7 Stars Who've Opened Up About Living with Bipolar Disorder
Two months after releasing his latest solo album YE, on which he confirmed he is bipolar, calling it his "superpower," West spoke candidly about how the condition affects his life, in an interview with Jimmy Kimmel.
"... Even for this interview, I knew I wanted to stay in a calm state because by the time I got to TMZ I was ramped up," he said, referencing the explosive interview he gave in May 2018, in which he infamously suggested that slavery is “a choice.”
While the interview generated its fair share of backlash, West went on to say that "what was awesome [about the interview] is that the world got to really experience someone in a ramped up state, and that’s when you get these comments that just shout out, almost like turrets."
“There’s some cases of bipolar where people go low, I’m one that goes high,” West explained, before adding that he doesn’t have extreme periods of depression.
After experiencing a manic episode at the age of 25, the Stranger Things actor was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The star told Marc Maron on his WTF podcast that he believes his mental health is tied to his early preoccupation with spirituality. “I really had like, a bit of a break where I thought I was in connection to some sort of God that I wasn’t really in connection to,” Harbour, who also spent time in a mental asylum, continued. “It was like I had all the answers suddenly.”
He added: “The funny thing about my particular brain or mental illness is every time that I’ve had an episode like that, it’s always coupled with spirituality,” he said. “Generally, people are like, ‘I need to meditate more’ or ‘I need to get into yoga.’ And I need to like, eat a cheeseburger and just like, smoke cigarettes and hang out.”
It took Carey nearly two decades to get to a place where she felt comfortable speaking out about her 2001 bipolar disorder diagnosis. “I didn’t want to believe it,” she told PEOPLE of the initial diagnosis. She ultimately decided to seek treatment after a difficult few years. “Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me,” she says. “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.”
Zeta-Jones’ battle with bipolar II disorder came to light just as husband Michael Douglas was finishing treatment for throat cancer. But for Zeta-Jones, the diagnosis offered some long sought-for clarity. “Finding out that it was called something was the best thing that ever happened to me!” she told Good Housekeeping. “The fact that there was a name for my emotions and that a professional could talk me through my symptoms was very liberating. There are amazing highs and very low lows. My goal is to be consistently in the middle.”
From a young age, those around Brand suspected he may be bipolar. But it took years until he was diagnosed, during many of which he struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction. Today, he’s been sober for nearly 15 years, and credits his own personalized 12-step program in helping him stay healthy. “[Now] I don’t struggle with [addictive] urges because the program I live by helps me to remain serene and prevents those urges from arriving,” Brand told PEOPLE about his experience with addiction. “If I feel those urges — even though I don’t feel them so often because I’m working the program — I talk to other people and I do stuff for other people and I meditate and pray. There’s a whole sort of series put in place for when I feel those urges.”
Before her death in 2016, Fisher was one of the most visible advocates for bipolar disorder, and spoke candidly about her own experience with the mental illness. “A manic phase is not predictable,” Fisher said of her own experience, according to USA Today. “The last time, I hacked off my hair, got a tattoo, and wanted to convert to Judaism.”
Lovato was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 22 years old during a stay in rehab, after years of being mistakenly diagnosed with depression. Years later, she’s been an outspoken advocate for those dealing with mental illness. “I remember sitting with my manager and my family and talking to them about whether or not to speak out about the issues that I was dealing with,” Lovato told Women’s Health in 2015. “I knew that there were two options: I could either not talk about my stint in rehab and hope that it went away, or I could talk about it and inspire people to get help for their issues, as well, so that’s exactly what I did.”