Sultry Cara Delevingne became a highly sought-after supermodel in her teens, and now at 23, she’s an actor who has just wrapped seven films.
But as Delevingne's star rose, she also struggled with depression, she says. At 15, she hit “a massive wave of depression, anxiety, and self-hatred,” she told Vogue this summer. She engaged in harmful behavior, took psychotropic medications, and saw therapists — none of whom, she said, were especially helpful.
In New York City, the London native would hit the party scene. “It rots your insides,” she said of the life in which drugs were a de riguer accessory. Soon, she found herself contemplating suicide in a New York apartment. “I was packing my bags, and suddenly I just wanted to end it. I had a way, and it was right there in front of me. And I was like, I need to decide whether I love myself as much as I love the idea of death,” she told Vogue. Delevingne pulled out of that dark place when a familiar song, Outkast’s “SpottieOttieDopaliscious,” came on. The song had been previously played at the funeral of a friend who had OD’d on drugs. It “felt like a warning from him,” she said in the Vogue interview.
Delevingne realized that drugs were no answer. Dr. Langenecker points out that many of these recreational drugs, which celebrities have increased access to, “can increase risk for depression by changing the way the brain functions, including higher highs and lower lows.”
Jon Hamm: Darkness Behind the Tall, Dark, and Handsome
Decades before Mad Men’s final episode aired, actor and star Jon Hamm, who played midcentury adman Don Draper, revealed that he had relied on antidepressants and therapy to relieve the chronic depression he’d experienced after the death of his father. Hamm was just 20, and 10 years earlier, he’d lost his mother to stomach cancer, he told The Guardian in 2010.
“Therapy ... gives you another perspective when you are so lost in your own spiral … it helps,” said Hamm, who was also found relief with antidepressants. He said the medication can help change your brain chemistry enough for you to think, “I want to get up in the morning; I don’t want to sleep till four in the afternoon.”
In May 2015, TMZ reported that Hamm had completed a 30-day alcohol rehab stint at a facility in Connecticut.
Happily, Hamm’s revelations about depression and rehab have not resulted in the stigma successful people sometimes experience when they go public with their mental health problems. That stigma can prevent celebrities, and ordinary people, from getting the help they need to overcome depression, says Langenecker.