The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Whenever a celebrity breaks their silence on a struggle they’ve faced, it is a refreshing reminder of what the tabloids like to say: “stars are just like us.” But why do we need reminders that celebrities gas up their cars, grocery shop, and might be affected by mental illness?
Chrissy Teigen recently penned an essay for Glamour on her experience with postpartum depression after the birth of hers and John Legend’s daughter, Luna. She most eloquently stated that, while she appears to be the happiest person in the world, she was hurting deeply for months. She was diagnosed with postpartum depression, which is a mood disorder experienced in women after childbirth caused by multiple factors, such as varying levels of hormones and sleep deprivation, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
When I think of Chrissy Teigen, I think of a witty, confident and gorgeous woman. Her social media presence consists of wicked smart clapbacks, as well as gorgeous envy-inducing Instagram posts. She looks like she has it all. But, in her essay, she is quick to remind people that she doesn’t, and for that I am grateful. More and more people are beginning to realize that social media can portray something very different from reality. It is a snapshot into a specific captured moment, but it often hides the feelings we are all dealing with behind funny captions and beautiful pictures. We are all guilty of it. Who wants to post a selfie with the caption of “I’m feeling sad and excluded today #sad #excluded?” No one! It is so easy to make yourself look as good as possible on social media, and we often compare other people at their perceived, showcased best, to our own perceived worst. Our idea of celebrities usually consists of that mindset, and the belief that everything in their lives is perfect just because they are famous, and “untouchable.”
I find myself guilty of thinking that way quite a lot. I compare myself to my peers all the time, and it doesn’t ever help when I see a perfect celeb Insta in the mix as well. I often wonder if college is truly the greatest four years of my life like everyone says, or if I’m doing something wrong for not always having the best time. When I see pictures of people at my school seemingly having fun out at the bars, I victimize myself for staying in and studying. I mentally allow myself to feel excluded, and after being diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder during my freshman year, those feelings of exclusion don’t always go away easily. I have been taking Prozac for about a year now, and just the admittance of saying I am on an anti-depressant sometimes scares me. A lot of these disorders are stereotyped by negative misinformation about causes and symptoms. Even Teigen admits that she “associated postpartum depression…with people who didn’t like their babies or felt like they had to harm their children.”
Furthermore, I have a fantastic life, so why would I ever need an anti-depressant? I feel guilty like Teigen does (stars, they’re just like us!!), because I feel pathetic even though I have everything I could virtually ever want and need. But like Teigen says, “postpartum does not discriminate” and neither do other forms of mental illness. Mental health doesn’t know fame or wealth or how popular you are on Instagram. It unfortunately can affect anyone, and a lot more than people care to admit because of the negative stigma society seems to associate with mental illness.
So for such a beloved and seemingly perfect celebrity like Chrissy Teigen to come forward and share this with the rest of us is a huge reminder, and also a lesson. Many people suffer silently, and you never know what someone is going through by thinking you know them, or from looking at their social media. I thank Chrissy for sharing her journey and her road to recovery. She is another step in the right direction towards destroying the negative stigma, and creating a normalized environment to discuss the often difficult and uncomfortable topic of mental illness. Honestly I don’t think I’ve ever fangirled over someone quite like I do over Chrissy Teigen, and that was before I even read her essay.
If you or a friend needs help, go to this website or call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-6264.