Francis reports that a biopic about her life is
“The script is done and set to shoot later this
year,” she says.
“I collaborated with Gloria Estefan, who’s going
to portray me in the film.”
In the meantime, Francis, now age 69 - who has
survived four divorces, bipolar disorder and a
rape - maintains a busy schedule of concerts and
says she always includes audience favorites, like
her hit “Who’s Sorry Now.”
Scott's Personality Parade, Parade.com March 23,
2008; Image from the Connie Francis album The
Italian Collection, Vol. 1]
recorded her first single at 16, but it was the
1958 recording of "Who's Sorry Now?" that rocketed
her to stardom, just when she was thinking of
giving up show business (she had accepted a
pre-med scholarship at New York University).
In 1974, following a performance, Connie was the
victim of a brutal terrorizing rape in her hotel
room. She was unable to perform for many years
afterward, and a couple years after she finally
resumed touring in 1981 she was diagnosed as being
It was revealed at this time that she had been
addicted to pills for perhaps as long as 25 years,
reportedly from being given uppers and downers to
perform and sleep early, similar to what happened
to Judy Garland.
She is said to have undergone shock treatments
which were helpful. In 1991 she suffered a
collapse due to lithium toxicity, but at last
report she is still giving the occasional concert,
and retrospective albums continue to be released,
delighting legions of adoring fans.
Francis - Singer / Actress, by Kimberly Read
& Marcia Purse, About.com.
~ ~ ~
the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?
disorder causes dramatic mood swings—from overly
"high" and/or irritable to sad and hopeless, and
then back again, often with periods of normal
mood in between. Severe changes in energy and
behavior go along with these changes in mood.
The periods of highs and lows are called
episodes of mania and depression.
symptoms of mania (or a manic episode) include:
Increased energy, activity, and restlessness
Excessively "high," overly good, euphoric mood
Racing thoughts and talking very fast, jumping
from one idea to another
Distractibility, can't concentrate well
Little sleep needed
Unrealistic beliefs in one's abilities and
A lasting period of behavior that is different
Increased sexual drive
Abuse of drugs, particularly cocaine, alcohol,
and sleeping medications
Provocative, intrusive, or aggressive behavior
Denial that anything is wrong
episode is diagnosed if elevated mood occurs
with 3 or more of the other symptoms most of the
day, nearly every day, for 1 week or longer. If
the mood is irritable, 4 additional symptoms
must be present...
A mild to
moderate level of mania is called hypomania.
Hypomania may feel good to the person who
experiences it and may even be associated with
good functioning and enhanced productivity. Thus
even when family and friends learn to recognize
the mood swings as possible bipolar disorder,
the person may deny that anything is wrong.
Without proper treatment, however, hypomania can
become severe mania in some people or can switch
More on source
and Emotional Effects of Manic Phases
percentage of bipolar disorder patients
demonstrate heightened productivity or
creativity during manic phases. More often,
however, the distorted thinking and impaired
judgment that are characteristic of manic
episodes can lead to dangerous behavior,
including the following:
Spending money with reckless abandon, causing
financial ruin in some cases.
Angry, paranoid, and even violent behaviors.
Openly promiscuous behavior.
behaviors are followed by low self-esteem and
guilt, which are experienced during the
depressed phases. During all stages of the
illness, patients need to be reminded that the
mood disturbance will pass and that its severity
can be diminished by treatment.
- a less extreme form of manic episode - could
Having utter confidence in yourself
Being able to focus well on projects
Feeling extra creative or innovative
Being able to brush off problems that would
paralyze you during depression
Feeling "on top of the world" but without going
over the top.
not include hallucinations or delusions, but a
hypomanic person still might exhibit some
reckless or inappropriate behavior. A person who
has moods of depression and hypomania is said to
have Bipolar II.
Also see the Hypomania
~ ~ ~
Psychiatric misdiagnosis and consequent
unnecessary or even destructive medication for
"troubling" symptoms is an issue that impacts many
gifted and talented people.
In her article My Adventures in
Psychopharmacology, Gogo Lidz writes, "Between the
ages of 16 and 21, I was prescribed more than
fifteen different stimulants, antidepressants,
antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers. The cure was
worse than the disease... a small galaxy of ADD
drugs: Metadate, Dextrostat, Dexedrine Spansules,
Adderall, Adderall XR.."
