Celebrity Sensitivity: David Letterman

Letterman_David
David Letterman has gone public about his struggle with depression. He admits that he was reluctant to take any antidepressant medications to help with the problem. After coming down with shingles, Letterman also developed an anxiety disorder. But he finally came to the end of himself and asked his doctor “for anything just to get rid of this depression.” No word on whether he’s doing much better, but the assumption is that he probably is.

Celebrity Sensitivity: Catherine Zeta-Jones & Demi Lovato

Image from people.com

Catherine Zeta-Jones has bravely put her face on the cover People magazine—and on the face of bipolar disorder. And in a less publicized interview, 18-year-old Demi Lovato of teen Disney fame admitted last month to People that she too also suffers from bipolar disorder.

“This is a disorder that affects millions of people and I am one of them,” the [Zeta-Jones], 41, tells PEOPLE in an exclusive statement in this week’s cover story. “If my revelation of having bipolar II has encouraged one person to seek help, then it is worth it. There is no need to suffer silently and there is no shame in seeking help.”

Last month, Lovato said:

“I never found out until I went into treatment that I was bipolar. Looking back it makes sense,” she says of her diagnosis. “There were times when I was so manic, I was writing seven songs in one night and I’d be up until 5:30 in the morning.”

I’ve said before that I’m not a fan of mental illness fads, but bipolar disorder has such a stigma attached to it that celebrities who seriously suffer from the disorder have a chance to put a face on and say “There’s no shame in getting help.” And while psychotropic drugs certainly aren’t a cure-all in conjunction with talk and behavioral therapy, bipolar disorder can be managed—not just for these celebs but also for anyone who suffers from the disorder.

Celebrity Sensitivity: Catherine Zeta-Jones

Image from people.com

Of all the celebrities I would have pegged with some kind of mental health disorder, Ms. Zeta-Jones would have never made the list. After supporting her husband Michael Douglas through his cancer treatment, she remained quiet about herself only outspoken on issues pertaining to how upbeat and positive the couple was on Douglas’s treatment.

But clearly, being a bedrock for her husband has taken its toll on her. Last week, she checked into a mental health facility seeking treatment for her bipolar II disorder. Bipolar II is characterized by frequent depressive episodes rather than a constant swing of manic-depressive ones. While only Ms. Zeta-Jones knows what’s been going on inside her mind and her heart, I can only imagine that she’s been suffering with some depression for a while but quietly put it aside as her husband struggled to become healthy again.

In the past, I’ve used the Celebrity Sensitivity feature of this blog to mock celebrities who seem to be diagnosed with nearly any mental illness fad that goes around (normally, depression), but this time my heart goes out to Ms. Zeta-Jones who decided to seek treatment for herself instead of putting on a face like everything’s okay and toughing it out.

Celebrity Sensitivity: Pete Wentz

Pete WentzI’ve written about fellow bipolar sufferer Pete Wentz before here. How has he managed to keep his highs and lows in check?

His son, Bronx.

“While I’ll always be bipolar, I find it easier to deal with now. With marriage and fatherhood, I’ve finally found two fixed points in my life. They’ve taught me patience. They’ve also taught me that I don’t need to feel guilty about being happy. My emotional seasons are less extreme.

“In the past my brain would never stop. Now I’m a father, the world no longer revolves around me.”

I’ve always wondered whether having a child would change the way I deal with bipolar disorder. Of course, I’m not going to have a child simply as a test case in the hopes that he or she would “cure” me but I think having someone so completely dependent upon me would cause me to think twice about trying to kill myself.

Celebrity Sensitivity: Lily Allen

Lily AllenFor those of us not hip-to-the-jive, Lily Allen is a British pop singer who allegedly attempted suicide when she was a teen. Celebrity blog Pop Crunch reports:

The 24-year-old singer was committed after she was left so distraught by the breakdown of her first romance that she tried to “slit her wrists,” the 24-year-old singing star’s half-sister has revealed to a British tabloid.

“Aged 18, she tried to slit her wrists when her first relationship ended and she ended up in The Priory rehab clinic for four weeks,” Sarah Owen, 29, who shares the same mother with Lily said in an interview with Grazia Magazine this week.

“I had a big gang of friends but Lily was more of a loner. She had no-one to talk to about getting her first period or breaking up with her first boyfriend.

“Would it have been different if we’d been closer? Probably,” Sarah says.

