My Dearest Readers,

Today, like any other day, was a struggle.  A day of being embarrassed about the way I think and act (or don’t think before I act), a day of stress and a day of deep anxiety. But I’ve got something a little different for you tonight.

What I thought I would do was look for support online. And I came across Channing Tatum. Now Mr. Tatum is one of my favourite actors, (his beautiful eyes, body and face do play a teeny bit of a part…), but I also happen to know that he had a very difficult past. He suffered with ADHD and Dyslexia as a child, and thought that there was no hope for him. He is now one of the highest-payed actors in the business. What does that tell you? mental illness doesn’t mean you can’t succeed. You must find what you’re good at, something you enjoy, and embrace it – trust me, you’ll find something. Channing Tatum talks openly of his childhood struggles with ADHD and Dyslexia, vowing that he will never medicate his young daughter, Everly. Now of course I take medication, and I find it helps a lot. But I also completely understand that meds are NOT the solution for everyone, and there is no way you are going to want to put your daughter through it if you yourself have had a bad experience. Tatum said that he built up a tolerance to the meds, and that was it. They did nothing more of good for him. But it got me thinking: how many other celebrities have struggled with childhood mental health issues? I know ADHD and Dyslexia are not ‘strictly’ mental illnesses, but I think that anything that makes someone’s brain different could class as a ‘disorder’, hence the term mental disorder. The same stigma and struggle applies to both learning difficulties and mental disorders so why not discuss them both? People run a mile if they think there’s anything wrong with your brain – no matter what it is.

I am posting this because I thought – you know what? I SHOULN’T be feeling bad, embarrassed or whatever. It’s the social stigma that surrounds mental health that makes it such a ‘taboo’ topic. But it shouldn’t be. And these celebs stood up for it by talking about their own experiences and views in the spotlight. I have a lot of respect for these guys, and I thought that if I could make a list of successful celebrities with mental health problems, it might, just might make an impression on someone who sees this post. Today we live in a society in which everyone turns to celebrity and fame for advice, and often people complain because they don’t say what they want/expect them to say. No-one’s perfect! But right here are some examples of these celebs saying EXACTLY the right stuff. Talking about mental health is difficult, and I really value their bravery and honesty – especially being in such positions of power in the public eye – they are really encouraging something good here.

The current situation that we live in is that nobody is informed about any mental health problems/disorders, and that makes life incredibly difficult for those of us who co-exist with these problems. They eat us away at the inside – and even more so if we can’t talk about them. So this is what I’m trying to encourage – and if anyone with any sort of following/power in this world should see this post, please share it – or even share your own thoughts – either way it will help. I am intent on changing the approach to mental health. It’s time to change.

My experiences in school have been that no-one understands mental illness. Therefore there is a stigma surrounding it and no-one will talk. When I was diagnosed with ADHD, none of my teachers knew what it was. If they did, I would have been diagnosed a very long time ago, and I wouldn’t be having the struggles that I have now. When I was diagnosed with Anxiety, none of my friends could understand. I just ended up just crying myself to sleep every night because no-one understood – I didn’t understand. I don’t ever want that for anyone. No-one should have to deal with such awful pain and loneliness. People at school call me OCD all the time as a joke because I like things in a certain way. What they don’t know is that I actually do have OCD. I laugh it off but, in reality, it hurts – because there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it! This disregard, misuse and misunderstanding of the term ‘mental illness’ is the bane of my life: I hate it. I want it gone, and if only people would TALK. So this is the year, the year we will talk. And we can start doing this right here. Right now. Speak your mind, no judgements made. Teachers, parents, friends, milkmen; listen up. This is important. It won’t even take your money. Just to pass this message around is all I ask of you. Read up on mental illness, I urge you. I challenge you – the more people who know, the more help we can give, together, the more powerful we will become. Encourage sensitivity. Thank you.

CHANNING TATUM 

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Channing Tatum, rumoured to be the highest-paid actor ever, suffers from ADHD and Dyslexia;

– “I would go through wild bouts of depression, horrible comedowns. I understand why kids kill themselves. I absolutely do. You feel terrible. You feel soul-less”.

– “It kills me that there are standardized tests geared towards just one kind of child”.

– “Not having early success on that one path messes with you. You get lumped in classes with kids with autism and Down Syndrome, and you look around and say, Okay, so this is where I’m at. Or you get put in the typical classes and you say, All right, I’m obviously not like these kids either. So you’re kind of nowhere. You’re just different. The system is broken. If we can streamline a multibillion-dollar company, we should be able to help kids who struggle the way I did”.

