everybody is bipolar!

First I thought all the lists of bipolar celebrities and artists and composers and so on were great. They made me feel a bit better about the diagnosis, some sort of reflected shine. Then I began to wonder about the dead ones.

I read a decent rebuttal, but in the final paragraph, it screwed up completely.

Many famous figures like Beethoven and Hemmingway are said to have had bipolar disorder. However, modern diagnosis of bipolar was not available until the 20th century so these claims are estimates.

If you don’t get it, read it again.

Anyway it’s correct in essence; the post mortem diagnoses are guesses. End of.

There’s a bipolar mafia somewhere, sitting round a boardroom table. Every so often, someone mentions a name. Napoleon? The others nod gleefully, citing manic this and depressed that and they add him to the list. Jesus? Beethoven? Santa? Yeah, that bastard is hypomanic at Christmas and sulks for the rest of the year. Bipolar 2 without a doubt. People even describe the weather as bipolar these days.

You’re bipolar! You’re bipolar! Everybody gets to be BIPOLARRRRRRR!


Oh man it’s so exciting and now we’re all part of the disturbed genius tortured artist club and it’s just great and … wait … oh fuck … that’s a delusion of grandeur right there. But yeah, identify with that and then go swallow your pills and take all that edge away and … oh great, another crash, juuust what bipolar people need.

If you’re willing to accept creativity without drama, read this. And then have a little think about the creative world of the 21st century. By and large, the artists and writers and musicians and so on who are doing well and making money are the ones who are shrewd business people and marketeers. There’s a van Gogh pun there somewhere.

Nobody is going to discover your genius on the streets; Warhol and Basquiat are dead. You have to pimp yourself harder than ever now, the Internet is seething with competition and everybody got their 15 minutes.

If you want immortality rather than fame and acclaim, you may as well chop your ear off and paint your madness. What is the sense in making Kurt Cobain into a bipolar icon, if you’re then saying don’t be like Kurt, take these nice meds?

We have enough bipolar celebs to idolise if that’s your thing, to advocate for us if that’s their thing. There are fantastic bipolar authors teaching us stuff and we have the internet so we can overthrow the regime and take over the world talk to each other and figure stuff out.

All the speculation about dead manic depressives can be fun, but take your goddamn meds and be yourself, mkay?


Published by


battlescarred, bright, bewildered, bent, blue & bipolar

14 thoughts on “everybody is bipolar!”

  1. Another great post.
    It is also worth noting that a modern diagnosis of bipolar is primarily related to a cluster of symptoms and the way you respond to medication. We still don’t understand the brain fully. I have found a lot of similarities between my experiences and those of someone with temporal lobe epilepsy and would not be surprised if some signalling dysfunctions or whatever were similar. In the end it is not the label but the experience that we can relate to those long dead poets, artists, heroes and madmen who fell outside *normal* mental health. The role for celebrities, if there is one, is to speak and advocate against the stigma of mental illness.


    1. Very good point. I started reading a bit about bipolar criminals after your comments on the other post btw. Do you have any favourite manic depressives? (Incidentally, I had an eeg, a sleep deprived eeg and an mri to rule out tle.)


      1. I was diagnosed in hospital during a severe manic psychosis. Bipolar folk don’t always seek out help and can hide for a long time. It was some ugly scene at home that finally led to my ambulance trip to diagnosis. I had scans and eeg but when you are that psychotic (I found out later) they spend a lot of time talking to you (you know with the one way mirror and all) to distinguish between bipolar and schizophrenia. What the psych is listening for is logical connections. A bipolar person is very logical even if their thoughts are off the wall – it is a mood disorder. A person with schizophrenia has disordered or disconnected thoughts. Of course some people may have both and end up with schizo-affective dx. It would be much easier if one could just do a blood test.

        I don’t think I have a favourite manic depressive, but I am amazed how many people I admire struggled with anxiety and mood disorders.


        1. You’re a mine of interesting info. I’d def read your memoirs. I usually have no idea wtf I even think about stuff around bipolar till I’ve blogged it. I don’t have a favourite manic depressive either tbh. Or if I do then they’re the people whose stories I read in books and blogs.


          1. I have spent a lot of time since I was diagnosed trying to educate and advocate for people with mental illness. That’s why it is so humbling to have missed the signs that I was falling apart again myself when I think I secretly thought I had won the battle.
            No memoirs though, I am too private. Since my original breakdown and then my transition I have found it very difficult to be honest with anyone new. I share but very carefully.


  2. It’s amazing to me how often bipolar and borderline are diagnosed as each other, being that it can be so hard to diagnose living folk who are able to respond and what not, i dare say it’s darn tricky to diagnose super dead people. interesting post!


    1. Yeah! And considering it takes an average of 12 years to get a bipolar diagnosis, it seems even more silly to be slapping the label on corpses so much. Thanks for the visit and the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I like this a lot! Although I am an Interior Designer and musician… So I guess I can’t say for sure that we aren’t all artists!
    I began thinking at some point, so what? I’m creative and so was Mozart…I’m not going to be a freaking famous interior designer right? What does it matter if I’m a bipolar mess? Why do people always say, ‘but your so creative and that could be part of your diagnosis?’
    Aren’t there people out there who are bipolar and they are just accountants or receptionists or some other kind of ‘non-creative’ title?
    But I like the way you wrote this. Thanks!


    1. Haha of course some of us are artists :) when I’m working, I do seriously uncreative stuff and like you said – so what. Thanks for visiting and commenting.


  4. I don’t want to be famous. I just want something that goes inside my “genius, creative” brain and says “shhhhh.”


  5. I hate the fucking bipolar/suicide bandwagon. Darby Crash of The Germs made it fashionable in the punk scene some many years ago. Edie Sedgwick in the elitist artfuck scene. Sometimes I feel like being bipolar and having tried to kill myself is so pedestrian.

    Your writing is great. I want to write a post with you.


comment or the dragon will toast you

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s