How Celebrities Speaking About Mental Health Has Helped Us Feel Empowered
There was a time when speaking about mental health was taboo. For various reasons, people were afraid to talk about what they were going through. They were afraid of judgment, of prejudice, of being mocked and ridiculed. People were quick to believe anything that so much as resembled mental illness was a form of weakness, a sign that someone was inferior to others. People were afraid they would be denied jobs, services, or be ostracized by society for being who they were and feeling how they did. We have made progress with mental health being more widely accepted, and things are still changing. We are seeing more and more people come out about their experiences with mental health issues, and for those of us who deal with these things, that can be a great source of comfort as we face a world of stigma surrounding our experiences.
In March of 2018, All-Star forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Kevin Love, wrote an essay for the Player’s Tribune describing his struggle with mental illness and anxiety. He described an incident where mid-game, he bolted to the locker room, looking around in a panic, feeling like he was going to die, before collapsing on the floor and gasping for air. What Love described was an experience with a panic attack. After this incident, he was taken to a Cleveland clinic and the Cavaliers organization helped him find a therapist. Love explained how he would have experiences with bouts of mental illness, where we would have fits of rage or go “dark” for a few weeks, secluding himself to his room after basketball practice and not talking to anyone. He explains how he just thought he had to ignore it, get through those moments and keep going. He talks about how he felt like he was supposed to keep silent about it and be stronger.
Another NBA star, DeMar Derozan, has also spoken at length about mental health and the importance of talking about it. In 2018, Derozan revealed that he suffered from depression and anxiety. Derozan has spoken about how we are all human and how so many of us struggle with something like depression or anxiety. He has been adamant about not being ashamed of it, of accepting himself and others for what they experience. He has become somewhat the face of the NBA’s new focus on mental health, with the National Basketball Players Association hiring professionals to help players cope with whatever may ail them.
Just recently, Brandon Brooks, offensive lineman for the Philadelphia Eagles, came out to explain his absence from a game. On Twitter, he explained how he woke up battling anxiety that day, and that it was a common occurrence for him to do so. When he got to the stadium, he found that the anxiety kept coming back, and he felt exhausted from having to fight it, because of this, he didn’t play. The most important message he had about it was that he refused to be embarrassed or ashamed of it.
These three are just some examples of people speaking out about their struggles with mental illness. While they are all athletes, it is not just those in sports who are speaking up. People in Hollywood are also coming out to talk about what is going on. We are starting to see just how many people are affected by mental illness, even those we view as the “elite”. Which brings us to ourselves. It is comforting to see so many people we watch and admire to experience the same troubles that we do. It is helpful to know that there are people who have a bigger platform than us to use that platform to speak about what needs to be spoken about. We hope you can use that as inspiration to speak about it yourself, as we promise you there are people watching you and would value your experience more than someone on a screen. We hope you can use all of these stories to better tell your own, that you can feel a little less alone. The world after recovery can feel lonely when you think that you have gone through something so rare. Your experience was absolutely unique to you, but it does not mean that no one else can know what it feels like. There are so many people like us, and to see that that applies to the people we watch on a sometimes daily basis, is a huge source of comfort for us. We can’t wait to see how much more this platform can grow and how much more progress can be made just by the simple act of people talking about their stories. We can rewrite the narrative and find the place the world needs to be.
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with anxiety or mental illness, do not hesitate to contact the team here at True Recovery. Our program, founded in 2014, is built around finding what’s best for you to overcome your addiction. Our facility is located in Newport Beach, California, with our supportive housing located close to our campus in Costa Mesa. Take advantage of the local beaches, nature preserves, and Orange County community while we fight for you. Contact us at (866) 399-6528 or [email protected]