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This discussion came up in the middle of the Tom Cruise thread and I thought the topic merited its own thread.

I'll admit that I'm a history and popular culture geek, so I might be talking to myself here, but:

People tend to throw out names of famous bipolar people all of the time. Some of these people are confirmed bipolar, some are just rumors. As for bipolars throughout history- it is obvious that most of these people were not diagnosed in their lifetime, but some have left more evidence of a probable diagnoses. The rest are pure conjecture and speculation.

For example:

Carrie Fisher, Mariette Hartley, Patty Duke Austin, Dick Cavett - all are confirmed bipolars - the info came straight from the horse's mouth. Can you think of any other people that have "come out"?

Jim Carey, Robin Williams - I keep seeing their names listed but I can't seem to find any evidence that they truly are, except for their manic stage personas. Could they be? Certainly. But so far it seems to be just rumors. Has anyone found any good evidence for either one?

Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, Lord Byron - Not truly diagnosed as bipolar during their lifetime, as far as I can tell, but each left ample evidence based on their own writing, their actions, and the written accounts of the people around them. When was manic-depression first identified, anyway? Does anyone have any information on this?

The same goes for Van Gogh, who was listed in the other thread as being schizophrenic. Most accounts that I have read have diagnosed him as being bipolar with possibly epilepsy. Van Gogh left a daily written account of his life. There is also written documentation from his brother and his physician, not to mention a traceable family history of incidents of mental illness.

But Joan of Arc? I'm thinking that is a stretch. First, because it was so freakin' long ago, and as anyone who has played telephone can tell you, information tends to get lost and altered along the way. I do think some primary source accounts of her life exist, however. Second, there is the conundrum- if you talk to God, you are praying. If God talks to you, you are crazy. Hmmmm. So God talks to her- is this extraordinary faith or just a chemical imbalance? It kind of depends on your opinion of religion, doesn't it?

Anyways, I've read a ton of stuff on this- the most obvious source being Kay Redfield Jamison's Touched with Fire. I'd really be interested to hear what fellow bipolars think about this topic.

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Oooo...this IS an interesting topic.  Well, from some of the signatures that I've seen on these loverly guys and dolls, Sylvia Plath.  Can't be too sure though.  Would have to check that one.

Elizabeth

Oh, I do believe Kurt Cobain was also BP. 

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at bipolarsupport.org they have  a pretty long list of people who are or are assumed to be bipolar. there are quite a few people on it. i have seen everyone listed that yall have mentioned. kurt cobains cousin or second cousin or something just recently came out that she is bipolar she is some sort of speaker and she talks about how it ran in the family. she says she didnt really know kurt so she doesnt say if he was or was not diagnosed but that it was in the family so very likely or something to that matter. i read it somewhere

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Famous People with Bipolar Disorder

 

Buzz Aldrin, astronaut

Shelley Beattie, athlete (bodybuilding, sailing), artist

Ned Beatty, actor

Maurice Benard, actor

Robert Boorstin, writer, special assistant to Pres. Clinton, State Department

Art Buchwald, writer, and humorist

Alohe Jean Burke (Ghafoor), musician, vocalist

Tim Burton, artist, movie director

Robert Campeau, financier (Canada)

Dick Cavett, writer, media personality

C.E. Chaffin, writer, poet

Rosemary Clooney, singer

Garnet Coleman, legislator (Texas)

Francis Ford Coppola, director

Patricia Cornwell, writer

John Daly, athlete (golf)

Ray Davies, musician

Lenny Dee, musician

Eric Douglas, actor

Kitty Dukakis, former First Lady of Massachusetts

Patty Duke (Anna Duke Pearce), actress, writer

Thomas Eagleton,

Attorney, former U.S. Senator

Robert Evans, film producer

Carrie Fisher, writer, actor

Larry Flynt, magazine publisher

Connie Francis, actress, musician

Kaye Gibbons, writer

Kit Gingrich, Newt's Mom

Shecky Greene, comedian, actor

Linda Hamilton, actress

Kristin Hersh, musician

Jack Irons, musician

Kay Redfield Jamison,

psychologist, writer

Daniel Johnston, musician

Margot Kidder, actress

Peter Nolan Lawrence,

writer (England)

