We Are Not Alone: Closet Bipolars in Hollywood
Today as I waited to check in at my MD’s office, John Lennon began singing overhead, “People say I’m crazy, doin what I’m doin, Well they give me all kinds of warnings, tryin to save me from ruin…” Was a superior being trying to speak to me through the office sound system? To say it was ironic that a song began to play out the exact thoughts in my mind is an understatement. So, I began to wonder, had John Lennon been subjected to the same torture I am enduring at this very time in my existence? Was it possible that he too suffered from manic-depression as it was called in the sixties and seventies, but failed to get help because of the stigma?
These very thoughts motivated me to research this question later this afternoon, as I laid in bed for my daily hiatus from reality. I could not find a definitive answer but I did find out he wrestled with his own demons just as you and I. Interestingly, I came upon a list of many famous people and celebrities that suffer from bipolar who I never would have considered, including Issac Newton, Ashley Judd, Jon Bon Jovi, Cameron Diaz, Madonna, Don McLean, Celo Green (although his flamboyant outfits on The Voice two years ago may have been a sign), Katy Perry…the list was endless. Of course there were the no-brainers too: Brittany Spears, Kurt Cobain, Robert Downey, Jr., Charlie Sheen (although he claims it’s bi-winning in an interview about it), Whitney Houston, Bobby Brown. I will not bore you with all the names. Let’s just put it this way, we diagnosed are amongst some very special and talented people, and I haven’t even touched on the poets and writers.
Which brings me to my point: Why don’t more of the famous come out and speak about this God awful disease? Don’t they think there’s a chance they may instill some hope in those who feel there’s no hope to be had? Although this world has come far in it’s acceptance of mental illness, stigma still exists everywhere and is most likely exactly what is preventing these highly successful people from coming forward. It’s a shame. And crazy as this may sound, I’m contemplating writing them letters to try to persuade them to advocate for us, rather than hide.
I know many of us feel cursed, and I do at times as well, but seeing that list instilled some hope for me. Some of the most creative and talented artists suffered and still suffer from this disease. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all embrace the positive side of this disease? The intense creativity that so many of us are blessed with? The ability to feel with such intensity? The potential to experience extreme beauty in the things we see at times? The empathy we experience when we look at a Picasso painting and are able to truly relate and know exactly what he was feeling, more so than the art critics and experts? What I am saying is we may have been cursed with an incurable disease, but we have been blessed with the gift of being able to feel to our cores.
Many people meander through life and never feel a love you feel you could not breathe without. Or pain so deep you can convey those feelings in a dark poem. I hate that my disease is out of control right now and there are days I cannot pull myself out of bed, but I love the fact that I finally realize I wasn’t a weird kid belting out sixteen poems about a boy I thought I loved more than life itself. My gift began partly due to this disease, and I hope and pray, this disease gives me the courage and ability to finally pursue my dream of becoming a published writer someday, so possibly my name will be amongst that list as well.