Now she is back in college and has been free of
manic feelings and suicidal thoughts.
Continued on High
~ ~ ~
have felt more things, more deeply..
have often asked myself whether, given the
choice, I would choose to have manic-depressive
illness. If lithium were not available to me, or
didn't work for me, the answer would be a simple
no... and it would be an answer laced with
does work for me, and therefore I can afford
to pose the question. Strangely enough, I
think I would choose to have it. It's
honestly believe that as a result of it I have
felt more things, more deeply; had more
experiences, more intensely; loved more, and
have been more loved...
more often for having cried more often;
appreciated more the springs, for all the
have crawled on my hands and knees in order to
get across a room and have done it for month
But normal or manic I have run faster, thought
faster, and loved faster than most I know.
that a high number of established artists.. meet
the diagnostic criteria for depression... it
seems these diseases can sometimes enhance or
otherwise contribute to creativity in some
~ ~ ~
on overcoming his “manic frenzy”
shopping binges at Barney's and "high end"
boutiques for clothes I barely wore were the
norm. So were lavish meals with friends where I
picked up $1000 tabs.
These high-priced activities were within my
limits because I was extremely successful
financially, a testament to my manic behavior,
not to mention my involvement in illegal
activities. I could stay up three nights in a
row and crank out screenplays and novels that
would take other people years to write.
lived dangerously, too. I picked up strangers in
bars and after hours clubs, did drugs and drank
drama of my manic frenzy, 19 electroshock
treatments, all kinds of experimentation with
medications and talk therapy is over, the dust
has finally settled. I have been living
even-keeled with only one major episode of manic
depression in the last five years, and I have
made tremendous changes in my lifestyle:
don't drink alcohol or take illegal drugs, I go
to sleep on a relatively normal schedule, and I
keep regular work hours. ...
But for quite some time, I was left was left
with a huge "gap" in my life because there was
no manic behavior left at all. What's a manic
depressive to do?
There's a tremendous amount of loss associated
with "saying goodbye" to mania, as it was my
friend for so many years. I needed to fill this
gap because my life felt so dull and I felt so
lonely at the same time, too.
mapped out a strategy for myself to cope with
this incredible loss...
~ ~ ~
What it's like to be bipolar
a particular kind of pain, elation, loneliness,
and terror involved in this kind of madness.
When you're high it's tremendous. The ideas and
feelings are fast and frequent like shooting
stars, and you follow them until you find better
and brighter ones.
the right words and gestures are suddenly there,
the power to captivate others a felt certainty.
There are interests found in uninteresting
pervasive and the desire to seduce and be
seduced irresistible. Feelings of ease,
intensity, power, well-being, financial
omnipotence, and euphoria pervade one's
marrow. But, somewhere this changes. The fast
ideas are too fast, and there are far too
many, overwhelming confusion replaces clarity.
Memory goes. Humor and absorption on friend's
faces are replaced by fear and concern.
previously moving with the grain is now
are irritable, angry, frightened,
uncontrollable, and emerged totally in the
blackest caves of the mind.
never knew those caves were there. It will never
end, for madness carves its own reality.
> painting: "Into the
Tangled Wood" by Anne Sudworth - related book:
World by Anne Sudworth
~ ~ ~
cocaine, pharmaceuticals -- [Carrie Fisher]
tried them all. Being on the manic side of
bipolar disorder, her drug use was a way to
"dial down" the manic in her. In some respects
it was a form of self-medication. "Drugs
me feel more normal," she says. "They contained
me. So maybe I was taking drugs to keep the
monster in the box." ...
eventually found a psychiatrist, proper
medication, and a support group for manic
depressives. ... Fisher
two moods, Roy the manic extrovert and Pam the
quiet introvert. "Roy decorated my house and
Pam has to live in it," she quips.
article: "Carrie Fisher" by Lybi Ma,
Psychology Today, Dec. 2001
~ ~ ~
starred in the multi-million dollar
Terminator blockbusters and was one of
Hollywood's first female action
the spotlight, however, Linda Hamilton was
living a personal hell. Now, Linda, is
revealing the truth behind her private
battle -- a lifelong struggle with manic
depression that went undiagnosed for most of
her life. ...