As you can tell, Sarah was a caring big sister, really looking out for her little Lily. However, it seems like the incident was only a shadow of mental health struggles to come as she became famous. Lily has publicly said that she sees a therapist for depression ranging from constant attacks in the media to a miscarriage. An excerpt from Billboard magazine notes:

And does she ever worry the attention might push her down the self-destructive path that’s been trod by Spears and Winehouse?

“No,” she says. “I know myself well enough. As soon as I feel remotely depressed I’m checked into a clinic and having intensive therapy. I’ve seen enough people fall apart to know that’s not going to happen to me.”

It’s about time we had some smart celebrities who know when to check themselves before they wreck themselves.

Celebrity Sensitivity: Rolex watches helped Owen Wilson overcome suicide

Wow. If this isn’t a blatant advertisement for Rolex watches, I don’t know what is:

Owen WilsonAfter a frightening suicide attempt in 2007, Rolex watches and benefits appeared to play an essential role in actor Owen Wilson’s recovery. On August 29, 2007, Time magazine reported: “speculation about his drug use, depression over his May break-up from Hudson and a recent fight with a friend have peppered the coverage of Wilson’s hospitalization. A People magazine cover story out Friday quotes a friend as saying: “Owen was very despondent. He slit his wrists. He almost did not make it.” It was a dark period in Wilson life, and Rolex played a key role in helping Owen regain his bearings and his success.

RolexAlthough Owen Wilson has worn a Rolex GMT Master in the popular films Wedding Crashers and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, he chooses to wear a Rolex Submariner in his everyday life. It is not surprising that he would make such a choice. The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner originally was designed for diving and known for their resistance to water. The first Submariner was introduced to the public in 1954 at the Swiss Watch Fair. Copied by other watchmakers, the Rolex Submariner is recognized as a classic, and one of the most widely recognized luxury products in the world. The Rolex Submariner is part of Rolex’s Oyster Perpetual Professional line. After returning home from the hospital, Owen was captured by a photographer walking on the beach, wearing his Rolex Submariner. Later, he was seen riding his mountain bike in Santa Monica with the Rolex Submariner on his wrist. Obviously, the quality of a Rolex watch helped Owen realize and appreciate the quality of his own life.

If I had known that the answer to overcoming suicide was this easy, I could have avoided myself years of trouble.

Celebrity Sensitivity: Joe Pantoliano & Blake Fielder-Civil

Actor Joe Pantoliano, best known for his roles in The Goonies and The Sopranos, has recently admitted to struggling with depression. He didn’t tell anyone up until 3 years ago. When a close friend committed suicide, the event prompted him to seek help. He has begun the site No Kidding, Me Too to help fight the stigma of mental illness and encourage others to get help.

Blake Fielder-CivilAlso in depression news, Amy Winehouse’s troubled husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, has been receiving counseling in prison due to worry that Winehouse is still abusing drugs.

“Blake is on the verge of a nervous breakdown,” a prison insider told The Sun. “He has stopped his mopping job, which may sound funny, but it gave him something to do. Instead he mopes around his cell.

Something tells me that Fielder-Civil is not taking drugs — antidepressants, of course — in prison.

Celebrity Sensitivity: Juliana Hatfield & George Michael

Juliana HatfieldJuliana Hatfield, a singer who enjoyed great success in the 1990s, expressed frustration with the PR machine that covered up her bout with severe depression. So severe that she canceled a European tour. Her publicist spread word that she was suffering from “nervous exhaustion.” However, Hatfield reveals:

[My depression was] so unbearable that I was going to jump out of a window to get away from it . . . I needed to check myself into some kind of psychiatric-treatment facility.

I wondered why my publicist hadn’t simply told everyone the plain truth . . . instead of issuing such a vague, all-purpose ‘nervous exhaustion’ line, which . . . as far as I know isn’t even a real diagnosis.

Hatfield, who has an album due out in mid-August, appears to have sacrificed long-term mainstream success in exchange for her mental well-being. Given the choice she had to make, I’m sure she couldn’t be happier.

(Hat tip: Powerline A.D.)

On another note, George Michael (who is currently on tour) recently divulged his 20-year battle with depression on Good Morning America. He attributed his music to helping him cope with such events as the deaths of his boyfriend and his mother.

