As a tantrika, I understand this condition is not eternal, it is merely a temporary karmic pattern. And though, there are many subtle and complex variables binding me to it, I believe liberation is possible in this lifetime. I took the doctor's sentence as a challenge. Having done my time with the pharmaceuticals, I am determined to "go natural" even if it is "against medical advice."
Dedicated spiritual practice has helped my soul experience itself as much greater than the debilitating illusion. I recognize depression as the ego's last stand. It comes on as a desperate attempt to attach to some identity or circumstance. Yet I have great compassion for people in depression because it's hard to generate enough energy to meditate when you can't even get yourself out of bed. I would never have been able to do it alone, and am still grateful to my friends, lovers, spiritual teachers and my community.
Even though there is no "cure" for depression, I have been practicing a wide variety of treatments and I consider myself living proof of that it can be overcome, and life can even become...ecstatic!
One of the many ways I medicated myself was with mantras and affirmations. For Example: "I am not alone." In fact, I found myself in the company of extraordinary people who, like me, had also suffered the big bad blues. Here is a list of famous people that also wrestled with depression.
- Abraham Lincoln
16th president of the United States, was first overcome by melancholia, today known as depression, in his mid 20s. During that time, his friends had to take away sharp tools from him in order to protect Lincoln from injuring himself. He was again afflicted with depression in the early 1840s. During that time he was under the daily treatment of a doctor for a long period. He struggled with it for the remainder of his life (in addition to anxiety attacks).
- Billy Joel
Joel admitted himself into a hospital for treatment after attempting to end his life by drinking furniture polish.
- Buzz Aldrin
Astronaut (along with Neil Armstrong) who walked on the moon in 1969. Aldrin’s depression began shortly after going to the moon and eventually was hospitalized. He recovered with the help of psychotherapy and depression medicines. Aldrin describes his depressive experience in his book, “Return to Earth.”
- Drew Barrymore
Barrymore's history includes a suicide attempt and being hospitalized.
- Drew Carey
In an interview with Access Hollywood's Nancy O'Dell, comedian and host of The Price Is Right Drew Carey revealed a darker side of himself. “I was depressed for a long time,” said Carey. So depressed that at the age of 18 and again in his 20's he attempted to take his own life by overdosing on pills.
- Ellen DeGeneres
DeGeneres went through depression for about a year shortly after the cancellation of her show “Ellen” and publicly coming out in 1997.
- Emma Thompson
Suffered from depression, brought on by her attempts to conceive via in vitro fertilization.
- Greg Louganis
Multiple Olympics medal winner first experienced depression when he was 12 and attempted suicide twice.
- Georgia O'Keeffe
After her husband’s affair, O'Keeffe was hospitalized for a short period of time.
- Princess Diana
Suffered from post-partum depression (after her first son was born) and also experienced depression from her transition to Princess of Wales and marital problems.
- Sting (Gordon Sumner)
While writing his memoir, “Broken Music,” Sting fell into a depression that lasted for two years.
- Sheryl Crow
Crow discussed having chronic depression since she was a child. In the late 1980s, Crow had a period of depression after touring with Michael Jackson.
- Trent Reznor
American musician from the band Nine Inch Nails who says he suffered from depression in the late 90's. In a 1999 interview for Rolling Stone magazine, he said that "It just took me time to sit down and change my head and my life around. I had to slap myself in the face: 'If you want to kill yourself, do it, save everybody the fucking hassle. Or get your shit together.'"
- Tennessee Williams
American playwright who was reported to have a fear of becoming insane like his sister and went into a decade-long depression after the death of his lover.
- Others Famous Depressives include:
So if you, or anyone you know is suffering depression...you are in good company.