of humor to battle the disorder. Telling jokes and funny stories gave him pleasure and a connection with people.
2. Sigmund Freud
An improved relationship with people and the community helped famed psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud overcome depression, Salon reported. Freud had turned to cocaine in an attempt to cure his mental illness, but discovered it led to addiction. Historians think his self-analysis and the attention it brought treated his depression. Freud was overjoyed with the recognition he received from his work in psychology, which also brought him closer to the community.
3. Winston Churchill
Churchill referred to his severe depression as a “black dog” in his writings, according to Butler Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island
. Churchill managed to lead Great Britain to victory in World War II as prime minister despite his mental battles.
4. Ludwig Von Beethoven
Beethoven may have composed his most beloved music while fighting bipolar disorder and trying to overcome psychotic delusions, Butler Hospital said. He died from liver disease while trying to treat his mental illness with alcohol and opium.
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5. Jimmy Piersall
Baseball legend Jimmy Piersall brought widespread public awareness to bipolar disorder when he wrote about his serious mental illness in a book that was later made into a movie, “Fear Strikes Out,” Butler Hospital said.
6. Art Buchwald
Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist Art Buchwald came forward about his experience with depression after author William Styron made his battle with mental illness known. Buchwald, known for his humorous accounts on politics and social issues, found that talking about it publicly relieved his disorder and helped millions of others, according to Therese J. Borchard, associate editor at Psych Central
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