More Famous People With Mental Illness

The local NAMI chapter has literature all over a counter at my local library. One of the pieces of literature actually was a 5×7 index card with a list of famous people who struggled with mental illness. It was kind of interesting so I figured I’d share it. Some I’d already known about; others were a bit of a surprise. How did they figure out who had bipolar disorder back in the 1800s?

Read the rest of this entry »

2-Year Anniversary: The Long and Winding Road

I’m aware that my blog has taken a significantly dark turn.  This may alienate some of my readers who seek happier, brighter topics. I don’t think my posts have been negative; on the contrary, I think they’ve been positive. Positive and educational.

I’ve been exploring the topic of suicide recently because it’s a subject that’s quite near and dear to me, now more than ever before.

Read the rest of this entry »

Celebrity Sensitivity: 135 Famous Celebrities and Their Mental Health

The Pop-Crunch Show has a list of 135 Famous People Who Struggled with Depression. I sit on the fence and think that it should probably be retitled "135 Famous People Who Struggled with Mental Health Issues."

But then again, we could throw nearly every celebrity in there, huh? I’m bummed that Tom Cruise isn’t on the list.

Celebrity Sensitivity: Heather Locklear, Ruslana Korshunova, and Adam Duritz

Heather LocklearHeather Locklear, most famous for her roles in T.J. Hooker and Dynasty, checked into an Arizona facility for treatment of anxiety and depression on June 19. As of July 2, rumors reported that she was still checked into the facility. Her publicist issued a statement on June 24:

“Heather has been dealing with anxiety and depression. She requested an in-depth evaluation of her medication and entered into a medical facility for proper diagnosis and treatment,” says Locklear’s rep, Cece Yorke. “This is a confidential medical matter and no further statement will be released.”

It seems that her bout of depression began after her split from rocker Richie Sambora to whom she was married for about 10 years. It appears that her current partner, actor Jack Wagner, has been a strong source of support and encouragement for her.

However, in other upsetting news, 21-year-old model Ruslana Korshunova jumped from the window of her Manhattan apartment in what appears to be a suicide. No one is quite sure what caused it but the based on the poetry that she posted on a website, the New York Daily News has proposed the idea that it was over “a lost love.”

Adam DuritzFinally, Counting Crows singer Adam Duritz revealed to Men’s Health magazine that he suffers from dissociative identity disorder (DID).  John Grohol of PsychCentral quoted an excerpt from the interview:

What makes my case even worse is that every night I go out on stage and have this incredible emotional connection between me, the band, and the audience. Then, just like that, it’s over. I go backstage, back to the bus, back to my hotel room, and sit there all by myself. That deep connection is yanked away in an instant. It’s like breaking up with your girlfriend over and over again, every night.

Celebrity Sensitivity: Kirsten Dunst

Kirsten Dunst I’m not a fan of Kirsten Dunst or her acting (but Interview with the Vampire was pretty good) but I have to give her sympathy if she was depressed enough to check into a hospital. Her admission comes toward the end of Depression Overawareness and Overmedication Week and May’s Mental Health Awareness Month.

In February of this year, Dunst checked into Cirque Lodge Treatment Center, a “posh facility” in Utah that has treated the likes of Eva Mendes (wouldn’t say) and Lindsay Lohan (substance abuse).

In any event, Dunst stayed low-key about her treatment for depression.

As for why she decided to talk about her struggles now, Dunst tells E!, “Now that I’m feeling stronger, I was prepared to say something … Depression is pretty serious and should not be gossiped about.”

(Does this count as gossiping?)

Dunst dealt with her depression allegedly by partying and engaging in “wild nights.” However, a supportive friend says that she had been struggling for quite a while.

“She’s been crying a lot lately, ” said the friend. “Everybody hits that bottom where you feel [so] scared that that one heavy night of partying can really wake you up. It’s good she’s getting herself help.”

I’m glad that she was able to get treatment. Although I still envy the “posh facility” part of it. Checking in to a hospital is never fun but I can only imagine that celebrities are treated comfortably. See it here.

(Hat tip: Gianna at Beyond Meds)

Celebrity Sensitivity: Maurice Benard

This one’s for the women.

If you’re anything like me, sometime during the 90’s you watched the long-running soap opera General Hospital at one point or another. Well, remember bad boy Sonny Corinthos?