Rika Lesser, writer, translator

Bill Lichtenstein, producer (TV & radio)

Jay Marvin, radio personality, writer

Kevin McDonald, comedian, actor

Kristy McNichol, actress

Dimitri Mihalas, scientist

Kate Millett, writer, artist

Spike Milligan, comic actor, writer

John Mulheren, financier (U.S.)

Robert Munsch, writer

Ilie Nastase, athlete (tennis), politician

Margo Orum, writer

Nicola Pagett, actress

Susan Panico (Susan Dime-Meenan), business executive

Jimmie Piersall, athlete (baseball), sports announcer

Charley Pride, musician

Mac Rebennack (Dr. John), musician

Jeannie C. Riley, musician

Lynn Rivers, U.S. Congress

Axl Rose, musician

Alonzo Spellman, athlete (football)

Muffin Spencer-Devlin, athlete (pro golf)

Gordon Sumner (Sting), musician, composer

Lili Taylor, actress

Jean-Claude Van Damme, athlete (martial arts), actor

Mark Vonnegut, doctor, writer

Sol Wachtler, judge, writer

Tom Waits, musician, composer

Brian Wilson, musician (Beach Boys), composer, arranger

Jonathan Winters, comedian, actor, writer, artist

From Bipolarinsights.com

 

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Oh, and add Beethoven.

What I don't get is how all these people handle this illness and their craft? I can imagine that before bipolar was "discovered" that they were labeled eccentric. And also, with all of BPs out there, you'd think there would be more first person books about bipolar. Any thoughts on any of this?

Sondra

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Joan of Arc (or Jean d'Arc as we call her over here) was a dilusional schitzophrenic.  Or maybe she did see god... who knows.

For the history buffs... this is the time of year that all the villages burn her effigy and have big parties.  Wierd, eh?  It's called 'le feu de St Jean' (St Joan's fire).  I think it's just to cover up the fact that it's also the time of year that the French got their butts collectively kicked at Waterloo.

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Yeah, this either really inspires you or really makes you feel inadequate, depending on how (when?) you look at it.

I think many of these people discovered their calling early and pursued it with incredible energy and single-mindedness.  Some were also willing to wreck their personal relationships in order to focus on their art.  It may not always be true that "The intellect of man is forced to choose/Perfection of the mind, or of the work", but if someone's coping skills are limited by illness, I bet it often is.  And some had long remissions.

It doesn't surprise me that there aren't more BP autobiographies.  Part of it is that the stigma used to be worse, and part is that, in remission or hypomania, you may want badly to believe that it's over and you've gotten away -- so why make that your life story?  Lyric poems, on the other hand, are usually about discrete moments. I think it would be less scary to write poems about madness, and in fact, there are lots of those.

"Where you are going, Professor, you won't need your Dante."

(I agree that posthumous diagnosis is really speculative.  In fact, the Washington Post has been running a series these last few days about misdiagnosis and over-diagnosis resulting from cultural misunderstanding.)

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"Where you are going, Professor, you won't need your Dante."

Where's this from?

(I agree that posthumous diagnosis is really speculative.  In fact, the Washington Post has been running a series these last few days about misdiagnosis and over-diagnosis resulting from cultural misunderstanding.)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Could you be more specific? I'm having trouble finding what exactly those disparities are.

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Read the quote from Sylvia Plath in my signature. If that isn't BP then I'm not sure what is! One moment she was on top of the world, writing frantically and with such creativity and "high" energy, the next she had her head in the oven and killed herself.

She's my idol though, and I think a great example of how our disease is capable of taking us to the heights and depths of human experience.

