One of the most famous and successful President's in US history, "Honest" Abe was once
quoted as saying, "I am now the most miserable man living," and fought off depression for
most of his life.
It is actually believed that his depression may have spurred him to be such a good leader
during the Civil War, as Lincoln was used to overcoming the battles of his mind, and as a
result, was able to more successfully lead the Union to victory.
Lincoln's leadership during this most pivotal and turbulent time in US history is proof positive
that one person can make a significant difference. Lincoln's guidance allowed for the abolition
of slavery and helped our nation to turn the page and rewrite our future. A wonderful book
about Lincoln and his overcoming of depression came out recently. "Lincoln's Melancholy,"
written by Joshua Wolf Shenk, is the compilation of seven years of research by the author
describing "how depression challenged a President and fueled his greatness." More about
Lincoln can be read here.
Leading the Allied powers through England's toughest time in their history is something that very
few people could do. Telling a nation of countrymen that although their country had been
practically destroyed (after 2 1/2 years of war against Nazi Germany) - they would overcome and
triumph; takes courage, resolve and a very optimistic attitude.
Those three attributes were exactly what helped to carry Sir Winston Churchill through his bouts
with depression and eventually - with a little help from his Allied American friends - helped to
lead the Allied forces to victory.
Churchill's leadership and positive demeanor during Britain's darkest days are what assisted
England to stave off a potential German victory and "bought" the Allied powers enough time to be
helped by the dormant Americans (until Japan 'woke the sleeping giant').
Sir Winston likened his bout to a dog, calling it the "black dog." The nickname implies both
familiarity and an attempt at mastery, because while that dog may sink his fangs into one's
person every now and then, he's still, after all, only a dog, and he can be cajoled sometimes and
locked up other times (Sue Chance, 'Chance Thoughts').
More about Winston Churchill, his life and his bout with depression can be read here.
Singer Sheryl Crow has had the best two years of her life - because she's fought back from an
emotional breakdown. The "All I wanna do" rocker battled a particularly debilitating bout of depression
two years ago which left her almost bedridden for six months. But embarking upon a course of
exercise, therapy and anti-depressant Prozac helped put the Missouri native back on track.
She says, "It's been a spectacular couple of years. Probably my happiest. I would never have thought
that back then, when I was too tearful to even leave the house.
"During some of those darkest days, I'd hardly get out of bed and just let the phone ring and ring. Small
problems became insurmountable and so I shied away from normal behaviour. It seemed easier to
duck out of life that way. Depression messed with my sleep in such a way that it was a very bizarre,
exhausting and dark time."
However, the "Soak up he sun" musician found her spirits lifting when she hit 40. She adds, "When I
turned 40, it was like a great release for me. Instead of focusing on the chaos of the future, what might
or might-not be, I knew that I had to concentrate on the day-to-day aspects of my life.
"For some reason, surrounded by my friends on my birthday, it was like there was a sudden break in
the clouds. Depression goes away as suddenly as it descends."
Article on Sheryl Crow found here. Thanks to "Platinum Celebs."
Former First Lady and "Mom" to current President Bush, Barbara Bush has also suffered through bouts
with depression. According to Mrs. Bush, "I was too sort of proud to get help." Barbara described
depression as being, "Awful, painful and it really physically hurts."
"But, having said that, I was the right age -- menopause, my children were gone for the first time," she
noted. "the doctor could have helped me and I was too stupid to go.....I didn't want to tell anyone. I
mean I was ashamed of it."
Quotes from this article came from the Former First Lady's interview with Larry King. The transcript can
be viewed here.
Even leading the Pittsburgh Steelers to four Super Bowl Championships was not enough to keep Terry
Bradshaw happy. According to his doctor, Bradshaw, who was diagnosed with clinical depression in 1998, was
probably suffering from depression since his teenage years. However, the straw that broke the camels back
came with his divorce.