Maurice BenardMaurice Benard, the actor behind the character, has openly admitted to struggling with severe bipolar disorder and is a spokesperson for Mental Health America. While I’m not sure which came first (the chicken or the egg), Benard’s charcter, Sonny, also struggles with bipolar disorder on the show. In the past, I’ve read that he flew into rages so bad that he needed to be hospitalized and had to take time away from the set to recover. It’s only fitting that Sonny’s character — as ruthless as he is — shows a true side of Benard who seeks to educate viewers about the disorder.

Combined with his stressful career in organized crime, Sonny’s bipolar disease has caused him to routinely break out in acts of senseless violence.  The most infamous example of Sonny’s violent side was when Sonny, during one of his “manic” moods, shot his wife Carly in the skull while she was in the process of giving birth to his son.

That episode sounds like it might have pissed me off instead. But Benard seemed okay with it.

“Two years ago the head writer came up to me about doing a breakdown story. I said as long as it’s done to educate people and to make it right.  And we did it.  It was fantastic,” the General Hospital actor added.

I wonder what people learned from the overall storyline.

Celebrity Sensitivity: Christina Ricci, Mel Gibson, and Britney Spears

Liz Spikol has a new post on celebrities talking about mental disorders. This time, it’s Christina Ricci and Mel Gibson. Ricci has previously admitted to suffering from anorexia but now admits to suffering from depression. Gibson, on the other hand, said in a 2002 interview that he was bipolar (manic-depressive back in the day). Then she’s got a whole list of people who have recently admitted to depression.

Then there’s Britney Spears. If you don’t know who she is, be thankful. For the rest of us who spend our time following celebrity news, there have been rumors swirling around recently that she is pregnant because she’s got a big, protruding belly (bigger than the botched VMA’s last year) even though she’s been exercising regularly.

Britney SpearsAccording to the Daily Mail, Spears isn’t pregnant but seriously bloated as a result of her medication.

A source close to the family says that Britney has been struggling with her weight ever since she had her second son Jayden James, 20 months, and the medication has not helped.

The pop star has been back in training in preparation for a comeback, spending plenty of time on the treadmill – but despite all the effort, she is failing to regain the svelte figure which made her famous.

I wonder what antipsychotics she’s on. Seroquel?

Finally, ABC News wrote about celebrities who suffer from various mental illnesses. I’d been wanting to blog on this some time ago but never had the chance. BPD in OKC beat me to it.

Celebrity Sensitivity: Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth PaltrowActress Gwyneth Paltrow has come clean about her bout with postpartum depression after the birth of her son Moses. Speaking to Vogue magazine, Paltrow said:

“I didn’t know I had it until after it was over. I just didn’t know what was wrong with me. I felt really out of my body. I felt really disconnected. I felt really down. I felt pessimistic.”

Katherine Stone gives her perspective on this story at Postpartum Progress.

Celebrity Sensitivity: Half of Us

Pete WentzCelebrity Crust has a post on Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy who is doing a campaign on behalf of Half of Us, a mtvU-site geared toward college students that focuses on mental health issues.

Wentz was joined stars such as Mary J. Blige and Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan as a spokesperson for the Jed Foundation’s Half Of Us campaign which is aimed at cutting student suicide rates.

The site also deals with issues such as eating disorders, stress, substance abuse, cutting, anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. As part of Generation Y (or Z or XYZ), I grew up loving mtv as a teen. Now I can’t stand it. (Mainly because it’s reality-TV show channel for than music television.) But I have to hand it to the mtv networks this time. They got it right. Use celebrities if you have to so that college students will be less hesitant to seek the help they need.

Celebrity Sensitivity: Steve-O

I’ve never watched the show Jackass but apparently the big star from the show, Steve-O, is on suicide watch. Steve-O (real name: Stephen Glover) was recently charged with cocaine possession by LA police so it’s likely that he was under the influence of drugs when threatened to take his own life. He also is said to suffer from bipolar disorder. (I told you it’s the hip mental illness!) PerezHilton.com quotes Star magazine that first broke the story:

"Steve is stabilized on meds at this point," the source says. "He was also treated for burns on his skin as if he had been putting cigarettes out on his own body."

"Right now he’s in his extreme mania," a family member tells the mag. "His concerned friends and family are hoping he’ll seek treatment. He doesn’t need jail, he needs therapy. We’re just really hoping that this will be the wake-up call that gets him back to himself."

