Infamy! Infamy! They’ve all got it in for me!
I remember this great line by the late actor Kenneth Williams when he played the character of Julius Caesar in the film Carry On Cleo. This has probably got to be one of THE best comic one liners ever. But there is also a serious side to this line!
However, today’s post isn’t about the life of this comical genius, or any other individual famous person in particular…. although Kenneth Williams was one of those people who was a very famous celebrity throughout the 1950’s 60’s and 70’s and even up until his death in 1988, but he also suffered the dreadful illness of depression. Today’s post is more to do with an article that accidentally caught my eye earlier today and is in conjunction with some comments I have heard people say or talk about on and off for several years.
The majority of the comments I am talking about are those made by many people who have never in their life suffered depression, or even have the slightest notion of how it feels to suffer it. Yes, others can sympathise, but are unable to feel or understand in the same way.
Some comments made recently annoyed and deeply frustrated me. I shrugged it of realising it’s just the ignorance of some people and their lack of any real understanding, people who are just simply unable to grasp the reasons that causes the type of severe emotional state that leads to depression.
How often I have heard people say, in total ignorance, ” but they have a good life, are happily married with two wonderful kids have loads of money, they have a perfect life …..so what have they got to be depressed about?”
In away I suppose this is a fair enough question. But why do people imagine that being rich, famous and successful excludes them from suffering depression, anxiety or any other mental illness?
These same type of comments have been made by a couple of my work colleagues in the past, especially so at the time of the tragic death of Gary Speed. Some believe that because a person is famous and has everything they ever wanted it automatically makes them exempt from depression.
At the end of the day famous people are still just people, they still eat, breathe, sleep, care and do everything else that any other person does. So this of course means they also feel pain, stress and pressure, and feel the negatives in their lives, all of which combined make us the humans we are, and the feelings we have. In fact being famous must put even more pressure on celebrities, as their public and fans expect far more from them. Nobody is superhuman, actors act out characters in films and soaps, they are all good at putting on a happy or sad face, but because they are acting it means no one can see the real them if they are suffering depression, and so others wrongly presume that they have everything in life they could possibly want to make their lives happy. The truth of the matter is like all of us, these celebrities must also want to be free of depression. Fame does come with a price!!
At some point in all our lives we have become aware of instances where famous celebrities past and present have been able to open up about their depression, what they also need like the rest of us is for people out there to understand that they too are susceptible to this illness, just like cancer or heart problems. These physical diseases do not discriminate, and neither does depression.
The article I accidentally came across this morning was in itself interesting, but also were some of the comments made by the celebrities themselves
Link>>> Celebrity on the couch….
I did a little bit more research on the internet today, some of it out of curiosity some of it to try to understand a little bit more about famous celebrities and their own personal views about their illness. I was surprised by a couple of the names that I came across, others however I was aware of. Names such as…. Harrison Ford, J K Rowling, Hugh Laurie, Jim Carrey, Stephen Fry, Ashley Judd, Billy Joel, Buzz Aldrin, Diana Princess Of Wales, Emma Thompson, Olivia Newton John, Jack Dee, George Michael, Uma Thurman, Kylie Minogue, Russell Grant, Frank Bruno, Ben Stiller, Lord Bragg, Adam Ant, Dame Kelly Holmes……this is just a small handful of the names I came across. The list is endless. These are people who what some believe as ‘having everything good in their lives’ but they have also had or have depression/anxiety. Even the famous are like all the rest of us ordinary folk, and even the famous can and do suffer from an illness that has absolutely no discrimination in who it decides to attack. Many still wrongly believe depression is an individuals weakness, a weakness of character. You only have to understand that so many famous celebrities are known to excel in some way, their talents speak for themselves. I know several people who suffer depression, they too have incredible talents for instance in art, craft or photography. A friend of mine who suffers severe physical disabilities as well as depression and anxiety recently had a piece of art on display in a local exhibition. How can anyone describe this lady as having a weakness when she has such great artistic talent, (and a wonderful sense of humour, and such stamina despite everything she has to contend with in her life on a physical level.) Depression is an illness and NOT a weakness. If only millions more would take the time to understand that!!
I sense in away that Kenneth Williams knew what he was saying……he was a comic genius, a famous celebrity and a sufferer of depression…..and believed people had it in for him. Why? Because a very large percentage of our population today still do not understand what sets off depression, some just don’t want to try to understand. They don’t realise how it affects an individual and their lives or how it affects other family members. Imagine what it must have been like all of those many years ago for those who had depression, and even now this world is still backward in going forward and trying to understand what depression feels like or how it can affect life and the quality of life itself. Many still treat it as a taboo subject. On numerous occasions I have thought how interesting it would be for some of the less understanding people of depression in this world to have their own individual world turned upside down, to suffer the real depression that causes so many of us the despair in our lives, to be able to see within their own minds how it feels to be in the deepest darkest pit beyond even their imagination, and at times be unable to claw your way out back to the top. But then I have to stop and tell myself, I wouldn’t want even my worst enemy to go through what I and many others have been through. At least it’s worth knowing that you can claw your way back to the top….and many have. But there is still far too much stigma with depression…..and it’s time to change all that!
Rant over!! 🙂 Many thanks for stopping by.