The majority of people will never know what it’s like to be famous. It’s a completely different world that’s hard to understand, and some never give up trying to get their big break. Becoming famous takes a lot of hard work, skill, talent, and determination. There is a bunch of pressure to be the best—the best actress, in the best movies, a part of the greatest cast. On the surface, famous people seem to have it all. They have the fancy cars, the giant houses, and more money than they could ever spend. Yet, many of them feel more lonely, depressed, and isolated than the everyday person who doesn’t have any of those things.
Being famous definitely has its perks, but it also comes with downsides and mental health issues. Luckily, resources such as MyTherapist now exist, so accessing help is becoming easier than ever before. Still, the impact of fame on a person’s mental health cannot be understated. The more awareness there is surrounding this issue, the more comfortable famous people will feel about seeking help, and the less non-famous people will glamourize the lives of celebrities that seem so perfect on the outside.
Isolation and Loneliness
Being famous is lonely. Many celebrities talk about feeling like something is missing, even when it seems like they have everything they could ever ask for plus more. You have to constantly put up a façade and make sure you stay relevant. Most people have a handful of critics they could name, but famous people have hundreds, thousands, or even millions of them. Being in the spotlight all the time allows people to criticize anything and everything about you. With the click of a button on social media, all sorts of mean comments can be instantly sent out, all directed at a single person. Famous people don’t personally know most of their critics, but these comments still hurt. It also becomes harder to relate to your old friends and family the more famous you become. You’re expected to have friends of the same social status, and so you drift away from the people who were once most important to you. Everyone needs close relationships, but famous people tend to struggle to build and keep them. This causes depression, isolation, and a deep feeling of sadness.
Pretending to Be Someone Else
Celebrities often find themselves wondering what parts of their character and personality are them and what parts are a persona. This is especially true of actors and actresses who take on many different character roles. When you’re constantly in the public eye, you are forced to put on a show at all times. This means not always saying what you mean and acting in ways that you know will be pleasing to the crowd. People who don’t have a strong identity can struggle with their self-esteem and self-worth. They may not even have a sense of who they really are. When people don’t feel completely free to be themselves, it can lead to anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Everyone wants and needs to be loved just as they are, not for the person they try to be.
Distrust of Others
When you’re famous, it’s hard to know who genuinely wants to get to know you for you or for your money and status. You may even think you know someone well just to find out they’ve been using you for personal gain. Famous people are much more likely to be used for what they have rather than befriended for the person they are. For this reason, it makes sense they’d be less trusting of others. Their guard is up much more when meeting new people, and it can be even harder for them to be open with others. Constantly feeling like people are only friends with you so they can get stuff from you can leave a person feeling depressed and alone. They might also feel like they’re not good enough on their own and their self-worth can take a major hit.
Little Daily Privacy
Being famous means your whole life is on display. You can hardly go outside without the paparazzi following you around or someone asking for a signature or picture. If you make a big life decision, have a falling out with someone, or take on a new big role, it’s plastered all over the news. You have to constantly seem happy and put together for the news and for your fans. Even if your life isn’t perfect, it has to appear that way. There isn’t any room for a mental illness or feeling down, because people will notice. It could cost you fans or a role in the new movie. Having to be perfect 24/7 will leave anyone feeling worn out and inauthentic. Once you’re famous it’s hard to go back because everyone already knows who you are.
Clearly, fame can bring a lot more misery than most people realize. It is important to keep in mind that not every famous person has this experience. Some are very real with the world and don’t try to be anyone they’re not. This is becoming more common with social media and as the world pushes for better mental health resources. As mental health becomes less stigmatized, more famous people are feeling comfortable coming forward with their struggles. This is good as many people look up to celebrities and even idealize their lives. Realizing that even famous people have bad days and struggle with their mental health is a great reminder for anyone. When we recognize the humanness in all of us, we become more compassionate, caring, and less judgmental. The next time you look at a celebrity and wish you had their life, think twice. Their life is probably not as glamorous as it seems. To your surprise, that person may secretly be idealizing a life of normalcy like yours.