Saturday, April 23, 2011

Famous women who have struggled with mental illness (Awesome Women)

I always felt like there was a stigma attached to mental illness and I always felt ashamed to admit my own battles with depression and an eating disorder. But there are others who aren't. Other brave people willing to speak up and speak out and use their experiences to let others know they aren't alone and to open people's eyes about mental health.

Here is just a small handful of famous women who have spoke openly about mental illness.

Diana, Princess of Wales - Despite the appearance of leading a fairy tale life, Princess Diana suffered a great deal. Before her untimely death, she had dmitted to depression and self-harm in the difficult transition into royalty as well as her marital problems with Prince Charles. Princess Diana also suffered from post-partum depression after the birth of her eldest son.

JK Rowling - Bestselling author of the Harry Potter series, JK Rowling has said that she's never been ashamed about seeking treatment for depression/suicidal thoughts following the separation of her husband in her 20s and before the success of the Harry Potter books.

Brooke Shields - I think Brooke Shields has been quite open about her experiences with severe post-partum depression, even writing a book about it. In her book, she chronicles her lack of bonding with her baby, her thoughts of harming the child as well as herself.

Vivien Leigh - Best known (to me, anyway) in her role as Scarlett O'Hara in the film adaptation of Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Vivien suffered from manic depression as well as tuberculosis and poor health. Her experiences with these illnesses is what led her to be cast in roles which required to be tormented, something Vivien knew a great deal about. She suffered a breakdown after a miscarriage and was confined to a nursing home.


  1. What an interesting post. With the exception of Diana I didn't know about any of the other stories.

  2. Great and informative post! I never knew J.K. Rowling suffered from mental illness.

  3. Jenni - I found it to be quite interesting looking up this one. There were quite a few other women who I'd have liked to have included, but didn't because of time!

    Cliona - Thank you :) What I read about JK Rowling and her depression was that she never felt guilty or ashamed to seek help. I love that about her.


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