According to the online health website Everyday Health, Brad Pitt, J.K. Rowlings and Gwyneth Paltrow once suffered from depression. In fact, the kind of depressive disorder that it appears they suffered from is called SAD. The acronym SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder, which Psychology Today defines it as a “form of depression… which people experience depressive episodes during specific time of the year.”
Brad Pitt and talked candidly about depression with a number of publishing outlets. Specifically, Pitt was featured The Telegraph as having “dealt with depression in the 1990s before turning his life around when he witnessed poverty in Morocco. Additionally, The Telegraph mentioned a Hollywood Reporter interview where Pitt says, he “was hiding out from the celebrity thing, [he] was smoking way too much dope. [he] was sitting on the couch and just turning into a doughnut.” He added:
I used to deal with depression, but I don’t now, not this decade – mabey last decade. But that’s also figuring out who you are. I see it as a great education, as one of the seasons or a semester: This semester I was majoring in depression.”
WebMD tells its readers that some people can quickly recover from Seasonal Depression (Seasonal Affective Disorder “SAD”) simply by getting more sunlight. However, the publication says that those who suffer from the condition often feel depressed, fatigued and irritable around the same time each year. In other words, it is seasonal. In addition, those affected by SAD have less energy, greater appetite and increased desire to be alone. These are all symptoms that Pitt expresses in his Hollywood Reporter interview, and could be linked to SAD.
J.K. Rowling says that she wrote her way out of depression, but before she was able to climb out of her depressive state, “she suffered from severe depression and contemplated suicide.” However, “acting on her doctor’s advice, Rowling started cognitive behavioral therapy; and after nine months she overcame her suicidal thoughts and depression.” The super successful story writer has written much on the subject of depression. For example, Rowling writes:
It’s so difficult to describe depression to someone who’s never been there because it’s not sadness. I know sadness. Sadness is to cry and to feel. But it’s that cold absence of feeling that really hollowed – out feeling.
It a way, Rowling’s experience seems quite different from Pitt. Though they both had their season and ended, her description does not appear kin to Pitt’s characterization. Pitt may have had SAD, but Rowling’s suggest something altogether different.
Gwyneth Paltrow has also publicly revealed that she has suffered from depression. The Oscar-winning actress told Good Housekeeping magazine her struggles with postpartum depression. This is a condition affecting 1 out of 8 women approximately one month after childbirth. This is a time in a woman’s life when the process of giving birth has a tendency of unbalancing one’s hormones. This an interesting observation especially when one is aware that most scientists believe that certain hormones made deep in the brain trigger attitude-related changes at certain times of the year. According to WebMD, these experts believe that SAD may be related to these hormonal changes.
Now it is clear that Paltrow was diagnosed with postpartum not Seasonal Affective Disorder depression, but unlike Pitt, she could so easily have not been diagnosed with SAD. And why not? Well, look at the things that cause SAD. Paltrow had her second child in March, which is the dividing point between winter and spring.
WebMD tells its readers that a lack of daylight can contribute to one experiencing SAD, which is why winter months are typically the time of the season when Seasonal Affective Disorder depression occurs. More importantly, Paltrow says that more than anything else exercise played and significant role in her overcoming the disorder.
Neither Rowling nor Paltrow ever mentioned the prescribed treatment for overcoming SAD. WebMD readers learn that SAD depression can be treated with “Light Therapy.” Since the illness is arguably linked to the natural melatonin hormone that results in drowsiness, light can play an important role in providing a cure. SAD researchers say that light can have an antidepressant effect on the disorder. In fact, “some people with SAD can recover within days of using light therapy.
It is possible that Pitt may have been acquainted with “Light Therapy.” Since the actor never quite revealed how he actually overcame his depression, it should not be ruled out that SAD represented what he was suffering from.
Written by DiMarkco Chandler
Everyday Health: 6 Celebrities Who Beat Depression
WebMD: Seasonal Depression (Seasonal Affective Disorder)
The Telegraph: Brad Pitt: ‘I suffered depression’
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Toni Fish’s Flickr – Creative Commons License