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"Tim Burton, artist, movie director"

Ok...this totally explains "The Nightmare Before Christmas"...hee he e hee

Of course, I did dress up as the oogie boogie man for halloween one year...and my sister made a great sally! LOLOL

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Peter Gabriel, just listen to his music and read the lyrics

Robert Schumann, composer

Robert Lowell, poet.

Falling Asleep over the Aeneid

The sun is blue and scarlet on my page,

And yuck-a, yuck-a, yuck-a, rage

The yellowhammers mating. Yellow fire

Blankets the captives dancing on the pyre,

And the scorched lictor screams and drops his rod.

Sounds pretty manic to me.

Kay Redfield-Jamison is not only BP but also one of the foremost researchers and authorities on BP. She holds an appointment professorship in psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University of Medicine even though she is a clinical psychologist. Her textbook Manic Depressive Illness co-authored by Frederick K. Goodwin is, or was when published in 1990, said to be the foremost texts on BP. Throughout the text book she includes many personal experiences and examples from a BP when  she is really talking about herself. Jamison is also the co-founder and formerly the Director of Affective Disorders Clinic at the University of California, LA.

Touched with Fire is a very good book, IMO. 

Erika

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An October 2004 study of approximately 134,000 VA patients concluded that, although schizophrenia occurs with equal frequency across ethnic groups, it is four times more likely to be diagnosed in blacks than whites, and three times more likely in Hispanics.  (I haven't read it.)  One possible explanation is that certain populations wait to get help until they're desperately sick.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...5062701496.html

The poem is Robert Lowell, "Visitors," from Day by Day.

On the posthumous dx ... some of it's lack of data or ambiguous symptoms, and some of it's lack of confidence about distinguishing hypomania from productive periods in the life of a driven person with highly recurrent unipolar depression.  If someone was a raging maniac, like Lowell, it's easy (not that he lacked a diagnosis); for Plath, whose life I don't know well (disclaimer!), it's harder.

Feel free to attribute some or all of the doubt to to my personal (intermittent) raging denial of the very existence of BP2.  How's that for a coping strategy?

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When was manic-depression first identified, anyway? Does anyone have any information on this?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

"Areteus, in the second century A.D., discussed "mania" as he described a group of euphoric patients who would "laugh, play, dance night and day, and sometimes go openly to the market crowned, as if victors in some contest of skill" only later to appear "torpid, dull and sorrowful." In 1686 Theophile Bonet coined the term, "manico-melancolicus', to denote the connection between mania and melancholia." 

from a 1992 booklet on BP.  Also has a short interesting section on early treatments.  The rest of it is very basic: symptoms, (modern)treatments etc, copy can be seen here:

http://www.mentalhealth.com/book/p40-ma01.html#Head_3

extracts from the same also appear here

http://www.bipolarsurvivor.com/origin.html

Haven't been able to source originals of either's work, yet.  Areteus seems to have also done some early work on diabetes.  Theophile Bonet appears to have been mostly into disections and anatomy.  He was from Geneva. 

Recent times:  the above pamphlet continues;

"It was not until the 1830's that two French physicians, Falret and Baillarger became the first to isolate and identify the symptoms of the disease Falret called "circular insanity." It is remarkable how Falret's description of symptoms and hereditary factors are so similar to descriptions found in present day books and journals. Falret even encouraged physicians to diversify medications used in the treatment of manic-depressive illness in the hopes that one of them might one day discover an effective drug therapy. It is to Emil Kraepelin (Germany, 1856-1926) that most credit goes for his painstakingly accurate and vivid descriptions of manic-depressive illness (1904)."

Only part-way through Burton's Anatomy (1621-51) right now, but if I come across anything that I can identify as BP/possible, I'll post it.  Found plenty of descrips of mania and depression but nothing tying them together yet, or if there is I've missed it.  Anyone else found anything in it? 

Hee hee, I've found myself a project!