This is another celebrity’s antics we can take seriously. Steve-O left suicide notes for friends and family. While his drug charges shouldn’t be dismissed just because he’s famous, this family member is right; he needs treatment. If you want to see a disturbing photo that could be seen as a foreshadowing of this incident, see this post at PerezHilton.com.

Celebrity Sensitivity: Courtney Love & Heather Locklear

Courtney Love Sheesh. Talk about sensitivity on this one. Rumors have been flying around that Courtney Love (widow of Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain) is bipolar. Love goes ballistic refuting those speculations on her MySpace page:

and i hear now i am “Bi Polar” uhhhh…thats more nuts than I will ever be. I may be Eccentric, i certainly speak my mind and am slow to put out a record i need to mean the world to ME, and im sure i am quite Nuerotic (sic) but “Bi Polar” . Thats just slander.I shoot straight from the hip and spellcheck has NOTHING to do with REALITY.

Ok, Love is just crazy in general. I can respect that.

In other celeb somewhat-mental-health-related news, paramedics responded to a suicide call that police believed was from Heather Locklear. However, police soon found out it was a hoax and the call didn’t even originate from her house. Someone’s tryin’ to mess with Sammy Jo… (There’s a throwback for ya.)

Celebrity Sensitivity – it's back!

Because I’ve fallen off track with blogging for so long, I completely forgot what I called my celebrity feature. (My husband happily chimed in to remind me.)

Lily AllenRight now, the depressed celeb of the moment is singer Lily Allen. The New Zealand Weekend Herald reports that Ms. Allen checked into a London clinic after she suffered a miscarriage and broke up with the baby’s father.

If that isn’t enough to make anyone depressed, I don’t know what would. I usually rail on celebrities who shroud themselves with the cloak of depression but hearing the circumstances surrounding Allen’s depressive episode is certainly understandable. I’m glad she was cognizant enough to recognize that she needed treatment.

(Image courtesy Musichead)

Celebrities take undisclosed money to endorse pharma drugs

This is old news, but I found it interesting enough to put up here because of my obsession with celebrities (although I haven’t been keeping up with them recently).

Walk of FameBrandweekNRX posted about the FTC investigating pharmaceutical companies paying stars “undisclosed” amounts of money to endorse medication. BrandweekNRX has the entire list, but here are some of my favorites:

  • Alonzo Mourning of basketball team Miami Heart – Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J’s) Procrit for anemia
  • Sally Field, an outspoken activist for osteoporosis awareness – Roche Therapeutics’ Boniva
  • Holly Marie Combs of Charmed – Ortho contraceptives for J&J’s subsidiary, Ortho McNeil
  • Terry Bradshaw, my beloved football commentator – GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) Paxil
  • Lorraine Bracco of The Sopranos – Pfizer’s Zoloft

Attribution: CLPsych

Celebrity sensitivity: Anne Hathaway and Mark Curry

Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway recently admitted to her depression:

“Anne Hathaway says she suffered from anxiety and depression in her teens, but that she rejected medication and instead worked through her troubles.

“I said to Mom the other day, ‘Do you remember that girl? She has now gone, gone to sleep. She has said her piece and she is gone,’ ” Hathaway, 24, tells Britain’s Tatler magazine. “But then I thought, ‘I so remember her, only she is no longer part of me.’ ”

She continues, ‘I am sorry she was hurting for so long. It’s all so negatively narcissistic to be so consumed with self.'”

I suffered from depression when I was a teen. And sure, puberty – especially in women – causes all sorts of funky things to go awry. (No thanks to estrogen.) I do believe that teenage girls can suffer from severe depression caused by a “chemical imbalance.” However, I tried to “work through” my troubles and ended up in psych hospitals — twice. I’m so glad that Ms. Hathaway got over herself.

As for her last quote, “It’s all so negatively narcissistic to be so consumed with self,” I agree with it to some extent. Anxiety and depression are a form of self-absorption. If not, then why are MDD and GAD patients (especially) sent off to therapy to “work through” their troubles? While I wouldn’t go as far to say it’s “negatively narcissistic” (bad connotation), there are psychological troubles that can be influenced by chemical fluctuations in the body. To generalize and say that people can just “work through” their troubles on their own conveys the idea that mentally ill people do not need to seek treatment. I’d like to someone in the psych community come down so hard on her that she’d need to make a statement to justify this one. But it won’t happen. It’s okay to slam mentally ill people, but don’t slam race, gays, or those with addictions. What a double-standard. (attribution to The Trouble With Spikol)

Mark CurryFor those who are old enough to remember the show, “Hanging With Mr. Cooper,” comedian Mark Curry ended up suffering from depression after an accident in April which burned just over a fitfth of his body. Curry’s background in comedy helped push him to recovery, although it wasn’t easy.

