Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that affects 2-3% of the population. In addition to intense mood swings, these individuals often find that the road less taken is the path they follow. Manic-depression, as it was formerly called, is rooted in a chemical imbalance within the individual. Diagnosis often comes late in life because symptoms usually do not become obvious until the person reaches their twenties. Although many negative consequences often accompany much of the behaviour associated with the mental disorder, the following individuals have channeled their positive talents to contribute to society in a distinct and unique way.
People who have been diagnosed as manic-depressive usually don’t advertise their situation. Psychology has advanced much since the theories of Dr. Sigmund Freud, circa 1923, but public understanding and acceptance lags another century behind. The social stigma attached is notorious, and to be avoided if possible. However, that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong, but I am probably not. Consequently, I don’t tell many people that I have bipolar disorder.

The following people are bipolar too. Either they have publicly acknowledged that they “suffer” from bipolar disorder, or they have been “labeled” as such, due to behaviours documented during their lifetimes.

~Shawn Colvin~ singer

~Robert Downey, Jr.~ actor

~Ted Turner~ media mogul

~Peter Gabriel~ musician

~Danny Bonaduce~ actor, radio celebrity

~Jane Pauley~ news personality

~Maurice Benard~ soap actor

~Ozzy Osbourne~ musician

~Winston Churchill~ statesman

~Rosemary Clooney~ singer

~Sheryl Crow~ singer, songwriter

~Patty Duke~ actress

~Carrie Fisher~ actress

~Thomas Jefferson~ statesman

~Jimi Hendrix~ musician

(Hendrix is included because of my observations of his life and death. In researching on the Internet, I mostly base my suspicion on his lyrics to “Manic-Depression,” which could be a public acknowledgment.)

~Kurt Cobain~ (ditto Hendrix)

~Margot Kidder~ actress

~Abraham Lincoln~ statesman

~Buzz Aldrin~ astronaut

~Kristi McNichol~ actress, animal activist

~James K. Polk~ statesman

~Margaux Hemmingway~ actress

~Phil Specter~ music mogul

~Ray Davies (Kinks)~ musician

~Ben Stiller~ actor, comedian

~Tracey Ullman~ actress, comedienne

~Robin Williams~ actor, comedian
(NOT able to verify with a primary source; based on my observation only)

~Gordon Sumner (Sting) ~ musician, activist

~Jean-Claude Van Damme~ athlete, actor

~Brian Wilson (Beach Boys)~ musician

~Virginia Wolf~ writer

~Francis Ford Coppola~ director

The vast majority of literature printed on bipolar disorder reflects the socio-psycho-logical-medical-esque-ness of this biochemical mental aberration. Many diagnosed bipolars have manipulated this “dysfunction” so that they have made distinctly creative contributions to society.

Stories of success, as portrayed by these noteworthy bipolars, can be found. This high level of achievement isn’t necessarily the norm. The public is more aware of manic-depression as associated with some horrendous behaviour.

A scholarly presentation, Touched with Fire by Kay Redfield Jamison, is a good detailed read about literary, and artistic individuals, of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, who suffered from now identifiable mental disorders. Information on bipolars and schizophrenics is included.

The web site lists more detailed biographical information.
~Dick Cavett~ media mogul

~Earl Simmons (DMX)~ musician, actor

~Larry Flynt~ entertainment mogul

~Kitty Dukakis~ statesman’s wife

~Tony Orlando~ musician

~Connie Francis~ singer

~Kevin McDonald~ comedian, actor

~Linda Hamilton~ actress

~Mariette Hartley~ actress

~Burgess Meredith~ actor

~Sylvia Plath~ writer

~Charley Pride~ musician

~Axl Rose~ musician

~Ned Beatty~ actor

~Robert Boorstin~ statesman

~Art Buchwald~ writer

~Alohe Jean Burke (Ghafoor)~ musician

~Tim Burton~ movie producer, director

~Robert Campeau~ Canadian financier

~Lisa Nicole Carson~ actress

~C E Chaffin~ writer

~Garnet Coleman~ statesman

~Patricia Cornwell~ writer

~John Daly~ athlete

~Lenny Dee~ musician

~Bill Lichtenstein~ TV and radio producer

~Jay Marvin~ radio personality, writer

~Eric Douglas~ actor

~Thomas Eagleton~ statesman

~Margot Early~ writer

~Robert Evans~ film producer

~Stephen Fry~ actor, author, comedian

~Kit Gingrich~ statesman’s mother

~Stuart Goddard (Adam Ant)~ musician

~Shecky Greene~ comedian, actor

~Kristin Hersh~ musician

~Jack Irons~ musician

~Kay Redfield Jamison~ writer

~Daniel Johnston~ musician

~Peter Nolan Lawrence~ English writer

~Rika Lesser~ writer, translator

~Dimitri Mihalas~ scientist
Individuals with bipolar disorder are more likely to die by their own hand. If you or someone you know has lots of highs and lows, extremely happy or extremely depressed, sometimes simultaneously, they too could find their lives more stable by seeking medical assistance and medication. More info is available at

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