Throughout history, people with mental illnesses have shaped our world and they continue to do so today. It’s remarkable that people who suffer from such adversity can make an impact on our lives. Here are 9 famous people who have suffered from mental illnesses.
Sir Isaac Newton
The scientist who brought us the modern calendar and the gravitational relationship between the earth and moon often flew into wild rages against anyone who disagreed with him. The first scientist to be knighted by the Queen of English for his world-changing work, he would probably be diagnosed as bipolar if he were alive today.
One of America’s most celebrated presidents who brought freedom to the slaves and an end to the Civil War was chronically depressed. In biographies of the great leader, it’s reported that he often suffered debilitating depressions that left him unable to function, often contemplating suicide.
Vincent Van Gogh
Painter Vincent Van Gogh was famous for his volatile mood swings. In addition to his moods, he suffered from epileptic seizures that many now believe were caused by his excessive consumption of absinthe, an alcoholic drink that many artists enjoyed. In modern times, scholars have studied his personal letters to try to determine exactly which mental illness he suffered from.
Ernest Hemingway was one of America’s great novelists. He was known for his heavy drinking lifestyle but we now know that he suffered from chronic depression. His depression worsened throughout his life and resulted in his suicide.
Churchill was the British prime minister who, along with Stalin and Roosevelt, defeated the Nazis and saved the world from totalitarianism. He suffered from chronic depression throughout his life and self-medicated with alcohol. In spite of his mental illness, he still made many major contributions to the world.
Princess Diana was one of the most important political figures of her time. She suffered from the eating disorder bulimia, depression, and multiple suicide attempts. Only after she died and personal tapes were released of her talking about her mental struggles has it come to light.
The brilliant mathematician and Noble Prize winner John Nash, made famous to most of us by the film ‘A Beautiful Mind,’ suffered from schizophrenia. It’s rare for someone with this debilitating mental illness to achieve as many remarkable things as Nash did, and his story is an inspiration to all who suffer from mental illnesses.
It’s a surprise for most to find out that this boxing legend suffers from severe depression. Although he can duke it out in the ring with the best of them, he’s known for being painfully insecure and struggling with bouts of depression. His depression and insecurity often manifest themselves in outbursts of his notoriously nasty temper.
Rock star David Bowie had a history of mental illness that was rarely seen publicly. He grew up in a family with a history of schizophrenia. He reportedly was diagnosed with both depression and schizophrenia. In interviews, he said that he sometimes broke down completely and cried uncontrollably.
Other famous people with mental illnesses include composer Ludwig van Beethoven, former US president John Quincy Adams, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, cartoonist Charles Schultz, singer Ray Charles, actress Marilyn Monroe, singer Britney Spears, actor Mel Gibson, comedian Jim Carrey, and soccer star David Beckham.