Katy Perry said she felt “ashamed” of taking medication for her mental health, but it helped her overcome a severe bout of depression.
In a recent interview with Howard Stern, the singer said she took medication to treat her clinical depression.
Perry said she had experienced bouts of depression before, but this one was especially dark because she struggled to find solace in music, which was usually an outlet for her.
“It was one of those things where I’d sprained my brain a little bit,” Perry said in the interview. “I felt like I needed crutches for my brain, and I did. And I used those crutches to get back on my feet.”
Lady Gaga told Oprah she takes an antipsychotic and would “spiral very frequently” without it.
Lady Gaga spoke about her battle with fibromyalgia and post-traumatic stress disorder in an interview with Oprah for Elle in 2019.
The singer told Oprah she was sexually assaulted multiple times when she was 19 and didn’t cope with her subsequent PTSD until it manifested as intense physical pain. She also experienced a psychotic break, which led her doctor to prescribe the antipsychotic olanzapine.
While antipsychotics are commonly used to treat conditions like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, they can also be used to treat anxiety and PTSD, the latter of which contributed to Gaga’s fibromyalgia.
“I once believed that there was no way back from my trauma,” Gaga told Oprah. “I was in physical, mental, and emotional pain. And medicine works, but you need medicine with the therapy for it to really work, because there’s a part that you have to do yourself.”
Chrissy Teigen took antidepressants to treat postpartum depression after giving birth to her daughter, Luna, in 2016.
In an essay for Glamour, the model and “Lip-Sync Battle” co-host opened up about her experience with chronic pain and PPD after the birth of her first child.
When Teigen was diagnosed with PPD and anxiety after months of physical and emotional pain, she felt “so exhausted but happy to know that we could finally get on the path of getting better,” she wrote in the essay.
“It’s such a major part of my life and so, so many other women’s lives,” Teigen wrote about PPD, which affects up to one in seven women in the US. “I’m speaking up now because I want people to know it can happen to anybody and I don’t want people who have it to feel embarrassed or to feel alone.”
Brooke Shields also spoke up about taking antidepressants for PPD after Tom Cruise knocked the drugs on the “Today” show in 2005.
The actress and model went public about her experience with PPD in an essay for the New York Times in 2005.
After Tom Cruise criticized the use of antidepressants on national television, Shields came forward to say his remarks were “a disservice to mothers everywhere.”
“I’m going to take a wild guess and say that Cruise has never suffered from postpartum depression,” she wrote, explaining she was prescribed the antidepressant Paxil to treat feelings of hopelessness and suicidality after the birth of her first child.
Postpartum depression is caused by a drop in the hormones estrogen and progesterone after childbirth. Compared to normal mood swings or “baby blues,” PPD is more severe and longer-lasting, and is commonly treated with antidepressants.
Kristen Bell has spoken candidly about her family history of serotonin imbalance, which makes her prone to anxiety and depression.
In an interview on Off Camera with Sam Jones in 2016, the actress and singer opened up about her experience with anxiety and depression, sharing that her mother started a dialogue about mental health early on.
Bell said her mom explained to her that low levels of serotonin, a mood stabilizer known as the “happy chemical,” can be genetic. Her mother and grandmother both had depression due to this imbalance, so Bell knew to look out for symptoms of mental illness in herself.
She said she started taking a type of antidepressant called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor at an early age. SSRIs increase serotonin levels by preventing it from being reabsorbed before it can take effect.
Bell said her mother also warned her that people may unfairly judge her for taking a mental health medication.
“You would never deny a diabetic his insulin — ever,” Bell said in the interview. “But for some reason when someone needs a SSRI, they’re immediately crazy or something. It’s a very interesting double standard.”
Selena Gomez has struggled with her mental health since her early 20s, and said getting on the right medication “completely changed” her life.
The star has previously spoken about experiencing anxiety and depression with extreme mood swings, but Gomez only recently revealed she has bipolar disorder in an Instagram livestream with Miley Cyrus in April.
Gomez told Cyrus that learning more information about her mental health conditions was helpful rather than scary.
“I found out I do suffer from mental health issues, and, honestly, that was such a relief,” she previously told the Wall Street Journal. “I got on the right medication, and my life has been completely changed.”
Gomez didn’t specify what kind of medication she’s taking to treat her mental health conditions.
Rachel Bloom wrote a song for “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” that supports antidepressant use.
The “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” star and creator drew on her own experience when writing the Emmy-winning song, “Anti-Depressants Are So Not A Big Deal.”
Bloom’s character has borderline personality disorder, so dialogue about mental illness is nothing new for the show. But with lyrics like, “Everyone’s special, that’s usually the sitch/but when it comes to meds, you’re such a basic bitch,” this song particularly emphasizes the universality of mental health issues and the medications prescribed to treat them.
Bloom wrote of the song on Twitter: “Before I went on antidepressants, I too bought into the idea of them being shameful or a cop out. I was wrong. So, this song is about destigmatizing this particular pursuit of happiness. And also tap.”
Lena Dunham has been been vocal about normalizing mental health medication, which she has taken since she was a teenager.
Dunham has been open about her experience with obsessive-compulsive disorder, not only in real life, but also through her character, Hannah Horvath, on the TV show, “Girls.”
The actress, writer, and director wrote on Instagram that taking antidepressants allowed her to “really meet [her]self.”
“Lately I’ve been noticing that nearly every pop cultural image we see of a woman on psychiatric medication is that of an out-of-control, exhausting and exhausted girl who needs help,” Dunham wrote in the post. “But guess what? Most women on meds are women who have been brave enough to help themselves.”
Cara Delevigne took antidepressants for two years but decided to stop so she could “feel things again”
The model-turned-actress told Esquire she was suicidal when she was 16. After experiencing a “mental breakdown,” she left school for six months and eventually agreed to go on medication to avoid being hospitalized.
In the years that followed, Delevigne said she was “just numb.”
“I hate meds,” she told Esquire, looking back on how medication made her feel. “I think they saved my life and they’ve probably saved my mother’s life but I don’t agree with them. It’s so easy to abuse them.”
Delevigne went off her medication when she was 18.
“And that week, I lost my virginity, I got into fights, I cried, I laughed. It was the best thing in the world to feel things again,” Delevigne told Esquire. “And I get depressed still but I would rather learn to figure it out myself rather be dependent on meds, ever.”
Sarah Silverman takes “a small dose of Zoloft” to manage her depression after years of taking various mental health medications.
The comedian opened up about her experience with depression and panic attacks in an essay for Glamour in 2015.
Silverman first began experiencing depression punctuated by “terrifying” panic attacks when she was 13. She saw several therapists who prescribed varying doses of Xanax, a sedative, throughout her adolescence. Eventually, one therapist weaned her off the Xanax and she said she felt like herself again.
However, her depression and panic returned in her early 20s. She got it under control with therapy and Klonopin, a medication that blocks panic attacks and anxiety by reducing abnormal electrical activity in the brain. To this day, she still carries a bottle of Klonopin just in case an attack strikes — “just knowing that they’re there is all I need,” she told Glamour.
“Since then I’ve lived with depression and learned to control it, or at least to ride the waves as best I can,” Silverman told Glamour. “I’m on a small dose of Zoloft, which, combined with therapy, keeps me healthy but still lets me feel highs and lows.”