ADAM LEVINE

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Adam Levine, singer (lead, Maroon Five), actor and vocal coach on The Voice who suffered from ADHD as a child, had a relapse when the music business got tougher, and is now supporting the Own It campaign for ADHD. He said;

– “something that I have personal, hands on experience with, and this is no different than anything else”.

– “This is an issue that’s very hear and dear to my heart”.

– “If somebody approached me and said that anything that I said, helped them figure it out, or someone came to me and said I need help what do you suggest I do – the first thing I would suggest they do is see somebody, see a doctor about it”.

JACK HARRIES

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Jack Harries, YouTuber and short documentary director, also known as JacksGap, created an online area for anyone struggling with a mental illness, and urged them to talk about it. Millions of responses came flooding in, and Jack said;

– “Not enough people are talking about mental health. This year I would love to work as a community to change that”, and “the social stigma that surrounds mental health”.

JENNIFER LAWRENCE

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Jennifer Lawrence, actress and OSCAR-Winner, suffered from ADHD and Anxiety and overcame them through her passion for acting, and she said;

– “My nickname was ‘Nitro’, as in nitroglycerin. I was hyperactive, curious about everything”.

– “When my mother told me about my childhood, she always told me there was like a light in me, a spark that inspired me constantly. When I entered school, the light went out. We never knew what it was, a kind of social anxiety”.

– “I mean, people have diabetes or asthma and they have to take medication for it. But as soon as you have to take medication for your mind, there’s this instant stigma. Hopefully we’ve given those people hope”.

JUSTIN THEROUX

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Justin Theroux, actor, screenwriter, director and fiancé of Jennifer Aniston, suffers with ADHD, and said;

– “I could not keep my mind on one task, it was like trying to bite down on a tennis ball”.

– “The toe starts tapping, your hand moves, and next thing you know, you’re grabbing a pencil, breaking it and throwing it. Reading was tough, like, insurmountable”.

JAMIE OLIVER

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Jamie Oliver, award-winning chef and cookery-book writer who suffered with Dyslexia, said;

– “People just thought I was thick, it was a struggle, I never really had anyone to help that understood dyslexia and who could bring out my strengths. I think it’s really good that this charity helps kids realise that they’ve got possibilities and that they can excel in anything”.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

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Justin Timberlake, singer, song-writer and actor who suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Attention Defecit Disorder, says;

– “I have OCD mixed with ADD. You try living with that. It’s complicated”.

DEMI LOVATO

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Demi Lovato, singer, songwriter and actress who is now supporting the campaign Love is Louder than the Pressure to be Perfect, following her struggles with bulimia, self-harm, depression and bipolar disorder;

– “I want any girl/guy out there who struggles with body image or confidence to know that it IS possible to find peace with yourself”.

– “I had no idea that I was bipolar until I went into treatment. When I was seven years old I started having actually suicidal thoughts. Looking back I’m like okay that makes sense”.

ZOE SUGG

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Zoe Sugg, YouTuber, author, ambassador for Mind (mental health charity) and entrepreneur of Zoella Beauty, suffers with Anxiety and Panic Attacks;

– “You are not alone, panic attacks are VERY common, and although terrifying, will not kill you. Don’t let your attacks ruin your confidence or dent your self esteem, you are an amazing person, and you CAN stop them, with the right treatment and techniques”.

TOM FLETCHER

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Tom Fletcher, YouTuber, (NEW DAD!), singer and guitarist in boy-band McFly-come-McBusted has suffered with Bipolar Disorder and Depression;

– “We talk about it more these days but people still aren’t very confident about doing that. They might suffer but not realise it’s a mental health issue that can be treated”.

– “it’s worthwhile talking about it. It’s extremely common, anyone can be affected by it, it’s nothing to be ashamed of and help is available”.

I apologise if I have missed off any major ones – I inevitably will have done, such as Borderline Personality Disorder and Schizophrenia. In no way am I saying any are more important that others – they each carry equal weight in my eyes – just some were far easier to find than others. There seemed to be a great deal of ADHDers (I think it’s the creativity of the ‘race-car’ mind!)

Anyway, toodlepip for now, I hope you found this post inspiring/thought provoking or whichever – and I urge you to support Mental Health and the efforts at which people go to in order to avoid the stereotypes and stigma. And please, be mindful of the feelings of others because they may be hurting more than they let on.

This post took me a hell of a lot of research so I hope it was worthy.

Thank you for reading.

– Ellie xo

© agirlwithadhd 2015.

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