Chris Farley and depression (+How mental illness shortened his life)

This article will discuss how the actor Chris Farley spent most of his life battling mental illness. It will show how in coping with depression, he started to abuse alcohol and drugs, until his untimely death. 

Chris Farley and depression

Chris Farley was a famous actor and comedian in the 1990s, he died in 1997, when he was 33 years old, from an overdose of cocaine, and opiates. He was one of the greatest comedians of his time. But all that great work hid the sadness he carried inside.

Chris Farley was depressed and was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Which led him to turn to drugs as a coping mechanism. And even though fame had an emotional toll on him, his troubles began long before he got famous.

As a young kid that was overweight, Chris Farley was constantly bullied by his friends. He has nicknames like “Fatso”, and from that young age, he began to use humor as a coping mechanism. 

And as he grew in his career, even though the weight was a problem, he was scared that by losing it, he would lose his comic edge.

This shows how his sense of identity was deeply connected to his weight. And how making a move towards being healthy, would make him afraid of losing everything. And thinking of losing the fame was unbearable to him. The silence when the laughter stopped seemed to terrify him.

As he became part of the cast of Saturday Night Life, that sense of identity with being overweight became an easy topic to explore. He was constantly writing scenes in which the humor would be extremely related to his figure. 

He started to act in a self-flagellating way each time he did something wrong on stage, like falling, sometimes as a joke, but over time, it was possible to see things were getting more intense.

Because he was addicted to multiple substances such as cocaine, heroin, alcohol, marijuana, mushrooms, and even food, he took part in many rehabilitation programs. He even took part in Overeaters Anonymous, and Alcoholic Anonymous, but it seemed like he could never cut those things out of his life. 

And in the last 2 years of his life, he made 17 attempts at treatment programs, showing how desperate he was to get some control over his life. This shows how he tried to abandon his addictions.

It is also known that he took medication and went to therapy to handle his emotions, but it seems that in some ways the drugs, alcohol, and food may have had a greater impact on him.

Another interesting, and sad, matter about Chris Farley’s life is that he idolized the comedian John Belushi. And in some ways, his life path seems to go in a similar direction as John’s. Both of those great comedians struggled with addiction, and both of them died of an overdose at the young age of 33.

The death of Chris Farley was another one of those uncountable losses. He still had a lot more to accomplish, but the torments brought on by depression, and the addiction that was highly impacted by his OCD, caused him to end his life taking drugs, with a call girl in a hotel room, and dying alone.

What is depression? 

Depression is a mental health condition that causes the person to experience intense sadness. Not only that, it can make them lose purpose, and interest in life and things they used to love. Along with that, it can make it harder for people to focus, and they may lack motivation or energy. 

It can cause you to feel more fatigued, and become more irritable, isolated, guilty, and ashamed. Depression also changes your eating and sleeping pattern, makes you feel hopeless, and makes your self-esteem, and sense of self-worth go down.

To some people, depression can lead to thoughts of self-harm, and even thoughts of death and suicidal thoughts. And even though each person can experience depression differently, for a person to be considered depressed they need to have gone through its symptoms for more than 2 weeks.

What are ways to cope with depression?

Even though it seems that Chris Farley turned to the abuse of drugs and alcohol to cope with depression, there are more positive ways one can cope with depression. The first thing to do is to look for professional help. 

Look for a therapist or a psychiatrist. Sometimes, even the combination of the two will be good to improve your condition. With therapy, you will be able to have someone that listens to what you are saying in a non-judgemental way. In there you may learn more about your emotions, and may even understand the roots of your depression.

The psychiatrist may prescribe you some medication that will allow your symptoms of depression to be less intense. And aside from professional help, there are some things you can do in your daily life to cope with depression.

Taking up a healthy lifestyle, meaning eating and sleeping well, can be a good way to cope with depression. By trying those, you will see that your energy levels may improve, and you may feel less fatigued. Exercising can also be of great help with that.

It not only improves how energetic you feel, but the endorphins you will get after it will certainly improve your mood. And even though when you are depressed sometimes it may seem impossible to work out, keep in mind to do simple things such as a short walk. That will take you out of the house, as well as it will allow you to talk to other people.

Keeping yourself open to others, be it family or friends, can be great. Having people you love around you will give you the possibility to vent, as well as sometimes get some distraction from those negative thoughts depression brings. 

You may also want to keep yourself open to new things. Depression may take all of your drive and motivation. But to deal with that, you can find new things to explore. It can be going hiking or doing volunteer work. Those can give you a sense of accomplishment and maybe even help you find a new purpose.

Meditation and breathing exercises are also a great way to help you cope with depression. It will come in handy when you experience those negative thoughts spiraling. Those techniques will allow you to center yourself, focus on yourself, and move away from those thoughts. 

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ): Was Chris Farley depressed? 

What are the causes of depression? 

Depression can happen because of some factors. It can be related to genetics, which means that when you have a family member that has gone through depression, you have a higher chance of going through it. Aside from that, it can be related to a chemical imbalance in your brain.

This means that when the level of some neurotransmitters such as serotonin is low, and the level of some hormones, such as cortisol is high, a person can be depressed. 

And finally, depression can be related to external factors. So when a person is going through a traumatic experience, such as the loss of a loved one, or the end of a relationship, they can get depressed.

What is an accidental overdose? 

In an accidental overdose, the person experiences an intense reaction, that can sometimes be lethal, to taking some form of substance. But differently than the regular overdose, this happens with the person being aware that it is too much.

In an accidental overdose, the person may take one substance, and believe it is another, which can lead to the overdose. Or they may even lose track of how much they have taken before, and continue doing it.

What is the connection between addiction and suicide? 

When a person is addicted, it can change their behavior. They may feel at first like the drug is making them feel better, but with time, when they are addicted, they may realize they have lost control over it.

It is now the drug that has control over them. This lack of control can lead them to feel weak, and at times, seeing how much the drug has taken away from them, they may try to quit. But this is an extremely hard process, and every time they relapse, they will feel like a failure. 

Little by little the addiction will impact their sense of self-worth, and their self-esteem. The addiction also harms their relationships, and with time they can feel more isolated. 

It comes to a point when they feel hopeless and unable to quit the addiction, it is then that suicide starts to feel like a possibility of the addiction, and in an impulsive moment, some may act on the thought.

How can I tell if my friend is addicted to drugs?

You may notice your friend is addicted if his behavior has changed. He may not be interested in things like school and work as he was before. Aside from that, their appearance can change, and they can let go of their hygiene, and self-care routines.

Their relationships will change, and they may become closer to different people. When addicted, your friend might start to spend a lot of money, but never be clear about where it is going, or what he has done with it. Their appetite and sleep patterns will change, and their eyes and skin tone as well.

What are suicidal thoughts?

Suicidal thoughts, also known as suicidal ideation, are ones in which the person starts to think about ending their lives. This can happen in a passive way, or in a more active way. In the first one, the person may think about ending their lives, but they don’t have a concrete plan to do so.

As for the second way, that person may be planning on how, when, and where they would do it. This is the most dangerous form of suicidal thought, and when people are going through that, it is important they go through professional treatment and are not left alone.

When a person is having suicidal thoughts, they may begin to behave erratically and have trouble sleeping. Aside from that, they can start to say goodbye to people, and give away their belongings. But not only that, people with suicidal thoughts may develop a curiosity for violent events, death, and even suicide.


This article centered around the life of the actor Chris Farley. It showed how he dealt with mental health throughout his life, and how it led to him abusing drugs and alcohol. The article also explained what depression is, and what are positive ways people can cope with depression.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write them in the section below.


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