Mariah Carey is not alone. The pop star became the latest public figure to open up about being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a mental health condition typically characterised by drastic mood swings that include stretches of mania and depression.
Carey, 48, was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder in 2001, but the diagnosis remained a secret until last week. She hopes her coming forward will help to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental illness.
“I was working and working and working … I was irritable and in constant fear of letting people down. It turns out that I was experiencing a form of mania. Eventually I would just hit a wall,” Carey told People.
“I guess my depressive episodes were characterised by having very low energy. I would feel so lonely and sad – even guilty that I wasn’t doing what I needed to be doing for my career.”
Approximately 2.8% of adults in the United States suffered from bipolar disorder between Nov 2016 and Nov 2017, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Here are four celebrities besides Carey who have shed a light on living with bipolar disorder.
The iconic Star Wars actress consistently discussed her experiences with bipolar disorder, which she was diagnosed with at age 24 after she had already made a massive name for herself in the film industry.
Fisher, who died in December 2016, said she didn’t accept her diagnosis for five years until she became sober and realised something was still affecting the way she felt.
“We have been given a challenging illness, and there is no other option than to meet those challenges,” Fisher wrote in an advice column for The Guardian weeks before her death in response to a fan who also had bipolar disorder.
“Think of it as an opportunity to be heroic – not ‘I survived living in Mosul during an attack’ heroic, but an emotional survival,” Fisher continued.
“An opportunity to be a good example to others who might share our disorder. That’s why it’s important to find a community – however small – of other bipolar people to share experiences and find comfort in the similarities.”
Lovato has made it a point to bring attention to mental illness since her diagnosis with bipolar disorder in 2011. The singer is offering therapy sessions to fans ahead of the concerts on her latest tour, and she said on Ellen talk show last year that she is able to “live well” with bipolar disorder.
“I think that that’s the goal for everyone with a mental illness,” she told host Ellen DeGeneres in February 2017. “The reality is, one in five Americans has a mental health condition, so as long as they get the right treatment team in place and the right treatment plan, then they can live well with it.”
The veteran Creed frontman learned he had bipolar disorder following a highly publicised breakdown in 2014, according to People. But he says he can trace his symptoms all the way back to 1998, and turned to self-medicating in an effort to get through it.
“It’s hard to understand, in my opinion, a disease that you can’t see physically,” Stapp told Rolling Stone.
“There’s no cast. There’s no wheelchair, but it is debilitating. It can destroy your life because it’s hard to understand.
“I spent a lot of time in dark depressions, and that can be misunderstood by your friends and people around you. I definitely suffered the consequences that most people battling a mental illness suffer.
“You lose relationships, careers. Unfortunately, a lot lose their lives.”
The actress, who was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder in 2011, opened up about the condition that year to People after she was hospitalised.
“If my revelation of having bipolar II has encouraged one person to seek help, then it is worth it,” Zeta-Jones said at the time. “There is no need to suffer silently and there is no shame in seeking help.”
The following year, she said on Good Morning America that she never wanted her condition to be made public and did not want to be made a poster child for the illness. “Everyone has things going on, and we deal with them the best we can,” she said on the ABC morning show.
“We can’t jump from the rooftops shouting, ‘I have this, look at me! Victim!’ No. We all have issues in life, and I’m really happy that I have great friends, great support. And that’s all I can do.” – New York Daily News/Tribune News Service