There is a growing number of celebrities who are stepping forward to open up about their struggles with mental illnesses like anxiety disorder, depression and bipolar disorder. Such an act of bravery has multiple benefits. For one, it chips away at the social stigma surrounding mental illness and makes discussing the issue less taboo. It also demonstrates that having a mental illness does not block one from achieving success. This is particularly true with regards to depression and anxiety disorder.
However, there has been a less frequently discussed benefit from the growing openness of celebrities like Demi Lovato and Mariah Carey, who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and it’s that their openness about receiving treatment for their disease combats the misconception that it enhances the brilliance of an artist. Even more destructive is the misconception that one’s art can suffer if steps are taken to manage or treat such an illness. While it is true that studies have shown that there is a genetic link between those who are predisposed to pursue a creative path and those who have from bipolar disorder, neither is conditional upon the other. Having bipolar disorder does not make you creative and being creative does not mean that you have bipolar disorder.
Believing the contrary is arguably one of the most dangerous misconceptions surrounding mental illness because it has the potential to cause a lot of damage. When an individual with bipolar disorder does not receive treatment, they experience the full gravity of the disease, which can cause patients to act in a dangerous manner. In fact, it presents the highest risk of suicide among psychiatric disorders. Needless to say, the consequences of forgoing treatment can be severe.
This is why it is important for celebrities within the arts to step forward and become more open about the importance of seeking treatment for bipolar disorder. Their success in their chosen artistic fields proves that one can continue to thrive creatively when properly medicated. The two are not mutually exclusive.
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