Where are all the depressed famous women at?
November 11, 2005 2:13 PM   Subscribe

Help me find depressed famous women....

I work in the library at a hospital. I've been asked for help with a research project. The behavioral health department wants to do a poster session highlighting famous women who dealth with depression. I'm consulting the usual sources, but would be interested in anything MeFites can offer. I would prefer that the depressed women be historical-famous, not celebrity-famous. Paris Hilton may be feeling a little blue this weekend, but I don't that qualifies her to be part of this project.
posted by cosmicbandito to Health & Fitness (31 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Also, I am not trying to be snarky about depression. I know several people who are coping with it. I am not trying to make light of the condition or those afflicted by it, and I sincerely would appreciate any help.
posted by cosmicbandito at 2:16 PM on November 11, 2005

Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf are the two most obvious ones who spring to my mind.
posted by scody at 2:17 PM on November 11, 2005

Marilyn Monroe?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:18 PM on November 11, 2005 [1 favorite]

Tipper Gore.
posted by konolia at 2:19 PM on November 11, 2005

Zelda Fitzgerald?
posted by Gator at 2:20 PM on November 11, 2005

Whilt googling Kitty Dukakis, I got this list. She's "only" bipolar. Don't know if it counts.
posted by unknowncommand at 2:23 PM on November 11, 2005

Oh, and Vivian Leigh. And Princess Diana.
posted by Gator at 2:25 PM on November 11, 2005

Dorothy Parker?
posted by Skot at 2:27 PM on November 11, 2005

I did not intend that to sound so dirty.
posted by unknowncommand at 2:28 PM on November 11, 2005

Anne Sexton.
posted by xmutex at 2:31 PM on November 11, 2005

Shawn Colvin
posted by invisible ink at 2:35 PM on November 11, 2005

The wife of the acting governor of NJ, whose name escapes me.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:36 PM on November 11, 2005 [1 favorite]

Edna St. Vincent Millay
posted by invisible ink at 2:38 PM on November 11, 2005

Brooke Shields (postpartum depression)
The NJ lady... is Mary Jo (or maybe just Mary?) Codey. She had postpartum depression too.
posted by elisabeth r at 2:39 PM on November 11, 2005

Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Edith Wharton, Kate Chopin, Charlotte Perkins-Gilman, Elizabeth Bishop, and yes, Dorothy Parker, Sylvia Plath, and Virginia Woolf: it's probably easier to list the women writers and poets that didn't suffer from depression than those who did.
posted by melissa may at 2:52 PM on November 11, 2005

Zelda Fitzgerald and Dorothy Parker and Emily Dickinson, amen.
posted by jdroth at 2:57 PM on November 11, 2005

Shirley Manson
posted by PurplePorpoise at 3:07 PM on November 11, 2005

Georgia O'Keefe & Frida Kahlo
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 3:11 PM on November 11, 2005

Gene Tierney, I believe. She had a whole host of mental problems, of which depression was but one.
posted by Dr. Wu at 3:24 PM on November 11, 2005

May be too edgy, but Sarah Silverman.
posted by desuetude at 3:45 PM on November 11, 2005

It deals with bipolar rather than plain depression, but Touched with Fire by Kay Redfield Jamison is in part about the link between creativity and depression. ISTR it discussing several famous women.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:48 PM on November 11, 2005

Try IMDB biography search for "depressed," "depression," etc. Obviously it will skew towards finding actresses versus other famous women, but it's worth a try.
posted by apple scruff at 4:19 PM on November 11, 2005

Hedda Gabler.
posted by hortense at 7:04 PM on November 11, 2005

If you include grief, one of the best books of the year is Joan Didion's memoir The Year Of Magical Thinking. It's up for the National Book Award for non-fiction. Winners to be announced Wednesday.

posted by Independent Scholarship at 7:16 PM on November 11, 2005

L.M. Montgomery. Lousa May Alcott.
posted by xyzzy at 10:54 PM on November 11, 2005

Marie Curie.

Googling for "famous people depression" and "famous women depression" turned up lots of hits.

I'd encourage you to include the odd "celebrity" in your poster. This will help you to connect with people who see depression as something that wacky poets and artists have. Also, you'll be more inclusive if you throw in some contemporary celebrities, instead of making a poster that shows people only "literate", "culture", "educated" people can identify.
posted by acoutu at 11:10 PM on November 11, 2005

Patty Duke's autobiography deals with her bipolar depression, aggravated by sexual abuse. She specifically wrote them in order to help others as a role model.

Julia Thorne (Kerry)
This 1994 book features the experiences of several then-well-known personages.

Winona Ryder.

Rosie O'Donnell.

Donna Summer.
posted by dhartung at 12:11 AM on November 12, 2005

Damn -- I forgot Carrie Fisher. Postcards from the Edge etc. Bipolar for her, too.
posted by dhartung at 12:13 AM on November 12, 2005

Diane Arbus.
posted by zadcat at 7:09 AM on November 12, 2005

Mary Todd Lincoln
posted by macadamiaranch at 3:15 PM on November 12, 2005

Hopefully you're looking for famous women that overcame depression as opposed to those who succumbed to it (e.g. Sylvia Plath... while I love her poetry, she nevertheless committed suicide by sticking her head in the oven while her children slept... not a great role model).

Carrie Fisher and Mariette Hartley are two (relatively) famous women that speak often about their experiences with mental illness and are active advocates against stigma. Jane Pauley and Brooke Shields have recently written books. And I believe Linda Carter has also started talking about her own experiences (tied mostly to alcoholism, I think). Although I don't know if these women have all had clinical depression per se, all have struggled with mental illness of some sort, which usually means they've dealt with depression at a minimum.

I would contact the National Mental Health Association (www.nmha.org) and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (www.nami.org). I bet they already have materials for this kind of thing available or could easily point you in the right direction. Good luck.
posted by zharptitsa at 1:16 AM on November 16, 2005

« Older Southern Utah photography spree   |   Not the father. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.