25 Historical Figures With Mental Illnesses

25 Historical Figures With Mental Illnesses

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This past week, October 4 – October 10, 2015, was Mental Health Awareness week. The theme for this year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), was #IAmStigmaFree. The Merriam-Webster definition of stigma is “a set of negative and often unfair beliefs that a society or group of people have about something; a mark of shame of discredit.”

To hopefully help reduce some of the stigma that surrounds mental illness, I thought I would compile a list of well-known people over time who have suffered or are still suffering from a mental illness.

1. Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)

Da Vinci was known to have kept complicated journals where he wrote upside-down and backwards. He also had dyslexia.

2. Michelangelo (1475-1564)


Known for his incredible art, Michelangelo also suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

3. Isaac Newton (1643-1727)

The scientist who explained gravity and had the Laws of Motion named after himself, Isaac Newton was known to have suffered from bipolar disorder and possible depression.

4. Beethoven (1770-1827)

While Beethoven is well-known for being a deaf composer and coming up with masterpieces such as Fur Elise, he also suffered from bipolar disorder and depression.

5. Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)


Though this is no surprise, the father of the American short-story suffered from depression and alcoholism.

6. Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

The 16th president of the United States suffered from depression and anxiety attacks.

7. Charles Darwin (1809-1882)

The creator of the Theory of Evolution suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

8. Mary Todd Lincoln (1818-1882)

The wife of Abraham Lincoln suffered from schizophrenia.

9. Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931)


The inventor of the light bulb suffered from dyslexia.

10. Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)

The creator of "Starry Night" suffered from bipolar disorder and depression.

11. Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

The former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom suffered from bipolar disorder and dyslexia.

12. Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

The creator of the theory of relativity suffered from dyslexia.

13. Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

This famous artist suffered from depression.

14. Walt Disney (1901-1966)

The man behind Mickey Mouse suffered from dyslexia.

15. Buzz Aldrin (1930- )


This astronaut, the second person to walk on the moon, suffers from depression.

16. Elton John (1947- )


This musician who wrote the song "Can You Feel The Love Tonight," suffered from bulimia.

17. Ozzy Osbourne (1948- )


This musician, known as The Prince of Darkness, suffers from bipolar disorder.

20. Robin Williams (1951-2014)


Loved by many, this actor and comedian lost his battle to depression in 2014.

19. Stephen Fry (1957- )


This actor and comedian suffers from bipolar disorder.

20. Princess Diana of Wales (1961-1997)

The late princess suffered from bulimia and depression.

21. Jim Carrey (1962- )


This actor and comedian suffers from depression.

22. Ben Stiller (1965- )


This actor and comedian suffers from bipolar disorder.

23. Kurt Cobain (1967-1994)


Founder and lead singer of the grunge-rock band Nirvana, Cobain suffered from ADD and bipolar disorder.

24. Leonardo DiCaprio (1974- )


This actor suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

25. Heath Ledger (1979-2008)


This Australian-born actor known for his amazing performance as The Joker in "Batman: The Dark Knight," suffered from insomnia, anxiety, and depression.


Every one in five people have a mental illness of some kind. These 25 people are only a tiny fraction of those who have some kind of mental illness in the "famous" or "well-known" spectrum. There are even more of those who have it in our day to day lives.

To learn more about mental health, visit https://www.nami.org/.


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I Woke up In The Middle Of The Night To Write About My Fears, They're Worse Than The Dark

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It is one of those nights when I am tired, but for some reason, I can't seem to fall asleep. So, what do I do? I pull out my laptop, and I begin to write. Who knows where it will lead. It could lead to a killer article or something that does not make sense. I mean it is almost 2 A.M. In my mind, that's pretty late.

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Julie Fox

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These six things are just the start of my fears. Some of these might seem "dumb" or "ridiculous" to you, but for me, it's my life. These are the things that I think about the most. These are the things that feel like a pit in my stomach. These six things are parts of my life that mean a lot to me.

Cover Image Credit:

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