Breaking Expectations: Famous People

This “Breaking Expectations” is staff writer Shelby Bodine’s firsthand experience with living with mental illness.

There tends to be a belief that celebrities or people of power who we idolize could never have a mental illness. Mental illness isn’t glamorous enough to be bestowed upon these people who are brilliant and beautiful and talented.

Well, the cruel reality of this world is that mental illness does not care about the amount of money in your bank account, your social status or your level of celebrity. Mental illness will pick who it wants to pick. Here are a few celebrities that I bet you had no idea were bipolar: Robert Pattinson, Robert Downey Jr., Marilyn Monroe, the rapper DMX, Jimi Hendrix, Beethoven, Elvis Presley, President Abraham Lincoln, Sir Isaac Newton, Van Gogh, Picasso and Alfred Hitchcock  to name a few.

Frank Sinatra said it best when he said, “Being an 18-karat manic depressive, and having lived a life of violent emotional contradictions, I have an over-acute capacity for sadness as well as elation.”

That’s right, Ol’ Blue Eyes was bipolar. You can only imagine the amount of sympathy and empathetic feelings he got from his massive amount of fans.

While he definitely deserved the support, there is an issue at hand with people feeling sorry for a celebrity because of a mental illness, while they shun their own friends and family members for having the exact same mental illness. While I am not saying that it isn’t harder to maintain your clarity in the public eye, it still doesn’t make it easier to feel okay with no fame at all.

The moral to the story is that mental illness is mental illness no matter how many cameras you have following you around. Even if you haven’t made a single movie, you still need the same amount of support that celebrities need, not the same amount as they receive, but since we are all still humans with brains that are affected by mental illness, we all still need to know that we are loved and supported even though our brains are different.

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