One in five Canadians suffers from mental illness. Although the topic is being discussed more and more, there is still a stigma attached to it whether it is at work, as a parent, or among friends.
I feel that we are all on a mental illness spectrum and on any given day things can change. Not only is it brave to talk about it and to reach out for help, but so many amazingly successful people from all walks of life suffered from mental illness.
Oscar-winning actress Vivien Leigh who played the unforgettable Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind suffered from depression.
J.K. Rowling, the creator of Harry Potter, which has sold over 450 million copies and is one of the most popular book series in history, suffered from depression.
Billy Joel, a six-time Grammy-award winning musician, suffered from depression.
Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Ernest Hemingway suffered from depression.
Isaac Newton, arguably one of the most prolific scientists ever, who gave us the Three Laws of Motion, the Theory of Colour, and the telescope, to name a few things, suffered from depression.
Beethoven, the gifted music composer, Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister during World War II, and the artistic genius Vincent Van Gogh all suffered from bipolar disorder.
And one of my favourite leaders ever, Abraham Lincoln, who led the United States as President during the Civil War, and who helped end slavery, suffered from depression.
Aristotle once said, “No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.”
As we commemorate Bell Let’s Talk Day on January 27th, and keep the embers under the discussion of mental illness burning, I hope that people everywhere who might be suffering remember that they are not alone and that they have much to contribute. They should tell someone about it and get help.
Leonard Cohen said, “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”
Embrace your perfect imperfections and shine your light on the world.