Eric Nam – Singer Songwriter
Eric Nam may be super famous and popular but like many successful celebrities, he has had his bad days. Growing up, he was an outcast as a Korean American growing up in Atlanta. He was considered ‘weird, too different, not good enough’ and even spat on. All this left ‘deep scars’ on Nam and years later, despite his fame, Eric experienced a panic attack after a meeting in New York. But Eric is not wasting his bad experiences. He is using it help millions of people who have gone through similar ordeals and struggle with mental health by sharing his story in Mindset, a paid podcast where you can listen to his most personal intimate struggles and the lessons he learnt.
Dwayne Johnson – Actor and Sportsman
He was considered one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all and was considered by Time Magazine to be one of the 100 most influential people. Before we know Dwayne Johnson as the star of block buster movies such as Fast and Furious, Jumanji and Moana, Johnson was a professional Football player turn Wrestler and everything he did turned into success.
However, deep inside, Johnson harboured the pain of a child-hood incident that never left him. When he was 15, he watched his mother attempt suicide by walking into oncoming traffic on the highway. Johnson managed to pull his mother to safety but that incident scarred him for a very long time. Although he received a football scholarship to University and was very successful throughout his undergrad days, he continued to struggle with depression. Johnson said “I reached a point of time when I didn’t want to do anything or go anywhere and I was crying constantly”. “Depression never discriminates. Took me a long time to realise it but the key is not to be afraid to open up.”
Ted Turner- Media Mogul
Cartoon Network would probably give you fond memories of your favorite cartoons from Powderpuff Girls to Ben10. But you may not know that the person who started the network spent most of his life battling Bipolar Disorder and Depression. But despite this, Ted Turner turned a small advertising agency into an independent television station and finally into the billion-dollar Turner Broadcasting. Shortly after his marriage to Jane Fonda failed, Turner fell into deep depression and contemplated suicide. But Turner fought those thoughts as he did with Bipolar Disorder and remains today as one of the most brilliant pioneers in the field of media and entertainment.
Dan Reynolds- Singer songwriter
Lead singer of Imagine Dragon suffers from an auto-immune disorder and admits that he was depressed for some years despite the success of the band. Imagine Dragon has won countless awards including the American Music Award, Billboard Music Awards, one Grammy Award, one MTV Video Music Award, World Music Award and Teen Choice award. Due to his experience with pain and depression, the band has contributed to many social causes including raising funds for cancer patients, refugees from the middle east and organised the LoveLoud Fest to benefit LGBTQ organizations.
Many of the songs written was also inspired by Reynold’s struggle with depression such as Night Vision. In 2018, Reynolds started sharing about his struggle with mental health and aims to destigmatize and change how society sees depression. The band is currently on hiatus to focus on family and friends.
Elon Musk – Entrepreneur and Inventor
Elon Musk is the man behind the most innovative electric cars in the world and is on the verge of making space travel as common as taking a plane ride through his latest venture SpaceX. This serial entrepreneur and billionaire has everything a person can dream of. Yet in a recent twit, he revealed that he could be suffering from a mental disorder. Musk tweeted that “The reality is great highs, terrible lows and unrelenting stress. Don’t think people want to hear about the last two.”. When asked if that might be Bipolar Disorder, he replied “Yeah”.
Michael Phelps – Athlete
Michael Phelps, the greatest swimmer of all time holds the record of winning the most Olympic gold medals ever in history of the sport. With a total of 28 medals, Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time and has won more medals than 161 countries put together. In his personal life, Phelps is also known to be kind-hearted and generous, always investing in the success of other people. When Phelps lost to Joseph Schooling in his last Olympic race in 2016, he was asked if he would continue on to win back his title. Phelps said, “I’m not going four more years and I’m standing by that… I’m happy with how things finished.” Phelps is also married to Nicole Johnson, Miss California, USA, and has 3 children.
But for the man who seem to have everything and who says, “I’ve been able to do everything I’ve ever put my mind to in the sport”, Phelps’s life is mired in a struggle and pain that few can understand. “I was one of the worlds most successful athletes, but I was lost, I hadn’t left my room for five days, and I questioned if I wanted to be alive anymore…working with my therapist saved my life.”
Piyush Gupta – Banker
Back home, men of equal stature in the business world are also opening up about their mental health. Recently, Piyush Gupta, CEO of DBS bank shared his personal experience with anxiety when his business failed early in his career. DBS is one of the winners of the World’s Best Bank award 2020 and is the safest and largest bank in Southeast Asia. Gupta shared how therapy helped him and how that experience has shaped his leadership, with mental health as the most important consideration.
It takes incredible amount of courage to share about mental health struggles and these trail-blazing men have once again paved the way. Do you have your own story to tell? Come share with us and inspire many.