During my research for this post, I was shocked at how little there is on the internet about this topic. There are plenty of mental health quotes or parenting quotes, but insanely few of the two together. This is a stigma I strongly believe needs to be shattered. Nearly 1 in 5 adults in America experience mental illness; that’s equal to around 50 million Americans! There is no way to deny that some of those 50 million adults are parents struggling with mental health alongside the natural obstacles of parenting.
Stigma coupled with societal pressures clamps a hand over our mouths on this topic, insisting we should just be happy to be parents. When we admit our illness makes the already tough job even more challenging, it’s often seen as a weakness or something to be ashamed of. It isn’t. For those of us juggling parenting and mental illness, living with depression, anxiety, bipolar, etc., and still raising a child – it’s just life!
Celebrity Quotes About Parenting With a Mental Illness
1. Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue and mother of two, demonstrates how breaking down social barriers would benefit people of all ages.
“I think mental health is an area where people are embarrassed… They don’t want to talk about it because somehow they feel they’re a failure as a parent or, you know, they’re embarrassed for their child or they want to protect their child, lots of very good reasons, but mental health I feel is something that you have to talk about.”– Anna Wintour
2. Halsey reminds us that what we refer to as “motherhood” is absolutely not one-size-fits-all, and that unresolved trauma can play a tremendous part in our adult life.
So many of the things that I self-identify with are not compatible with motherhood. Well, that’s when you realize too, that’s when you take a step and you go, oh, I’m holding onto my trauma because it’s part of how I define myself and I’m never really going to grow unless I really let go of that trauma.”– Halsey
3. Terminator star Linda Hamilton opened up to Oprah about how her battle with depression affected her whole family.
“I don’t think that ‘mentally ill’ is a phrase that most people would embrace about themselves. I think it was when I had children that I woke up and said, ‘I have to be an adult; I’m not going to scare my children.’ I want to be here in every possible way for them and for 20 years it had all been about me. Me. Me fighting to make myself feel better. Me fighting to manage the bad feelings. The emotions. The thoughts. The cyclical thoughts that I had. So I didn’t want to be that person with my children. And I got help.”– Linda Hamilton
4. Award-winning author and human rights activist Amanda Jetté Knox put it eloquently in her tweet:
Do you suffer from anxiety and panic attacks? Stop suffering in silence. Contact an anxiety coach now.
5. Glennon Doyle – who owns her “mental differences” including anxiety, depression, and bulimia – reminds us there is no singularly right way to be a parent and urges us to embrace these difficulties without succumbing to the pressure of society to hide in falsities.
“Parenting is hard. Just like lots of important jobs are hard. Why is it that the second a mother admits that it’s hard, people feel the need to suggest that maybe she’s not doing it right? Or that she certainly shouldn’t add more to her load. Maybe the fact that it’s so hard means she is doing it right, in her own way, and she happens to be honest.”– Glennon Doyle
Quotes About Mental Health From Celebrity Parents
The following collection of quotes are from celebrity parents on the topic of their diagnosis – although not directly referring to parenthood, these quotes remind us we aren’t alone.
6. Jane Pauley, Today show host, on being told by a doctor to lie about her bipolar diagnosis. In her book Skywriting: A Life Out of the Blue, she talks about how her daughter, Rickie, struggled with her mother’s illness. Click here to read an excerpt from her book on NBC.
“A diagnosis is burden enough without being burdened by secrecy and shame.”– Jane Pauley
7 – 9. Carrie Fisher was notoriously open about her bipolar diagnosis and her strong stance on destigmatizing mental health. I really appreciate the powerful yet humorous outlook Carrie had on the topic of her diagnosis; she was always willing to share her experience and take a sledgehammer to the walls of stigma. Here are a few quotes of Carrie’s that I absolutely adore:
“I’ve never been ashamed of my mental illness; it never occurred to me. Many people thank me for talking about it, and mothers can tell their kids when they are upset with the diagnosis that Princess Leia is bipolar, too.”– Carrie Fisher
“Bipolar disorder is a mood system that functions like the weather. It’s independent of the things that happen in your life. I have problems, but they don’t have me!”– Carrie Fisher
“One of the things that baffles me is how there can be so much lingering stigma with regards to mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder. In my opinion, living with manic depression takes a tremendous amount of balls.”– Carrie Fisher
10. Catherine Zeta-Jones – who once checked herself into an in-patient facility due to her bipolar II – knows firsthand how important it is to accept help.