found her passion in acting and moved to
Hollywood in her early 20s, but depression
shadowed her every move.
started to break down," says Linda. "I turned
to drugs. Alcohol use. I medicated with lots
of cocaine in my early life. Anything that I
could do to get my confidence up." ...
years of fighting medication, Linda says
medication has helped regulate her
depression for almost 10 years.
a good day," says Linda. "It's taken me a
long time to get my life back. To be the
person I was raised to be and the person I
always was inside that couldn't find a way
from the Oprah Show Depressed,
Mentally Ill and Famous
~ ~ ~
or at high risk for bipolar
score higher on a creativity index
the Stanford University School of Medicine have shown
for the first time that a sample of children who either
have or are at high risk for bipolar disorder score
higher on a creativity index than healthy children.
the bipolar parents—even those who were not bipolar
themselves—scored higher than the healthy children.
think it’s fascinating,” said Kiki Chang, MD, assistant
professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and
co-author of the paper. “There is a reason that many
people who have bipolar disorder become very successful,
and these findings address the positive aspects of
having this illness.”
believe that a relationship exists between creativity
and bipolar disorder, which was formerly called
manic-depressive illness and is marked by dramatic
shifts in a person’s mood, energy and ability to
have examined this link; several have shown that artists
and writers may have two to three times more incidences
of psychosis, mood disorders or suicide when compared
with people in less creative professions.
Ketter, MD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral
sciences and a study co-author, said he became interested
in the link between mental illness and creativity after
noticing that patients who came through the bipolar
clinic, despite having problems, were extraordinarily
bright, motivated people who “tended to lead interesting
He began a scholarly pursuit of this link and in 2002
published a study that showed healthy artists were more
similar in personality to individuals with bipolar
disorder (the majority of whom were on medication) than to
healthy people in the general population.
Some researchers believe that bipolar disorder or mania, a
defining symptom of the disease, causes creative activity.
Ketter said he believes that bipolar patients’ creativity
stems from their mobilizing energy that results from
negative emotion to initiate some sort of solution to
their problems. “In this case, discontent is the mother of
invention,” he said.
~ ~ ~ ~
Evidence is weak that
We idealize depression, associating it with
perceptiveness, interpersonal sensitivity and other
Like tuberculosis in its day, depression is a form of
vulnerability that even contains a measure of erotic
appeal. But the aspect of the romanticization of
depression that seems to me to call for special
attention is the notion that depression spawns
Objective evidence for that effect is weak. Older
inquiries, the first attempts to examine the overlap of
madness and genius, made positive claims for
Recent research has looked at mood
disorders. These studies suggest that bipolar disorder
may be overrepresented in the arts. (Bipolarity, or
manic-depression, is another diagnosis proposed for van
But then mania and its
lesser cousin hypomania may drive productivity in many
fields. One classic study hints at a link between
alcoholism and literary work. But the benefits of major
depression, taken as a single disease, have been hard to
demonstrate. If anything, traits eroded by depression --
like energy and mental flexibility -- show up in
contemporary studies of creativity. ///
Freedom from depression would make the world safe for high
neurotics, virtuosi of empathy, emotional bungee-jumpers.
It would make the world safe for van Gogh.
Peter D. Kramer
> from his article There's Nothing Deep About
Depression [The New York Times, April 17, 2005]
- He is author of book Against
> image from book Bipolar
Disorder: A Guide for Patients and Families - by
Francis Mark Mondimore
~ ~ ~ ~
||Ben Stiller was quoted by a
Hollywood.com writer [in 2001] as saying, "I have not
been an easygoing guy. I think it's called bipolar manic
I've got a rich history of that in my
family. I'm not proud of the fact that I lost my
temper. Sometimes you just [expletive] up." The quote
resulted from incidents occurring on the set of
Zoolander, a movie he co-wrote, starred in and
> from Ben Stiller page on About.com
> photo: on the set of "Along Came
nearly three weeks in a hospital for treatment of
bipolar disorder, the anchor reveals in her
according to the excerpt, was triggered by a rare
reaction to prescription drugs: steroids being taken
for a stubborn case of hives.
steroids had the desired effect -- the hives
subsided -- but as a side effect of the drugs, I was
drug therapies, including more steroids and an
antidepressant, her moods swings intensified, from
sheer exhaustion to boundless energy.
tides were fluctuating -- back and forth, back and
forth -- sometimes so fast they seemed to be
New York Hospital in the spring, under an assumed
name, during a leave of absence from Dateline NBC.
