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Liz Spikol

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(Manic) Depression Confessions: Christina Ricci and Mel Gibson

Posted: 05/19/08 04:30 PM ET

In 2007 and 2008, many celebrities have come out of the closet about struggling with mental illness.

Just a brief rundown:

- Delta Burke (serious clinical depression)

- Patrick Dempsey (depression, for about two days)

- Alicia Keys (depression)

- Drew Carey (depression)

- Fall-Out Boy's Pete Wentz (manic-depression - his words)

- Rebecca Romijn (post-wedding blues)

- Corey Feldman (depression, probably just from being Corey Feldman)

- Kelly Osbourne (depression blamed on too much money. No, seriously.)

- Zach Braff (depression)

- Mandy Moore (depression, hopefully not at the same time)

- Anne Hathaway (anxiety as a teen)

- Rosie O'Donnell (depression)

- Halle Berry (depression spurred by asshole boyfriends)

That's to say nothing of the old standbys: Axl Rose (bipolar); Margot Kidder (bipolar); Anne Heche (bipolar); Carrie Fisher (bipolar); and Robert Downey Jr. (who the hell knows?)

Trotting out celeb names like this isn't just a fun party game (which is good, because that would be an unappealing party). It's actually vaguely meaningful, because you can then say to your friends, "Look, don't give me any crap about taking meds and seeing my psychiatrist. I might end up hosting The Price Is Right, or starring in the next Marvel superhero adaptation, or making a Grammy Award-winning blockbuster CD." Or you might want to forget the Price Is Right part. Replacing Bob Barker isn't so cool.

Celebs who come out of the crazy closet are saying to kids (and adults) that it's all right to talk about this stuff, that there's nothing to be ashamed of. Famous people have so much to lose, yet they disclose.

So in the interest of further destigmatization and in order to appreciate the celebs who are willing to be frank, let's examine the latest revelations.

First of all, kudos to Christina Ricci, currently starring in Speed Racer. According to Now magazine, young Ricci fought anorexia and depression in her even younger years:

...the actress, 28, says she overcame her problems with the help of a psychiatrist.

'These are things you can't always deal with alone, so I went to therapy,' she tells The Independent.

'Sometimes people need to seek professional help. Along the way I discovered that you can choose to be happy.

'If you choose to let go of your self-consciousness and insecurities about physical appearance, then you'll get to a place where you are present to see the world and enjoy yourself.'

I think that's admirable coming from a woman whose forehead is larger than my living room.

Less admirable, perhaps, is the revelation from the Sydney Morning Herald that many years ago, Mel Gibson, that wacky Aussie, described himself as "manic depressive."

Mel Gibson talks about being diagnosed as bipolar in a new documentary about the NIDA acting class of 1977. ...

"I had really good highs ,but some very low lows," Gibson said. "I found out recently I'm manic depressive."

While the interview dates back to 2002, the actor and director, who made headlines with a drunken outburst two years ago, has rarely talked about the condition.

Rarely? How about never? He probably doesn't want to get a metaphorical (or literal, now that I think about it) spanking from Tom Cruise and the Scientologists, nor does he want to compromise his rep as ... a drunk and anti-Semite.

Mel, if you're out there, come out of the closet! The National Alliance on Mental Illness has its annual Los Angeles County walk on Oct. 4. It would be perfect for you. Show your pride and give me, a onetime Jewish fan, my faith back.