“I was depressed,” he said. ”I thought about committing suicide, but where in a hospital room is a man who’s 6’6” going to hang himself?”

Curry says that fellow comedians such as Chris Tucker, Martin Lawrence, and Bill Cosby helped him push through his depression and focus on his receovery.

“’That’s how I got through it, my friends calling me.’

All jokes aside, Curry said the accident is serving as a catalyst to make some changes in his life. He’s found two new causes— raising money for burn victims and bringing attention to depression, which is still a huge taboo in the African American community.”

It’s good to see an black man raising awareness on depression and the circumstances that can lead a person to depression and suicide. I’m not happy that this happened to him, but I’m glad something good can come from it.

As for Ms. Hathaway, she is just part of a long list of celebrities continuing the “fashionable” trend of suffering from depression:

“The actress is the latest celebrity to discuss depression recently, joining Mandy Moore and Zach Braff.”

Maybe I’m being too negative. Perhaps it’s good to see attention being drawn to depression, but at the same time, it lessens the grave importance of how severe depression can be. It’s one thing to be depressed for a certain period of time, but it’s another thing to suffer from depression. I wish the media would get their terminology right. It diffentiates between Beyoncé and Brooke Shields.

Celebrity sensitivity: Britney’s mental illness

Britney SpearsI originally posed a theory that Britney Spears might be suffering from a mental illness such as postpartum depression (PPD) or bipolar disorder. Furious Seasons linked to an article on tmz.com (by way of Celebrity Baby Blog – wtf?) where “sources say doctors at her rehab facility think the underlying reason for her trouble may be post-partum depression.”

As for my theories:

“Sources tell TMZ that Britney’s doctors have two operating theories — either that she suffers from post-partum depression or bipolar disorder. The doctors strongly believe post-partum is the problem.”

At least I got the plausible diagnoses. Damn, I’m good.

(A nice pic of the former ‘sexy’ days of Ms. Spears.)

UPDATE: The Trouble With Spikol also wrote her own take on it too.

Britney Spears has a mental illness

I haven’t kept up on other news except for Britney Spears. (By way of my husband.) Prime Minister Tony Blair has announced his plan for pulling British troops out of Iraq and I’m more interested in Britney Spears’ life. Where are my priorities?

Anyway, I’m convinced that Britney Spears has a mental illness. She’s suffering from postpartum depression and struggling with her addiction to drugs (recreational mixed with prescription, from what I understand) and alcohol.

Britney Spears (crazy)The image to the left are a recent photo collage (courtesy of x17online.com) of her angry and trying supposedly trying to smash her soon-to-be ex-husband Kevin Federline’s car. They also show more detailed images of her newly shaved head.

She has two kids at home and barely spends any time with them. Could it be that she’s just irresponsible or that she’s suffering from a severe depression, not only after having kids but also going through a stressful divorce at the same time?

Maybe she suffers from bipolar disorder — her actions certainly seem to fit the bill. The happy housewife, then the big party girl. Her erratic stint of checking in and out of rehab. Twice. As of this post, she’s checked into rehab a third time. It must be nice to be a celebrity. Once most people have checked into rehab or a psych hospital , there’s at least a 48-hour wait before they can leave.  She’s checked in and out in one day. At least Keith Urban stayed and finished his treatment — with a brief reprieve during Christmas.

Back to her possible bipolarity (I’ve broken my own grammatical rule), her drinking and late-night partying while she’s got children at home makes no sense to pretty much everybody. The actions of those who suffer from bipolar disorder never make any sense to anyone except the person with the disorder.

Perhaps, Ms. Spears doesn’t realize what she’s doing. This is common with those who have bpd. And for those with mental illness, it doesn’t help that she’s under a media microscope being judged, not only by her peers, but by the entire world. All of us with mental illness — once we’re in our right mind — prefer to keep our suffering quiet. We wouldn’t want anyone to know lest we suffer because of it. My anonymity for this blog is an example of this. I don’t want any potential employers to know who I am lest it prevents me from obtaining a job.

