Humans are overly fixated on the things we can see, often ignoring the unseen aspects of life. And that includes our mental health, along with that of others. If we see someone looking good, making money, and living it up, we assume there couldn’t possibly be anything wrong in their lives. But appearances can be deceiving. And a person’s inner workings tell the truth of how they’re experiencing the world. It’s our job as a culture to believe people when they say they’re not doing well and need to take some time away.
These 7 celebrities advocated for themselves, took a mental health break and came back stronger than ever.
In 2018, Naomi Osaka burst onto the tennis scene, collecting Grand Slam titles all over the place. But in 2021, during the French Open, she announced, via social media, that she was withdrawing from the tournament. The day before she had been fined for skipping out on mandatory media interviews. Then 23, Osaka shared that after winning her first Grand Slam in 2018, she suffered from anxiety and depression, conditions which were often exacerbated by the interviews. After her break, Naomi lost the Australian Open but shared that she was still happy because she had not only improved her mental health but was having more fun on the court.
In 2020, Simone Biles withdrew from the Olympics. She cited a case of the twisties, a mental block that disorients a gymnast and can not only threaten their performance but prove dangerous in the miscalculation of a move. Later, she withdrew from the individual all-arounds, citing a need to prioritize her mental health. She would be gone for two years. She returned this year and was triumphant, winning the gold medal at the US Classic. Biles is now on the path to the Paris Olympics in 2024.
In 2017, Gabby Douglas shared that she too was among one of Larry Nassar’s many victims of sexual abuse as she prepared for the 2016 Olympics. Later in 2022 Douglas shared that she was stepping away from social media in order to focus on her mental health and heal from not only Nassar’s abuse but the intense scrutiny she underwent being in first African American to become the Olympic individual all-around champion.
Meghan Markle had no idea what she would endure becoming a part of the British Royal Family. The mistreatment she received from the media, as well as other members of the family sent her into a depression, complete with suicidal ideation. Once she realized that her limits were being tested, she reached out for help. She asked the Royal Family, the institution, for help. They told her there was nothing they could do for her because it wouldn’t be good for the institution. As a result, Harry and Meghan stepped back from the royal family roles in 2020 and then eventually away renounced their titles altogether.
In 2018, Michelle Williams stepped away from her leading role in the Broadway Play “Once On The Island.” At the time of the announcement, it was unclear what illness Williams was suffering from. But later that same year Williams announced that she had checked herself into a mental health facility. Years, later, Williams has written a book about her mental journey and encouraging others to check in. She speaks all over the country about mental health work and has become an inspiration to many.
In 2018, rapper Big Sean canceled an entire tour. Later, he claimed that the decision was a personal one. “I never really took the time out to nurture myself, to take care of myself. It took me a lot of depression having a lot of anxiety to realize something was off,” he said. “I’ve been getting myself together, getting my mind right. So I have been taking better care of myself.”
Megan Thee Stallion
Rapper Megan Thee Stallion has a bubbly and vivacious personality. But that doesn’t mean she hasn’t been through some things. In addition to losing both of her parents, she also suffered an assault from fellow rapper Tory Lanez. In addition to the injury, it was Megan’s reputation and not Tory’s that was questioned in the public eye. The scrutiny was heavy and came from fans and other artists. During Lanez’s trial, Megan went quiet and took some time away from the public. She also wasn’t present for Lanez’s sentencing, citing her mental health as the reason for her absence. Megan was quiet and unseen for months. But when she did return, she popped out looking fabulous, working out, reuniting with Cardi for another song and getting back to shutting down the stage.