Today, she's off steroids and free of mood swings,
thanks to lithium.
to share her story and talk about the illness. "I
was strange only for me," she writes. "New Yorkers,
by reputation, are fast-talking, assertive and
easily annoyed; I fit right in."
Pauley reveals struggle with bipolar disorder
Oldenburg, USA Today 8/18/2004
at right from The Jane Pauley Show site
excerpts from her book
A Life Out of the Blue by Jane Pauley
~ ~ ~
Andy's chronicle of his battle with manic depression or
bipolar disorder -- the euphoric highs and desperate
misdiagnosed by more than eight doctors and even when
he was finally diagnosed with this chronic illness, he
was unsuccessful on any regimen of medication.
hope of his condition stabilizing, he turned to the
last resort: electroshock therapy also known as
electroconvulsive therapy and commonly referred to as
Andy hid his raging mania under a larger-than-life
personality. He sought a high wherever he could find
one and changed jobs as some people change outfits - -
filmmaker, art dealer, hustler; whatever made him feel
like a cartoon character, invincible and bright.
is about living life at breakneck speed. He hopped on
flights from New York to Tokyo and Paris at a moment's
notice, spent $25,000 without a bit of thought on a huge
shopping spree and stayed awake nights exploring the
underworld of nightlife in Manhattan or whatever city he
happened to be visiting, in search of the perfect high.
Electroboy turned to art forgery, he found himself the
subject of a scandal lapped up by the New York media,
then in jail, then under house arrest. And for once he
didn't have a ready escape hatch from his unraveling
life. Ingesting handfuls of antidepressants and
tranquilizers, feeling his mind lose traction, he
decided to opt for ECT.
nineteen electroshock treatments over the course of
about a year and a half. Behrman's writing attains
heights of precision and force as he details the terror
of these treatments, which merged finally into the
grateful ecstasy of relief.
~ ~ ~
to depression, what is different about people with
bipolar disorder is the manic phase often starts out
with the person feeling more energized, creative,
productive as well as hypersexual.
than not it keeps escalating so that at a certain
point the person's mind is racing so fast they can't
keep up with themselves," reports Dr. Frederick
Goodwin [research professor of psychiatry at George
Washington University and the former Director of the
National Institute of Mental Health].
grandiosity prevents them from seeing the negative
consequences of their actions."
was certainly historically true for me," notes Mariette
Hartley, who co-founded
for Suicide Prevention.
of bipolar disorder is hyper-sexuality. I couldn't
say no. I didn't have that word in my vocabulary.
When you are that sexual at that early an age, it
really wreaks havoc internally."
her social and sexual discomfort, Hartley says she
began drinking at age 14 and was "clearly an
alcoholic from the very beginning of my drinking."
fact, Goodwin reports that more than 50% of bipolar
individuals experience problems with alcohol or drugs.
Emmy-winning actress says she hit rock bottom with
depression six years into her sobriety.
1994, I was going through a terrible divorce and
someone said I needed to get help," Hartley
up in the doctor's office, and he immediately
assumed I was depressed. So I started on a round of
anti-depressants but that caused me to go into a
manic state. That was when I first really began
realizing that something else was going on."
correct diagnosis is difficult because those
afflicted are usually only willing to go to the
doctor when they're depressed -- so the doctor sees
the depression but not the high.
indicate that patients wait an average of eight
years before obtaining an accurate diagnosis. ///
are on the right medication for you now for God
sakes stay on it and don't change," urges Hartley,
who is enjoying her 15th year of sobriety and is
feeling better than ever. "But if it doesn't seem to
be working, then go to a doctor and find the right
one for you."
article Mariette Hartley Triumphs Over Bipolar
Morgan, with Stephen A. Shoop, M.D.
