These Bipolar Celebrities are Smashing Mental Illness Stereotypes
Mental health can be a difficult subject. For years, mental illnesses have been misunderstood and those who suffer from them have been ostracized or dismissed due to their conditions. It’s no surprise that because of the stigma that surrounds mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder, celebrities have traditionally remained quiet when it comes to discussing the their daily battle with their condition. Although not every person deals with mental illness in the same way, here is a list of courageous actors, comedians, and even leaders who were diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but persisted in their own way against the stigma that surrounds the disease.
He’s better known as the front man of the indie pop band Passion Pit than he is by his real name, but singer and performer Michael Angelakos has been a public advocate for the de-stigmatization of bipolar and other mental disorders for much of his career. Angelakos has been very candid about his experience with bipolar disorder, the struggles he’s faced because of the disorder, and his own journey through treatment towards health in many of his interviews. Additionally, Angelakos’ music often discusses themes revolving around bipolar disorder which gives listeners a closer insight into what it feels like living with this condition. In 2015, Angelakos worked with Bring Change 2 Mind, a non-profit organization founded by celebrated actress Glenn Close that’s fighting to end the stigma that surrounds mental illness on their #StrongerThenStigma campaign. Angelakos addressed audiences regarding bipolar disorder with a message that was designed to especially target men who suffer from mental illness.
In her autobiography Skywriting: A Life Out of the Blue, journalist Jane Pauley expressed her feelings of depression. Pauley is really a household name in the journalism field as she has been on the NBC's Today Show and Dateline, and now is a contributor for CBS News' Sunday Morning. She first had hives, and used steroids to treat them, however the steroids may have actually started her manic episodes. While she was first treated for depression, taking anti-depressants, she was not treated for her bipolar disorder. She is cited to say by CBS News that "without stabilizing medicine, anti-depressants can be dangerous, producing a 'bungee cord effect'."
Although not a celebrity in the sense that we typically think of, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was certainly a prominent figure of his time. Churchill is best remembered for his stalwart leadership of England throughout the atrocities of World War II. With a firm and steady voice, Churchill would deliver addresses to the British public that incited courage and resolve. Although Churchill did not publicly discuss his bipolar disorder or participate in advocacy work in the traditional sense, Churchill’s life is itself a testament. Although he indeed struggled with bipolar disorder, Churchill fought to overcome the disease. With the help of a support system, medical professionals, and his iron resolve, Churchill persisted in his leadership and strength throughout much of his life. Churchill is known less for his struggle with bipolar than he is for his leadership of England, and that in itself proves that those who struggle with mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder should certainly never be marginalized or ostracized.