Famous women with bipolar disorder describe their illness, in words both haunting and hopeful. This list encompasses writers, actresses and musicians — creative, intelligent, intense people.
According to a study reported in 2013, the mental processes of more creative people involve more stimuli than those of less creative people.
In their own words, the following women offer a glimpse into the strain of their over-saturated mental processes and, in some cases, how they adapted.
1) Virginia Woolf, 1882 - 1941, Writer, Feminist, Publisher
“My own brain is to me the most unaccountable of machinery - always buzzing, humming, soaring roaring diving, and then buried in mud. And why? What's this passion for?”
2) Vivian Leigh, 1913 - 1967, Actress
Most famous for playing Scarlett O'Hara in “Gone with the Wind,” Vivian Leigh lived in a time when few options for treatment existed. In an era when actresses fiercely protected their reputation, Leigh did not speak publicly about manic depression, as it was then called, but her husband, actor Laurence Olivier did.
Olivier wrote in his memoir, “Throughout her possession by that uncannily evil monster, manic depression, with its deadly ever-tightening spirals, she retained her own individual canniness – an ability to disguise her true mental condition from almost all except me, for whom she could hardly be expected to take the trouble.”
- from “Confessions of an Actor: Laurence Olivier an Autobiography”
3) Catherine Zeta-Jones, Actress
Zeta-Jones told "InStyle Magazine" in 2012, “I’m not the kind of person who likes to shout out my personal issues from the rooftops, but with my bipolar becoming public, I hope fellow sufferers will know it's completely controllable. I hope I can help remove any stigma attached to it, and that those who don't have it under control will seek help with all that is available to treat it.”