“If my revelation of having bipolar II has encouraged one person to seek help, then it is worth it. There is no need to suffer silently and there is no shame in seeking help.”– Catherine Zeta-Jones
11. Adam Levine collaborated with the Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA) and the Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) to launch the “Own It” campaign a few years before becoming a father.
“When I was first diagnosed with ADHD, it wasn’t a surprise because I had difficulty in high school focusing. And I think now, people notice my ADHD as an adult on a daily basis. When I can’t pay attention, I really can’t pay attention.”– Adam Levine
12. Jennifer Lawrence stated this back when her only child was a dog – I hope she is still finding ways to navigate anxiety as a new mom!
“I just try to acknowledge that the scrutiny is stressful. So I’ve got to try to let it go and try to be myself, and focus on important things – like picking up dog poop.”– Jennifer Lawrence
13. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson shared his experience with depression during an episode of Oprah’s Master Class on the OWN network.
“I found that, with depression, one of the most important things you could realize is that you’re not alone. You’re not the first to go through it; you’re not going to be the last to go through it. I wish I had someone at that time who could just pull me aside and [say], ‘Hey, it’s gonna be okay. It’ll be okay.’ So I wish I knew that.”– Dwayne Johnson
14. Dwayne Johnson followed up with another great message on Twitter:
15. Ruby Wax, comedian, actress, and writer, emphasizes the unfair ways that myths about depression make us feel invisible.
“The thing about depression and why people feel – well I feel – a lot of shame is that there is nothing wrong with you on the outside. I mean, you know, you don’t have any lumps or you don’t have any scars. You are not in a wheelchair. So people go ‘come on, come on!’ – especially in England they say ‘stiff upper lip, snap out of it.’ And you can’t. I mean, it’s like being pregnant; you are either pregnant or you are not. So when you are sick, it’s the real thing. I mean, you know it. It’s not like you’re sitting on your porch singing the blues with a banjo because your baby has left you. I mean, this is deep, dark, numbing abyss hell. So you will know when you have got it; but the point is nobody will believe you and that is the kind of horror of it all.”
16. David Beckham, father of four, opens up on his OCD diagnosis.
“I’ve got this Obsessive Compulsive Disorder where I have to have everything in a straight line or everything has to be in pairs. I’ll put my Pepsi cans in the fridge and if there’s one too many then I’ll put it in another cupboard somewhere.– David Beckham
I’ll go into a hotel room, before I can relax I have to move all the leaflets and all the books and put them in a drawer. Everything has to be perfect.”
Celebrity Quotes on Postpartum Depression
17. Adele spoke out about her experience with postpartum depression and the fear she felt about seeking help – a feeling shared by too many.
“I can slip in and out of [depression] quite easily, I had really bad postpartum depression after I had my son, and it frightened me. I didn’t talk to anyone about it. I was very reluctant…Four of my friends felt the same way I did, and everyone was too embarrassed to talk about it.”– Adele
18. Olivia Munn broke it down plain and simple, sharing the painful ways social media exacerbates pressure to hide postpartum depression.
“Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, but especially to the moms who are struggling with postpartum depression/anxiety, still wearing their maternity clothes because you’ve realized that the snap-back is bullshit and so unreal, and feel insecure as they scroll through Insta today realizing they don’t have the energy, creativity or brain power to post a beautiful pic of motherhood.”– Olivia Munn
19. In a Good Housekeeping interview, Gwyneth Paltrow explained the spectrum of postpartum depression, demonstrating why we should talk about it more.
“I felt like a zombie. I couldn’t access my heart. I couldn’t access my emotions. I couldn’t connect. I thought postpartum depression meant you were sobbing every single day and incapable of looking after a child. But there are different shades of it and depths of it, which is why I think it’s so important for women to talk about it. It was a trying time. I felt like a failure.”– Gwyneth Paltrow
21. Hayden Panettiere had a similar experience:
“It’s something a lot of women experience. When [you hear] about postpartum depression you think it’s ‘I feel negative feelings towards my child, I want to hurt my child.’ I’ve never, ever had those feelings. Some women do. But you don’t realise how broad of a spectrum you can really experience that on. It’s something that needs to be talked about. Women need to know that they’re not alone, and that it does heal.”– Hayden Panettiere
Parenting is a challenge no matter how your brain is wired or what traumatic experiences you’ve overcome. The only way we will demolish stigmas is by talking about them. Live out loud like Gwenyth Paltrow – despite your mental differences. The world becomes a better place when we share our healing journey with those still struggling.
As always, visit my Resources page for assistance in the United States, and take care of yourself! Until next time.