“Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me.”
Millions of people around the world deal with bipolar disorder every day — and the people around them may not even know. The mental health condition is characterized by periods of extreme emotional highs and depressive lows that can affect everything from judgment, behavior, and sleep patterns to the ability to simply think clearly. These episodes can occur rarely or multiple times a year and are certainly a tough thing to experience.
Although it can be difficult to discuss, several celebrities have gotten extremely candid about their diagnosis. While dealing with mental health issues can be complicated, these stars hope that by sharing their story, they can break the stigma surrounding bipolar disorder.
Here’s what these celebrities had to share about their diagnosis…
Selena Gomez recently got incredibly candid about her mental health struggles in her documentary, “My Mind and Me.” In the film, she opened up about getting diagnosed with bipolar disorder several years ago following a terrifying episode of psychosis. In an effort to treat the condition, Selena says she was put on a variety of medications that left her feeling “gone.” She was eventually able to get help from another psychiatrist who allowed her to “detox” narrowing her treatment down to just two medications. Even then, she says it was hard work to return to her true self and accept her diagnosis.
“When I first got out, I didn’t know how I’d cope with my diagnosis. What if it happened again? What if the next time, I couldn’t come back? I needed to keep learning about it. I needed to take it day by day,” Selena shared in the documentary.
In 2018, Mariah Carey shared for the first time that she had been diagnosed with bipolar II disorder almost two decades prior. Mariah says she learned about the condition in 2001 after being hospitalized for a physical and mental breakdown. For many years, she admits she avoided treatment but finally took control after experiencing “the hardest couple of years” she’d ever been through. She is now in therapy and taking medication.
“Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me. It was too heavy a burden to carry and I simply couldn’t do that anymore. I sought and received treatment, I put positive people around me and I got back to doing what I love — writing songs and making music,” Mariah told People.
Before Carrie Fisher’s passing, she was incredibly open about her mental health struggles. When she was just 24, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, although she admits it took an overdose several years later for her to come to terms with the condition. While speaking about coping with bipolar disorder, she often stressed the importance of finding a community of people who faced a similar struggle. In her book, “Wishful Drinking,” she encouraged others with the same diagnosis to be proud of how far they’ve come.
“Being bipolar can be an all-consuming challenge, requiring a lot of stamina and even more courage, so if you’re living with this illness and functioning at all, it’s something to be proud of, not ashamed of,” Carrie wrote.
Following a stay at a mental health facility in 2011, Catherine Zeta-Jones shared that she had bipolar II disorder. Although it was something she had been dealing with for quite some time, she says the condition was particularly triggered by her husband Michael Douglas’ cancer diagnosis. While she never planned on being open about dealing with her struggle, she hoped her honesty could help other people.
“I never wanted to be as open about it as I was. I have a British stiff-upper-lip mentality — it wasn’t something I wanted to shout from the rooftops. But when it did come to light, I know I’m not the only person who suffers with it or has to deal with it on a day-to-day basis. So if I’ve helped anybody by discussing bipolar or depression, that’s great,” she told The Telegraph.
David Harbour was 25 years old when he was diagnosed as bipolar after suffering a manic episode. At the time, David says he was sober and had a “bit of a break” in which he thought he was “in connection to some sort of god.” His parents helped him check into a treatment center where he was diagnosed and given medication that has helped him manage the condition. By sharing his story, he hopes that others can see that it’s possible to persevere, despite struggling with their mental health.
“If you’re a kid and you like, you know, live in Oklahoma and you’re 10 years old and you just got diagnosed with OCD or ADHD or, you know, bipolar, I want you to know that, like, you know, you can be a powerful, strong, successful — even a strong cultural voice in this world with this, you know, label attached to you. It doesn’t define you, and it’s certainly not a death sentence,” David told NPR.
When Halsey was 17, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which she says causes her to swing between manic highs and depressive lows. While Halsey is open about her mental health struggles, she admits she was committed to a psychiatric hospital twice without any fans even knowing. She says she did so in order to get ahead of the manic-depressive periods.
“I’ve been committed twice since [I became] Halsey, and no one’s known about it. But I’m not ashamed of talking about it now. It’s been my choice. I’ve said to [my manager], ‘Hey, I’m not going to do anything bad right now, but I’m getting to the point where I’m scared that I might, so I need to go figure this out.’ It’s still happening in my body. I just know when to get in front of it,” Halsey told Rolling Stone.
Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was in his 20s after spending time trying to self-medicate the condition. Now Pete says he finds balance through having a specific schedule and living with “purpose.”
“Living with purpose and having a schedule with my family has brought me balance. I think it can be different for everyone, but for me, just being able to talk through things, meditate and exercise has been helpful,” Pete shared with People.