The world thinks Britney Spears is crazy and needs help. Perhaps, they’re right.

Loose Screws Mental Health News

A new Canadian study has found that most workers who struggled with depression had job performances were affected. (Nothing new here, right?)

“On average, the study says, depressed workers reported 32 days in the past year during which symptoms had resulted in ‘their being totally unable to work or carry out normal activities.’”

Seems like people really are taking ‘mental health’ days these days.


Bahrain is having a problem with Indians committing suicide in the country. In January, so far, three Indians have killed themselves. Triggers leading up to the suicides are theorized to be “mental or economic depression, stressful working conditions, low wages and poor housing.”


According to Dr. Brian Doyle, people with ADHD are at a higher risk for mood disorders such as major depressive disorder.

“In a recent study, 38.3% of individuals with a primary diagnosis of ADHD during the previous 12 months also had a mood disorder, compared with 5% of subjects who didn’t have ADHD.   The reverse is also true; individuals who have major depression are likelier to have ADHD than other persons.   In a Massachusetts General Hospital survey, 16% of adults with a primary diagnosis of major depressive disorder had a lifetime history of ADHD.”

Maybe I’m tired right now, but I couldn’t wrap my head around those statistics. Basically, if you’ve got a primary diagnosis of ADHD, you’re likely to have a mood disorder; if you’ve got MDD, you’re likely to also have ADHD; and if you’ve got a primary diagnosis of MDD, you probably have had ADHD for pretty much your whole life. That’s a lot to swallow.

“I am trying to screen more of my depressed patients for ADHD — especially if the patient’s depression is not responding well to treatment. The standard ADHD rating scales are a good place to start.”

I’ve heard it’s hard to screen adults for ADHD; on the flip side, I’ve also been told that it’s more difficult to find ADHD in women than in men. Dr. Doyle’s definitely on the right track here in keeping his eyes open for better ADHD screening. Perhaps I really do have ADHD.


While many celebrities are “outing” themselves on their depressive episodes, Dr. Deborah Serani’s got a list of other well-known people who have either admitted to or speculated to have experienced depression.


I’m late on the bandwagon with this but a study released in December shows that displaced women in Darfur suffer from severe depression. According to an article in Ms. Magazine:

“The International Medical Corps (IMC) posits that women’s multiple roles in society, along with constant stressors like low socioeconomic status, domestic violence, and the threat of rape when venturing outside, may account for the poor mental health of these displaced women. Women’s restricted access to education may also affect their ability to access proper care and make informed decisions about their own physical and mental health.”

And to think those of us in developed countries have problems.

“Almost one-third (31 percent) of women surveyed met the criteria for major depressive disorder while 63 percent reported suffering the emotional symptoms of depression. Five percent reported suicidal thoughts, 2 percent had attempted suicide, and another 2 percent of households had a member commit suicide in the past year. Nearly all of the respondents (98 percent) felt that counseling provided by humanitarian agencies would be the most helpful way of dealing with these feelings.”

It’s good to see that an overwhelming majority of women feel that counseling would help them. Sometimes, people in Western/developed countries take therapy for granted.

“Though depression rates are comparable to, or even lower than, those of other populations displaced by similar conflicts, the rates of suicide and suicidal ideation are ‘alarmingly high in contrast to general rates worldwide,’ according to the report.”

This, unfortunately, makes sense. Suicide is a reaction to ending constant pain. I admire women in Darfur who choose to live despite never-ending pain.  This article puts me to shame somewhat. I am incredibly blessed to have all the amenities of this country and encouragement and love from family and friends. However, I feel pretty stupid when I fall apart over minor things compared to the women in Darfur. It’s an awful cliché, but “I really do have a lot going for me; why am I depressed?”


ViagraFor men: Are you depressed and can’t get an erection? Don’t worry – Viagra can kill two birds with one stone!

A Canadian study (yes, another one) says that Viagra (sildenafil) can help improve mild depression and, of course, aid impotence in men.

“Dr. Sidney Kennedy and his team studied 184 men who had had erection problems for about four years and also met the criteria for minor, but not major, depression.

[After six weeks of treatment], the 98 men who received sildenafil had a 47 per cent reduction in their depression scores, indicating a change from mild to minimal depression. In comparison, men taking placebos had only a 26 per cent decrease in their scores, which remained in the range of mild depression.”