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Kay Redfield Jamison, Touched with Fire, Free Press Paperpacks 1993, pp267-70

Appendix B

Writers, Artists and Composers with Probable Cyclothymia, Major

Depression, or Manic-Depressive Illness. 

"This is meant to be an illustrative rather than a comprehensive list; for systematic studies see text." 

[or as much of it(the appendix) as I can be bothered typing up right now.  Is a four page list, two columns, small print.  Buy the book!  Hell, buy multiple copies (we're good at that anyway, right?).  She also indicates which were hospitalized, had suicide attempts or did kill themselves.  It's not all of them!]

Poets:

Antonin Artaud

Konstantin Batyushkov

Charles Baudelaire

Thomas Lovell Beddoes

John Berryman

William Blake

Aleksandr Blok

Barcroft Boake

Louise Bogan

Rupert Brooke

Robert Burns

George Gordon, Lord Byron

THomas Campbell

Paul Celan

Thomas Chatterton

John Clare

Hartley Coleridge

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

William Collins

William Cowper

hart Crane

George Darley

John Davidson

Emily Dickinson

Ernest Dowson

T.S.Eliot

Sergey Esenin

Robert Fergusson

Afanasy Fet

Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea

Edward Fitzgerald

John Gould Fletcher

Gustaf Froding

Oliver Goldsmith

Adam Lindsay Gordon

Thomas Gray

Nikolai Gumilyov

Robert Stephen Hawker

Friedrich Holderlin

Gerald Manley Hopkins

Victor Hugo

Randall Jarrell

Samuel Johnson

John Keats

Henry Kendall

Velimir Khlebnikov

Heinrich Von Kleist

Walter Savage Landor

Nikolaus Lenau

J.M.R. Lenz

Mikhail Lermontov

Vachel Lindsay

James Russell Lowell

Robert Lowell

Hugh MacDiarmid

Louis MacNeice

Osip Mandelstam

James Clarence Mangan

Vladimir Mayakovsky

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Alfred de Musset

Gerard de Nerval

Boris Pasternak

Cesare Pavese

Sylvia Plath

Edgar Allan Poe

Ezra Pound

Alexander Pushkin

Laura Riding

THeodore Roethke

Delmore Schwartz

Anne Sexton

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Christopher Smart

Torquato Tasso

Sara Teasdale

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Dylan THomas

Edward THomas

Francis Thompson

Georg Trakl

Marina Tsvetayeva

Walt Whitman

from K R Jamison, Touched with Fire.  Not all of above are bipolar- see top. 

I'll maybe type up writers, composers and artists later.  Time for dinner now. 

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An October 2004 study of approximately 134,000 VA patients concluded that, although schizophrenia occurs with equal frequency across ethnic groups, it is four times more likely to be diagnosed in blacks than whites, and three times more likely in Hispanics.  (I haven't read it.)  One possible explanation is that certain populations wait to get help until they're desperately sick.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...5062701496.html

The poem is Robert Lowell, "Visitors," from Day by Day.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Thank you. Something tells me that this woman's psychiatrist would have been bad with anybody.

Carl Bell, a Chicago psychiatrist, said he once went through the medical records of minority patients at Jackson Park Hospital in Chicago and found many misdiagnoses. One 30-year-old woman was talking fast, was calling people at all hours and did not seem to need sleep -- classic symptoms of bipolar disorder, or manic-depression. But her charts showed she had been hospitalized for schizophrenia and treated with injectable medications, which suggested that her doctors thought her schizophrenia was particularly severe.

"How does a woman with a college education, a job . . . she has euphoria, pressured speech, decreased need for sleep -- how do you get schizophrenia, chronic schizophrenia?" asked Bell, still incredulous.

Having multilingual psychiatrists for patients who didn't grow up speaking English is good idea, as is not overrelying on presence or absence of eye contact.

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The poem is Robert Lowell, "Visitors," from Day by Day.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Sorry for any error. My Oxford Book of American Verse had it titled as I posted. I am far from any expert on American verse.

Erika

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