A List of Successful People Who Struggle with Mental Illness

1. Elton John

The iconic musician has spoken about his struggles with substance abuse and bulimia on Larry King Live. He struggled with cocaine addiction and eating disorder for 16 years before seeking help. He says that being “sober and clean” is the best decision that he ever made. During an interview with Larry King, he said that he knew he was going to get better as soon as he said the words, “I need help,” showing that sometimes the first step is the hardest.

2. Carrie Fisher

The actress who brought Princess Leia to life was very open about her mental health and how her bipolar disorder has affected her life. Despite seeking help, she still struggled with the disorder for most of her life. She used her platform not only to empower women but also to empower those with mental illnesses.

3. Herschel Walker

This 1982 Heisman Trophy winner was diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder shortly after his retirement. He compared it to wearing hats, such as an aggressive red hat for football. He sometimes neglected to take the red hat off when he went home, which caused him to take out his anger on his wife. After his wife left him, he sought psychiatric and spiritual help. He writes about his struggles in his book Breaking Free.

4. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

The actor has struggled with depression since his mother attempted suicide when he was a teenager. He’s gone through several low points in his life since then and still persevered to become an athlete, an actor, and a social media influencer. He’s open about his struggles because of how underrepresented and stigmatized depression is in boys.

5. Stephen King

The bestselling author is open about his substance abuse and depression, and how they have affected his writing. He had a difficult childhood and channeled the fear into his writing as a way of coping with it, though he eventually turned to drugs and alcohol as well. King says he can’t remember writing Cujo at all and wishes he could. He got help and went sober after his family staged an intervention. After this intervention, critics say his writing is better than ever.

6. Demi Lovato

The singer and former Disney Channel star was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2011 and also struggled with bulimia and substance abuse. She talks about her experiences in the MTV documentary, “Stay Strong,” using her platform to share her story so that it can reach others who need to hear it. She’s even been open about her relapse and continues to try to improve herself every day.

7. Lisa Nicole Carson

She was a popular actress in the 1990’s who seemingly disappeared from the radar. After a severe mental breakdown, she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was given the help she needed. The incident went public and she dealt with severe media backlash, so she took a step back from acting to prioritize her mental health. Now she’s in a much better mental state and is working on revitalizing her acting career.

8. Ellen Degeneres

After the TV show host came out of the closet, the backlash caused her to fall into a deep depression as she lost her support system. She began to isolate herself and hesitated to seek help, but eventually she climbed out of it by seeing a therapist and taking medication, and went on to become a prominent LGBT advocate.

9. Brad Pitt

The actor dealt with depression during the 90’s and saw it as a learning experience. He got stuck in a rut of doing the same routine day after day and just wanted to stay at home and hide. Then he went on a trip to Casablanca, where he saw extreme poverty and was inspired to do something about it.

10. Chris Evans

The actor who brought Captain America to life struggles with social anxiety. Red carpet events are like “30 minutes of walking on hot coals.” He’s tried many things such as meditation, and while he’s gotten better, he still has moments of fear and doubt.

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