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Bipolar and celebrities

Discussion in 'Mental Health Disorders' started by Crue-K, Apr 19, 2011.

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  1. Crue-K

    Crue-K Well-Known Member

    Raising awareness and dispelling the myths/stigma of mental health can only be a good thing. People can finally be made aware that those of us with serious mental health conditions are not violent maniacs. However, a worrying trend seems to be emerging, people are going to see their GP's claiming they have bipolar and reel of a list of symptoms like they are reciting wikipedia. With celeb's like Catherine Zeta Jones or Charlie Sheen who has been diagnosed at the age of 40+!!!!, I wonder why it has taken them so long to be diagnosed, if she is indeed bipolar of which I am sceptical. Everyone I know with Bipolar were diagnosed in their late teens to mid twenties, and it was usually after they were made aware of their behaviour by a third party rather than presenting themselves to thei GP. The more often people claim to be Bipolar (or other conditions) it seems to trivialise the struggle that real people with Bipolar face. Their is nothing cool or trendy about being Bipolar, it's a pain in the ass. High premiums for life or travel insurance, suspended driving license for periods of 3 months at a time, relationship problems, daily meds for life and of course suicide.

    When I was diagnosed back in 1992, I considered myself one of the fragile elite but no know I am just part of the lunatic fringe.

    This of course is just my humble opinion which many may not agree with, and they of course are entitled to their opinions.
  2. aoeu

    aoeu Well-Known Member

    I know multiple people diagnosed late in life. It happens... It often happens that their diagnosis of treatment resistant depression (a bullshit disease, I'm pretty sure it's synonymous with "bipolar without having an identified manic phase") is FINALLY reworked, for example my mother at 52.

    Also, I diagnosed myself from Wikipedia after reading about my brother's condition; my psychiatrist agreed and treatment improved. I ultimately found a cure through a neuroscience blog, rather than through a doctor's help, after meds didn't help much. -_-

    Things don't always work out the way they're supposed to.

    And I suspect a lot of celebrities have it given the improved productivity and creativity associated with it, and the self-damaging behaviours common to celebrities.
  3. ~Claire

    ~Claire Well-Known Member

    I'm not Bipolar but I agree with a lot of what you're saying Graham. It's a double edged sword. I read an article a few months ago which spoke about mental health problems being glamourised by celebrities & as a result teenagers were falling over each other to get diagnosed with something.

    I don't understand why some people are so desperate to have a label pinned on them. I know being diagnosed with a mental health problem isn't a life sentence but for many of us it feels like it. There is certainly nothing cool or glamourous about it, not when you're having to live it every day.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 19, 2011
  4. Crue-K

    Crue-K Well-Known Member

    Taking Catherine Zeta Jones as an example again, how many people do you know with bipolar that spends just 5 days in hospital after an episode? At my last group meeting (MDF) we discussed this and we all agreed that 5 days is not long enough to address an episode. The shortest spell I have ever had was 25 days after a manic episode.
  5. Underground

    Underground Well-Known Member

    I'm not bipolar myself, but I have always agreed with this. It has actually become fairly trendy for teenage girls to think they may have bipolar disorder or even want it. I noticed it was especially the case when Stacey Slater in EastEnders was diagnosed with it. Too many people have the misconception that it's just a condition where you are either really depressed or really hyper/happy (which isn't the same as mania, which includes psychosis, etc), so they think if they get hyper, they're automatically bipolar.

    That being said, which form of bipolar are these celebs being diagnosed with? I know I is the severe form, but there is a less severe form (II) which only 'requires' one hypomanic episode, but not full blown mania or psychosis, which may be why it's getting diagnosed more often?
  6. aoeu

    aoeu Well-Known Member

    If it's requiring hospitalization it's probably I, but a celebrity hitting up a hospital for an agitation hypomania and getting out in 5 days doesn't seem unreasonable to me.

    I would expect that you couldn't become a celebrity if you experienced eumanic episodes, or at least not a very long lasting one.

    Also II is a tricky one to catch, I think, especially since many health care professionals (at least in my experience) are willing to view periods of happiness and energy as breaks from depression rather than separate occurrences (while psychosis is pretty clearly a separate thing.)
  7. Mr Stewart

    Mr Stewart Well-Known Member

    The glamourization is a concern, certainly. Clogs up the medical institution with healthy people looking for excuses, deemphasizes severity of the actual illness in public perception. Irritating to hear.

    My oldest brother made a blog post recently claiming he thinks he has some aspect of Asperger's syndrome. The man is 39 years old, happily married with two healthy children, has a host of friends, is completely comfortable in social situations and will make eye contact when you talk to him. Seeing him write that, it's just... it's disrespectful. People with autism struggle terribly to function in society. They don't need the extra burden of people thinking their problems are neat or desirable.
  8. wild rabbit

    wild rabbit Well-Known Member

    phew!! I felt the same way but its almost naughty to challenge out loud. I think America treat bipolar as a bit of a trendy thing at the miinute, with all the different degrees of bipolar. My shrink calls it bipolar affective disorder, and according to the diagnositic manual I would be classed as bipolar 1. So i dont know, but i get a bit pissed off when someone like CZJ gets in and out of a plush unit in 5 days when it takes me weeks in the nhs dumps. Its like Im failing at recovering, despite working, being a mum myself and doing my best.

    there is an increased use of the bipolar spectrum disorder diagnosis, which has bipolar 1 at one end and EUPD at the other. perhaps many of these celebs fall somewhere on that, but not neccessarily bipolar 1 or 2 ?

    i dunno, i just think its a fashion statement like a teacup dog in a bag.

    maybe not, but all the drugs and diet phases may trigger people in later life? Who knows, i just wish they were a bit more honest about the impact, so people with severe illnesses didnt feel such failures. So good on bill oddie and frank bruno, and even gazza, who let the world know their life is in pieces.
  9. wheresmysheep

    wheresmysheep Staff Alumni

    This is what held me back from getting a diagnosis and also pushing for help stronger, i thought i was having "breaks" from depression when i was manic. but i did class it as bipolar, i just didnt know it could be THAT extreme for me personally.
  10. aoeu

    aoeu Well-Known Member

    Oh, right. Acute mania (within first 2 weeks) can be brought to a halt with 3 days of dark therapy. 5 in hospital is plenty if done right ;)
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