Do you know the leading cause of ill-health and disability in the world?
It’s not cancer, debilitating diseases like HIV, or even poverty.
The number one cause of health problems in the world is mental illness.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in 4 people in the world will be affected by mental disorders at least one point in their lives. In fact, right now, 450 million people are suffering from disorders like depression and anxiety.
Anxiety, for one, affects 40 million adults (18.1 % of the populations), every year.
But even with so many people in the world suffering the same thing, it is still so easy to feel alone. Anxiety makes us feel powerless. And showing it to the world makes us feel weak.
So we trap ourselves in a mental jail of suffering. But the truth is, more people than you know are going through the same experience.
You might think you’re the only one. But even people who seem to have everything – money, fame, glory – still experience anxiety.
So if you’re feeling completely alone and powerless, here are some quotes from famous people that prove anxiety doesn’t choose its victims. It affects everyone – not just people like you.
In a candid interview with Rolling Stone, the Grammy-winning singer opened up about her anxiety before performances.
“I get shitty scared. I’ve thrown up a couple of times. Once in Brussels, I projectile-vomited on someone. I just gotta bear it. But I don’t like touring. I have anxiety attacks a lot.”
So how does she go through it?
For the UK singer, it’s all about lightening the mood up.
“I just think that nothing’s ever gone horrifically wrong. Also, when I get nervous, I try to bust jokes. It does work. I chat a lot of fucking shit, though.”
2. Zayn Malik
It’s hard to fathom that Zayn Malik might suffer from anxiety. The former One Direction member always seems calm when he’s in the public eye.
However, he is actually very open about his anxiety. For him, it’s important to be honest about what you’re feeling.
He sat down with US Weekly and said:
“Just being straight up. Just being honest about everything, explaining what it is that makes you feel uncomfortable, what it is that you’re cool with. And making sure that all of that is in order and everyone’s got a clear understanding of what that is.”
3. Jennifer Lawrence
New York Times asked the Oscar-winning actress about how she deals with fame and always being under the public eye.
In blunt Jennifer-Lawrence fashion, she answered:
“I just try to acknowledge that this scrutiny is stressful, and that anyone would find it stressful. So I’ve got to try to let it go, and try to be myself, and focus on important things, like picking up dog poop.”
4. Demi Lovato
When Demi Lovato suffers from mental breakdowns, she doesn’t have the same luxury of privacy as the rest of us. From her alcohol problem, breakups, to anxiety attacks – she’s always under tabloid scrutiny.
But despite all that, the singer and actress remains honest about her ordeals.
And she’s not afraid to inspire people despite of this. She believes that you can still live a good life despite having anxiety, saying:
“I want to let my younger self know that it’s possible not to have those terrible feelings and thoughts anymore, and you can still live well with an illness. You’re only delaying your own happiness. It doesn’t have to take over your life, it doesn’t have to define you as a person, it’s just important that you ask for help. It’s not a sign of weakness.”
5. Kevin Breel
Popular Canadian stand-up comic, Kevin Breel has a natural ability to make people laugh. But even the world’s most hilarious people feel deep sadness, too.
In his TED-talk-gone-viral, Confessions of a Depressed Comic, Kevin had some deeply profound insight on mental illness that millions couldn’t help but relate to.
“The stigma in our society around depression is very real. Ask yourself this: Would you rather make your next Facebook status say you’re having a tough time getting out of bed because you hurt your back or you’re having a tough time getting out of bed every morning because you’re depressed?
“Unfortunately, we live in a world where if you break your arm, everyone runs over to sign your cast, but if you tell people you’re depressed, everyone runs the other way.”
6. Michelle Obama
It seems like the former First Lady has everything together. A loving relationship with her husband, two beautiful and accomplished daughters, and an inspiring career under her belt.
However, she is also human, and she has had her fair share of anxiety and doubts. Especially when she started her position as First Lady.
In her new book, Becoming, she writes:
“At this point, I’d been first lady for just over two months. In different moments, I’d felt overwhelmed by the pace, unworthy of the glamour, anxious about our children, and uncertain of my purpose.”
So she knows what she’s talking about when she’s out there raising awareness on mental health issues, saying;
“When it comes to mental health conditions, we often treat them differently from other diseases like cancer, diabetes or asthma.
“Whether an illness affects your heart, your leg or your brain, it’s still an illness, and there should be no distinction.”
7. Jon Hamm
Jon Hamm has his good looks… and his honesty. While many celebrities hide the fact that they’re seeing therapists, Jon doesn’t care if the world knows.
He might be nonchalant about it, but his openness about his battle against mental illness is also a step in getting rid of the stigma surrounding it.
On his interview with InStyle magazine, he was candid about his previous rehab stint:
“Medical attention is medical attention whether it’s for your elbow or for your teeth or for your brain.
“And it’s important. We live in a world where to admit anything negative about yourself is seen as a weakness, when it’s actually a strength. It’s not a weak move to say, ‘I need help.’ In the long run it’s way better, because you have to fix it.”
8. Kerry Washington
Just when you think this African-American actress doesn’t have more inspiring to say, she does so anyway. Kerry Washington advocates a lot of causes, but she puts more importance in ending mental health stigma.
And she’s not afraid to use her platform to let other people know that they’re not alone in their struggles.
In an interview with Glamour, Kerry asserts:
“I think it’s really important to take the stigma away from mental health. My brain and my heart are really important to me. I don’t know why I wouldn’t seek help to have those things be as healthy as my teeth. I go to the dentist. So why wouldn’t I go to a shrink?”
9. Cara Delevigne
In the midst of a successful modeling career, and just when she started dabbling with acting, Cara Delevigne seemed to have disappeared from everyone’s radar.
The model wasn’t feeling good mentally. And it was so bad, that she even had suicidal thoughts.
She told US Vogue:
“This is something I haven’t been open about, but it’s a huge part of who I am. All of a sudden I was hit with a massive wave of depression and anxiety and self-hatred, where the feelings were so painful that I would slam my head against a tree to try to knock myself out.”
But despite all of this, she managed to snap out of it:
“I was packing my bags, and suddenly I just wanted to end it. I had a way, and it was right there in front of me. And I was like, I need to decide whether I love myself as much as I love the idea of death.”
10. Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga isn’t just a Grammy-winning artist. She’s also an actress, style icon, and mental health advocate.
And she’s not afraid to hash out some profound insights about anxiety and depression in her interviews.
As the cover story of Harper’s Bazaar March 2014 issue, Lady Gaga shared the lessons she learned while dealing with mental illness:
“I learned that my sadness never destroyed what was great about me. You just have to go back to that greatness, find that one little light that’s left. I’m lucky I found one little glimmer stored away.”
(Check out our epic guide to loving someone with anxiety.)
11. Ryan Reynolds
It’s hard to fathom the man behind Deadpool as anything but super cool and unfazed. Ryan Reynolds may have such a witty charm, but he is also someone living in constant anxiety.
He opened up about his struggles on an interview with New York Times, saying:
“I have anxiety. I’ve always had anxiety. Both in the lighthearted ‘I’m anxious about this’ kind of thing, and I’ve been to the depths of the darker end of the spectrum, which is not fun.
On how he coped with it, he wasn’t afraid to admit that he self-medicated, but eventually sought help.
“I was partying and just trying to make myself vanish in some way.”