book : Manic-Depressive
Goodwin, Kay Redfield Jamison
~ ~ ~
|Maurice Benard was
honored at the sixth annual Erasing the Stigma Mental
Health Leadership Awards luncheon May 17, 2002. Benard
plays Sonny Corinthos on the ABC daytime drama
"General Hospital" and is "one of the first Latino
actors to speak openly about his battle with bipolar
Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center press
is a spokesman for the.National
and Manic-Depressive Association
knew from a very young age that there was
something very wrong with me, but I thought it was
just that I was not a good person, that I didn't try
with many people, the overt symptoms of my
manic-depressive illness didn't show themselves
until my late teens.
was with a manic episode. From that time on, until I
was diagnosed at the age of thirty-five, I rode a
wild roller coaster, from agitated, out of control
highs to disabling, often suicidal lows. ...
were moments when I played Helen Keller when I felt
literally transported in time and space and reality.
it happens now. Every once in a while, there's one
little moment when you're just not there. Whoever it
is you're inventing is there. And the older I get,
the more the skill is molecular.
of safety I have now that I'm controlled with
lithium lets me focus my energy on my performance.
I'm not derailed by the mania or the
less than honest if I said that manic depression is
not part of my life today. For one thing, it is my
genetic heritage, and that never goes away. Second,
I am who I am, with behavior patterns that have been
going on for years.
taking a pill doesn't mean I'm going to become a
world doesn't immediately turn rosy.
keep working really hard to break behaviors I don't
like in myself. I practice. It's like playing the
piano. I practice. I screw up. I practice again.
Brilliant Madness : Living With
will star in "Daughter of the Queen of Sheba," a
big-screen adaptation of Jacki Lyden's memoir of
growing up with a mother whom everyone labeled as
crazy but actually suffered from what is now known
to be manic-depression.
often would become convinced she was a woman with
power, such as the Queen of Sheba or Marie
Antoinette, then act out her delusions. Her
mother's escapes from reality inspired Lyden to
seek a career in radio journalism, where she could
"escape" to exotic places like Baghdad to cover
the Persian Gulf War...
of helplessness growing up, her mother's refusal
to seek treatment and her mother's relationships
with the opposite sex -- which, in turn, affected
Lyden's relationships -- are among the complex
issues explored in the script. ..
news story by Zorianna Kit, The Hollywood Reporter
, May 21, 2003]
the Queen of Sheba: A Memoir by Jacki
[left], editor of Unholy Ghost, was only 16 years
old when her sister Maud [right] was diagnosed with
later, Maud stopped taking her medication and, after
a brief hospitalization for mania, fell into a
four-month depressive episode.
period of time, Nell and her mother became Maud's
primary caregivers. ... Eventually Maud recovered.
... [She is a novelist.]
describes the difficulties and emotions of
caregiving, along with the incredible triumph of her
What effect did your sister's depression have on
didn't understand how to ration my energy, I ended
up with some emotional and physical complications
afterward. I had terrible anxiety even when she was
doing much better.
was feverish and high about everything. I had a huge
amount of hypochondria. I lost a lot of weight. I
thought I was dying because I couldn't gain weight.
threw myself into care giving so wholeheartedly. It
took a long time to downshift. ...
Maud had me convinced that we were all suffering
from mood disorders. Even in her delusions, the leap
from me to her didn't seem that far.
didn't worry that I would suddenly develop manic
depression, but I did worry about my mental health
because my anxiety was so high.
trying to imagine what she was going through, it
became too easy to feel my mind not being able to
What motivated you to create your book, Unholy
was from the personal experience of dealing with
Maud's illness. The book was a home for us to
express and write about Maud's experience.
book grew to include many other writers' experiences
with depression. I find the questions surrounding
depression and mania so relevant and powerful.
vulnerability, loneliness, isolation, and worry are
issues that everyone can understand.
with Nell Casey [from site of Families
Ghost : Writers on Depression
~ ~ ~
often worry that taking an anti-manic drug such as
strip them of their creativity. Mogens Schou, the
researcher who pioneered
use of lithium in manic-depressive disorder, once did a
study in which he
highly creative people on maintenance lithium therapy.
the lithium had not influenced their creativity, six
reported that their
been diminished, and six felt that their creativity had
Depression and Creativity
~ ~ ~
Benefits of Restlessness and Jagged Edges - by Kay
Redfield Jamison, M.D.