Pfizer’s getting their sales reps started on this one. Expect to see reps carrying Viagra brochures and info to psychiatrists eventually.

Celebrity Sensitivity: Mandy Moore

Oh man, does this need to become a regular feature.

Our newest depressed celebrity: Mandy Moore.

Mandy Moore“‘A few months ago I felt really low, really sad. Depressed for no reason,’ the 22-year-old actress-singer says in an interview in the February issue of Jane magazine, on newsstands Tuesday.  ‘I’m a very positive person, and I’ve always been glass-half-full,’ she continues. ‘So it was like someone flipped a switch in me. I wanted to figure out why.’

Moore, newly single after high-profile relationships with actor Zach Braff and tennis standout Andy Roddick, says her recent split with Braff didn’t help matters.

‘The breakup added to what I was going through, but it’s not the complete reason,” she tells the magazine. ‘It definitely doesn’t help if you’re already in that place…’

But now — Mandy’s cured!

“Moore, who is working on a new record at a studio in Woodstock, N.Y., and feeling better for doing it, says writing songs ‘away from friends in L.A. or New York’ is good for the soul. ‘Writing has been really therapeutic,’ she says of her music. ‘These little nuggets that have come up over the past eight months have made me look at things in a different way.’”

Writing is therapeutic and helps me sort through my feelings, but it’s never totally resolved my depression. Let’s see if Mandy goes through another “depression” in the future.

Celebrity Sensitivity: Zach Braff

Okay, so many celebs are coming out saying that they suffer from depression that this phenomenon needs a regular title.

Zach BraffZach Braff is one of the latest celebs to admit he struggles with depression. He admits, however, that his depression is mild:

“I think I suffer from some mild depression,” he tells Parade magazine in an interview to be published on Sunday. “So to have millions of people go, ‘I watched your movie [Garden State] and related’ was the ultimate affirmation that I’m not a freak.”

I find his depression confession much more believable than, oh say, Angelina Jolie’s. She and I will talk when I’ve heard she’s gone to a therapist…

Celebrity Sensitivity: Beyoncé Knowles

BeyoncéBeyonce has recently spoken out about her past “depression.” It was back in 2000, when two of her bandmates quit Destiny’s Child, sued her father for mismanagement, and to top it off, her boyfriend of 4-5 years broke up with her.

It annoys me when people go through a rough period and the media call it a “depression.” It is possible for someone to be down and discouraged during a rough period but to be depressed is clinical – it is ongoing for life. Beyonce was not depressed; she was going through a rough patch in her life that eventually smoothed out. She never needed psychiatric treatment, counseling or medication. She was fine then and she’s fine now.

I hate how the media is turning mental illness into the latest fashionable fallibility of celebrities.

Celebrity Sensitivity: Jamie-Lynn Sigler

Jamie-Lynn SiglerJamie-Lynn Sigler of Sopranos fame admitted that she struggled with suicidal thoughts while battling anorexia.

She says, “I really just said, ‘Why can’t I be normal? Why can’t I be happy? I have everything. I just don’t understand. I don’t want to live anymore.’ It got to the point where it was so overwhelming that suicide seriously crossed my mind.”

Loose Screws Mental Health News

HIV patients with a history of depression, beware: Those who receive treatment with the antiretroviral drug efavirenz are more likely to experience mental health problems during the first four weeks of therapy and to discontinue treatment. As with all things that can cause problems, talk to your doctor about alternatives.

Tom PettyIn a string of celebrity depression revelations, Tom Petty admits that he, too, struggled with severe depression after the deaths of bandmate Howie Epstein and friend George Harrison. His saving grace? His wife, Dana. Petty’s depression at one point was so severe that he lived as a hermit in a chicken shack in the woods. Stories like this impress the importance of being a supportive, loving person when approaching a person with depression.

The Florida Bradenton Herald reports that more sick time is used on depression than on any other illness. (I suppose this includes the standard “mental health day”?) Odd quote of the day:

“We’re very excited because depression is such an undertreated problem in the county,” Deborah Kostroun, the chief operating officer of Manatee Glens said.

Morbid obesity can result in depression

India has had a a string of farmer suicides within the past three years. Reasons include debt, business failure, marriage expenses, bad health and other personal problems.

And a suicide attempt by a mayor in a Wilmington, North Carolina suburb, has directed more exposure toward politicians who suffer from depression and other mental illnesses.