2018 is in full swing and mental and emotional wellbeing is still a trending topic across the board. Self-care and body positivity are hot topics among celebrities, bloggers, and on every magazine cover- but what has caused us to reach this point? Is it that we are finally to the point that taking care of ourselves is a priority, or is it because one in six Americans is struggling with mental illness?
One in six; that's an average of 44.7 million.
Mental illness has been silenced and shamed by society for decades. Those individuals with severe mental illness were locked away in institutions, where they were given inhumane treatments and suffered physical and mental abuse. Forgotten by their families, the majority of these patients lives ended there. Today, this stigma is still present. In recent years, people have begun to publicize their struggles with mental illness, including celebrities.
Recently, Mariah Carey came forward about her struggle with bipolar disorder, a very serious condition where if left untreated can cause extreme mood swings, and eventually psychosis. Carey Told PEOPLE Magazine that after being diagnosed in 2001, she was in denial and “didn’t want to believe it”. You can read the rest of the article here.
“Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me,” she says. “It was too heavy a burden to carry and I simply couldn’t do that anymore. I sought and received treatment, I put positive people around me and I got back to doing what I love — writing songs and making music.”
Carey, when asked about why she decided to speak up about her struggles with the illness, said she is "hopeful we [Americans] can get to a place where the stigma is lifted from people going through anything alone."
Carey is not the only celebrity that suffers from bipolar disorder; Mel Gibson, Mike Tyson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Carrie Fisher also hold this diagnosis. When properly treated, patients show little to no symptoms of the disease and go on to lead happy, healthy lives.
When celebrities come out to the public that they have health issues, they shatter Hollywood's image of perfection. This gives celebrities a certain amount of relatability to the public and that these people are just like you and I. They suffer and they are not perfect.
Additionally, celebrities have the power and connections to bring change and break stereotypes. By Carey breaking her silence she is empowering thousands of people suffering from mental illness in silence, and letting them know that it is OK to be different and that it is OK to not be 'okay'.