Explorer - By Hilary MacGregor, Los Angeles Times -
"Manic Hollywood tales are never in short supply: crazy agents
screaming into the phone, out-of-control actors driving drunk,
starlets creating outre public spectacles or insomniac
writers, holed up in hotel rooms for weeks, hammering out the
perfect screenplay. This is not natural behavior, except in
L.A., where it is almost expected. The city provides the
physical and emotional backdrop for a new book by Terri
Cheney, a former entertainment lawyer who exposes the more
clinical side of all that out-of-control energy. "Manic: A
Memoir" chronicles Cheney's decades-long struggle to come to
terms with and manage her bipolar disorder."
and Bipolar Disorder - by Nicole Megatulski
History has always held
a place for the "mad genius", the kind who, in a bout of
euphoric fervor, rattles off revolutionary ideas,
incomprehensible to the general population, yet invaluable to
the population's evolution into a better adapted species over
time. Is this link between creativity and mental illness one
of coincidence, or are the two actually related?
Depression by Douglas Eby
"That kind of numbness,
that sense of endless hopelessness and erosion of spiritual
vitality are some of the reasons depression can have such a
devastating impact on creative inspiration and expression. ...
Psychiatrist Kay Redfield Jamison, herself a person with
bipolar disorder or manic depression, notes in her book
"Touched with Fire" that the majority of people suffering from
mood disorder "do not possess extraordinary imagination, and
most accomplished artists do not suffer from recurring mood
swings." She writes, "To assume, then, that such diseases
usually promote artistic talent wrongly reinforces simplistic
notions of the 'mad genius.' But, it seems that these diseases
can sometimes enhance or otherwise contribute to creativity in
and Creativity by Douglas Eby
Kay Redfield Jamison,
professor of psychiatry.. and herself a person with bipolar
depression, notes in her book.. that most accomplished artists
do not suffer from recurring mood swings. She writes, "To
assume, then, that such diseases usually promote artistic
talent wrongly reinforces simplistic notions of the 'mad
good use of depression - by Douglas
-- Depression can be a profoundly damaging and disrupting
condition, spiritually and psychologically corrosive,
preventing us from living fully and realizing our talents. But
a number of people also say the experience has had real value
for them. Psychiatrist Kay Redfield Jamison first planned her
own suicide at 17, and attempted to carry it out at 28.
Referring to her bipolar disorder, she has said, "I have felt
more things, more deeply..."
and the muse by Bruce Bower [Science News]
in Psychopharmacology - By
the ages of 16 and 21, I was prescribed more than
fifteen different stimulants, antidepressants,
antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers. The cure was worse
than the disease.
Fatty Acids & Bipolar Disorder - published by HBC
Research by Andrew L. Stoll, M.D., of McLean Hospital
indicates that Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly those found
in certain fish oil preparations, exhibit tremendous mood
a Journey Through a Psychotic Episode: Or, Mental Illness
and Creativity Anonymous [by Anonymous]
it is like to be a bipolar - by Kay Redfield Jamison, MD
>> more Depression
time to be bipolar
on bipolar and burning rubber
Misdiagnosis and Medication
: products / programs
Andy Behrman. Electroboy
: A Memoir of Mania
autobiographical novel : Postcards
from the Edge
Goodwin M.D. Manic-Depressive
Jablow Hershman, Julian Lieb, MD. Manic
Depression and Creativity
Michael Horowitz, editor. Sisters
of the Extreme: Women Writing on the Drug Experience,
Including Charlotte Bronte,
May Alcott, Anais Nin, Maya Angelou, Billie Holiday, Nina
Hagen, Carrie Fisher, and Others
Jamison, MD. book:
With Fire : Manic Depressive
Illness and the Artistic Temperament
Mondimore M.D. Bipolar
Disorder: A Guide for Patients and Families
Disorders: A Guide to Helping Children & Adolescents
Advantage, and The
>> More Books
Creativity front page.....,depression*---depression::
: mental health.......depression
relief products / programs.....counseling