"I could not bounce back from my divorce – emotionally – I just could not bounce back," Bradshaw said. "With any
bad situations I'd experienced before – a bad game or my two previous divorces – I got over them. This time I just
could not get out of the hole. The anxiety attacks were frequent and extensive. I had weight loss, which I'd never
had before. I couldn't stop crying. And if I wasn't crying, I was angry, bitter, hateful and mean-spirited. I couldn't
sleep – couldn't concentrate. It just got crazy." (USA TODAY)
After speaking with his preacher, Bradshaw began seeking professional help through talk-therapy and a doctor
who prescribed Paxil. Although in hindsight Bradshaw is thrilled to feel better, it was originally not easy to ask for
help. He has noted that it took all his strength and courage to admit to needing help. However considering his
current easygoing attitude and laughter infused tantrums, "people look at (him) and find it shocking that (he)
could be depressed."
Fortunately for all of us, a failed attempt at suicide in the late 60s/early 70s (by drinking a bottle of furniture
polish in an attempt to end his life) the "Piano Man" Billy Joel has been able to grace us all with his
musical talents for numerous years.
Joel's bout with depression, which followed the miserable failure of Attila (a band that he was in at the
time) and culminated in his suicide attempt, ended when he checked himself into Meadowbrook Hospital,
where he received psychiatric treatment for depression.
In 1973, just a few short years after his suicide attempt and leaving the Hospital, a live version of "Captain
Jack" was playing on radio stations in Los Angeles. Soon after, his first Top 40 hit, "Piano Man was
playing on radios all over the US - and a legend was born.
More about Billy Joel can be read here.
Although many may appreciate the acting ability and the beautiful person that is Halle Berry, there was a time
when the beauty pageant winner turned actress suffered from a depressive condition.
It appears that the culmination of so much negative occurrences in her life in such a short time period, may have
helped to cause Halle's depression. It began with the downfall and ending of her marriage to David Justice,
followed shortly by a terrible car-crash that resulted in her needing 20 stitches. Worse, the police allegedly and
apparently erroneously charged Berry with leaving the scene of the crime and fined her $9,000 as well as added
Halle has found comfort in doing what she does best - acting, as well as trying to live a "normal" life in making
sure she has time to herself. In particular, she is able to "find peace and unwind" while hanging out at the beach.
•Hans Christian Andersen •Honore de Balzac • F. Scott Fitzgerald • Ernest Hemingway • Mark Twain • Charles Dickens • Ralph Waldo Emerson • Herman Melville • Mary
Shelley • Virginia Woolf • Peter Tchaikovsky • Kurt Cobain •T.S.Eliot • Emily Dickinson • Victor Hugo • Edgar Allen Poe • Anne Sexton • Vincent van Gogh • Georgia
O'Keeffe •Patty Duke • Axl Rose • Ted Turner • Jonathon Winters • Vanessa Carlton • Alanis Morissette • Buzz Aldrin • Eric Clapton • Dick Clark • Laughton Chiles •
Michael Crichton • Anthony Hopkins • Sarah McLachlan • Bonnie Raitt • Charlie Pell • Ludwig van Beethoven • Napoleon Bonaparte • Frances Ford Coppola • Charles
Darwin • Alexander Hamilton • Martin Luther • Lord Nelson • Friederich Nietzsche • J C Penney • St Francis • St John • St Theresa • Peter Gabriel • James Taylor • Sara
Teasdale • Halle Berry • Jim Shea (Olympic skier) • Mike Tyson • Pat LaFontaine (hockey) • Pete Harnisch (baseball) • Vin Baker (basketball) • Jimmy Piersall (baseball) •
Jason Caffey (baseball) • Derrick Adkins (Olympic hurdler) • Dariusz Adamczuk (soccer) • Mark Bosnich (soccer)
|FAMOUS PEOPLE WHO OVERCAME DEPRESSION
There are numerous famous people who have come out to say that they have suffered bouts of depression - and in many
cases, have overcome those bouts by using the proper avenues of seeing psychiatrists, doctors, counselers,
psychologists, amongst other people. In some cases - before psychiatry and prescription drugs were created and
accepted into our culture for mental health illnesses, some great leaders suffered greatly on a daily basis, yet continued to
labor on and became great leaders.
Listed on this page are the names of seven famous people who suffered at least one bout with depression during their
life. A brief biography accompanies each individual's name. A brief list of other famous people of note is also included at
the bottom of this page.
Just imagine what the world would be like without the great talent, leadership and creativity of the amazing people listed!!
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