Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters

Being famous and gorgeous does not make a person immune to depression.  Just ask Jon Hamm or Ashley Judd.  They have both endured depression.

Mad Men star Jon Hamm guest-starred on a couple of episodes of 30 Rock.  The premise of these episodes was that good-looking people get special perks from society and can get away with more crap than the average person.   Yet in real life, being DDG (drop dead gorgeous) did not prevent Hamm from getting sick. According to Health magazine, when Hamm was 20, he experienced chronic depression after his father died.  He relied on the structured environment offered by college plus medication and therapy to pull him up out of the black hole.  Now, of course, he spends most of his time drinking bourbon for breakfast and chasing women on Mad Men.  Talk about eye candy.

Then there’s Ashley Judd.  I remember her as a teenager on the show Sisters.  She played Sela Ward’s daughter.  I thought she was so beautiful.  Later she played the young Vivi Abbott Walker in The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood.   Remember that awful scene when she lines up her children outside in the rain?  Chilling.

Apparently her childhood was no picnic.  While her mother and sister (Naomi and Wynona Judd) were out touring, she was mostly left alone to fend for herself.  She wrote a memoir in 2011 called All that is Bitter & Sweet in which she revealed that in 2006 she spent 42 days in a rehab center for depression.  Did you know that she recently earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Harvard?  Not only is she gorgeous, but she’s smart too.  And she likes to hike.

When I was a kid, I thought that if I was perfect, nothing bad would happen to me.  And the converse was true also — because I was bad, bad things happened to me. (You’ll never guess who helped to fuel that perception).   Then when I was 30 and went through my first big depression,  I read The Road Less Traveled  by M. Scott Peck.  The opening lines of the book were mind-blowing to me:

 “Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”

Could this really be true?  It wasn’t me?  It wasn’t because I was not as obedient as I should have been?
It was an epiphany.  And just as Peck predicted, once I learned that simple fact of life, my life was no longer difficult for me inside my head.  I was finally able to stop those awful tapes that ran inside my head, tapes planted by a parent who wanted to control me no matter how old or independent I got.

And this truth also meant that it didn’t matter how good looking or accomplished a person was.  Life is difficult for all of us, even people as beautiful as Jon Hamm and Ashley Judd.

Until you’ve seen this trash can dream come true
You stand at the edge while people run you through
And I thank the Lord there’s people out there like you
I thank the Lord there’s people out there like you
 While Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters
Sons of bankers, sons of lawyers
Turn around and say good morning to the night
For unless they see the sky
But they can’t and that is why
They know not if it’s dark outside or light
Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters, lyrics by Bernie Taupin

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