Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton are believed to have been on the autism spectrum. Stephen Fry has bipolar disorder. Howard Hughes struggled with obsessive compulsive disorder. When celebrities go public with mental health issues, it becomes easier to see that these issues can and do affect anyone - and are probably more prevalent than you realize.
(If you or someone you know is experiencing depression, resources can be found here)
Sharing personal struggles opens the door for others to do the same. Check out this video for example:
Now I don't watch much T.V., but I appreciated Anna's talent when she was first doing original pieces, covers and collaborations on Vine. It wasn't so much her amazing voice that drew me in, but rather her encouraging messages and openness about struggling with mental health. Anna shared her journey with the world, six seconds at time, unafraid of what people might think.
Self-expression is a beautiful and terrifying thing. On the one hand, sharing yourself with the world can be a freeing experience. To take everything inside of you - thoughts, fears, inspiration, confusion, love, pain, everything - and creatively share it out loud is often a very liberating thing. Even without sharing it, artistic expression makes tangible the abstract and complicated selves we too often keep sheltered and hidden.
Conversely, making yourself and your work public makes you vulnerable to the opinions of others. Even with the highest of confidence, people can be affected by the ability of others to see inside of them. An artist's work is often a reflection of themselves in one way or another. What a photographer chooses to capture in a frame says a lot about their interests and perspectives. A singer often pulls from experience when they put pen to paper to make music. In a world of technology and trolls, putting yourself out there isn't always easy.
Although I can't imagine what Anna and the millions of other's go through, I myself feel a touch of anxiety when I create media here at Wrinkle. For the documentaries we've made, we work on them for months often doing nothing else but that and then we show it to a TV station, or to an audience, or submit it to be judged for awards - and I have to be honest in saying that it never gets easier. The butterflies never fly away - and every time I still think about whether it's good enough to be shown at all. There has even been a time when I was almost too wrapped up in my doubts to go ahead and put it out there (luckily I've got a great, supportive team here).
That's why I have to give it up to Anna and all those out there who overcome their challenges to bear themselves to the world. There's a comfort in the humanness they ultimately bring sharing talent and story in unfettered ways. I hope others can find this strength and are moved to create as well. In the words of my great friend, Adam Burl:
"I'm afraid of a lot of things, I just overcome them on a daily basis."