Celebrity Bipolar in 2012 #celebritybipolar #Zeta-Jones

I started this site with the idea in mind that I could persuade everyone that there is no need for a medical diagnosis called, ‘Bipolar Disorder’. I was hoping that I could have the label removed from the front of my medical records such that I could have support and treatment for the troubles I really face, day after day. Unfortunately the bipolar label is very sticky and no matter how many experts I meet with who agree that I do not have bipolar disorder, I cannot be unlabelled at this time.

Why do I dislike the label so much?

Right at this moment I most dislike being called bipolar because it is such a misleading term. Unless people know what the poles are then bipolar is a rubbish idea.

With so many celebrities now accepting the bipolar label we might all hope that things will start to become clearer. Unfortunately this has is not happening. Celebrity experiences of bipolar have little in common with the majority of sufferers. This is not the fault of the celebrities, as I know they struggle too. It is just that when you have plenty of money and support from friends and family it is a lot easier to cope and recover. Most of us with the label struggle to find support or to afford private treatments.

Today you can read this in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

“A third of people with bipolar have attempted suicide, and the suicide rate is nearly 20 times higher than normal. It is classed as a severe, enduring mental illness, and for many of my patients, it dogs their lives. They take medication every day, they battle with the side effects of the drugs, and with the impact of their condition on their careers and personal lives. Can you imagine how a boss might react when told that someone needs weeks or even months to recover from a relapse, when it appeared to take Ms Zeta-Jones not much more than a long weekend?”

It is a short article. I highly recommend reading it all here… Celebrity Bipolar in 2012

Giving people choices

Giving people choices is mainly what this whole web site is about.

If you do not yet have a bipolar diagnosis then you have a choice of trying to get the diagnosis or avoiding it. It may sound strange that people want to be diagnosed. The thing is that when we get desperate it can seem that almost any diagnosis is better than having one professional after another look at you and say, “We have no idea what is wrong with you.” Or “We cannot understand why that medication didn’t work for you. Let’s try this new one.”

There are only so many times you can hear this before you want someone to say they know what is wrong and that they have a plan for you.  A Community Psychiatric Nurse told me, “If you are going to get a mental health diagnosis then the best one to have is bipolar disorder.” I suspect this was not an official view, but certainly it is a common view when looking at a choice between; bipolar, schizophrenia or borderline personality disorder. Bipolar disorder has a lot of stigma attached but nothing like those other illnesses. I interviewed a man who had been physically attacked when his neighbours discovered that he had a schizophrenia diagnosis. Fortunately this does not seem to happen with bipolar (well I have not heard of it in the UK)

In the media we see many examples of rich and famous people who:

  • have been diagnosed with bipolar
  • are said to have bipolar disorder even though they have no such diagnosis
  • and some who may say they are a bipolar type of person with little evidence of any disorder

A lot of these people seem to be doing OK. Even those who struggled for a while often seem to be doing okay again. All this celebrity bipolar can make it seem like an OK thing to have. I am hearing, “Bipolar, that is the latest celebrity ‘must have’.”

The biggest impact of seeing bipolar celebrities is likely to be on young people who are yet to see close up how awful it can be for those who have been diagnosed. Very few people are lucky enough to be diagnosed and then be able to claim to have ‘Bipolar Lite’ – the variety that gives you the creative, energetic, humorous edge with not so many of the dark days and destructive flings. Stephen Fry must be one of the most famous bipolar people. He is open and honest about having problems however, what most of us see is the cheerful confident and competent Stephen. It is not his fault but it all adds to the illusion (or delusion) that bipolar is not so bad and a diagnosis could be a way to a better life for those who have struggled with depression and changeable moods.

If you have avoided the diagnosis so far, you have a choice, you can start finding out how people control their moods. Start talking to people who have been through the bipolar thing and come out the other side. How did they eliminate their disorder? If they have also eliminated their diagnosis, how did they do this? What they did will give you clues for avoiding the diagnosis in the first place.