Famous People with Mania Throughout History! Western Doctor’s – All Mania is Bad ~ Misdiagnosis – Have They Forgotten? or JUST NOT PROFITABLE ~
I’ve heard that many famous people throughout history showed the signs of having bipolar; that they were channeling their manic energy into whatever it was that made them famous, but that they would also have steep bouts of depression. Do you have any examples?
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If not the tone of sounds but the tone of colors intrigues you, then the most quintessential example would be that of Vincent Van Gogh who completed the most famous of his works in the last two years of his life. He died at the age of 37 after a period in which he “had fits of despair and hallucination during which he could not work, and in between them, long clear months in which he could and did, punctuated by extreme visionary ecstasy”. According to many sources, even the genius Picasso showed symptoms of the disorder.
TOP: Vincent Van Gogh
BOTTOM: Weeping Woman, Pablo Picasso
Joining Sylvia Plath in the club of literary figures with mood swings of the bipolar type are Virginia Woolf (suffered a troubled childhood with death of mother, followed by recurring breakdowns, father’s death, sexual abuse), Mark Twain (felt guilty for a friend’s death for some parapsychological reasons, family troubles, in later life suffered from ‘bouts’ of depression, came with the Halley’s comet and went out with it after predicting the same, parapsychology?), and Edgar Allan Poe (who famously said “Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence — whether much that is glorious — whether all that is profound — does not spring from disease of thought — from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect” ).
TOP TO BOTTOM: Mark Twain, the very beautiful Virginia Woolf, Edgar Allan Poe
Amongst political leaders, known for his all night writing and mood swings was Winston Churchill who had contemplated on suicide too (“I don’t like standing near the edge of a platform when an express tra… (more)
David McKerracher, Psychology fascinates me.
After reading Walter Isaacson’s “Steve Jobs” biography, it sure seems as though Steve is an excellent candidate.
A few websites posit the same hypothesis. For instance, Bipolar Disorder – “The CEO Disease”
I am in no way saying that bipolar is a good thing. My worst life experiences have been due to it. It does seem, however, that in some cases there are ways of using it to one’s advantage.
Nietzsche also fits the bill.
I would say he was probably battling depression with his manic writing.
He wrote one book every year for ten years. He wrote five books in the last year before his collapse. Every one of those books is brilliant. He was a manic genius until his collapse, and of course he collapsed after writing 5 books in one year!
John James Morton, Unlike history, I try not to repeat myself.
William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, one of the leading British statesmen of the 18th century, seems likely to have been manic-depressive. Even at the height of his power he would become unavailable, sometimes for long periods, in a manner which bewildered his colleagues. As the historian J.H. Plumb put it:
“There were moments when he felt like God, and others when he was so wretched that he could not bear to hear or see a human being.” [The First Four Georges, ch. III]
Far too many to list here; q.v.:
Famous People with Bipolar Disorder
Much of this list was obtained from the Internet.
Actors & Actresses
Maurice Bernard, soap opera
Lisa Nicole Carson
Rosemary Clooney, singer
Robert Downey Jr.
Connie Francis, singer and actress
Shecky Greene, comedian
Moss Hart, actor, director, playright
Kevin McDonald, comedian
Burgess Meredith, actor, director
Spike Milligan, actor, writer
Spike Mulligan, comic actor and writer
Ben Stiller, actor, director, writer
Jean-Claude Van Damme
Jonathon Winters, comedian
Alvin Alley, dancer, choreogapher
Ludwig Von Beethoven
Tim Burton, artist, director
Francis Ford Coppola, director
George Fredrick Handel, composer
Bill Lichtenstein, producer
Joshua Logan, broadway director, producer
Vincent Van Gogh, painter
Gustav Mahier, composer
Francesco Scavullo, artist, photographer
Robert Schumann, composer
Don Simpson, movie producer
Norman Wexler, screenwriter, playwright
Heinz C. Prechter
Ted Turner, media giant
Buzz Aldrin, astronaut
Clifford Beers, humanitarian
Garnet Coleman, legislator (Texas)
Larry Flynt, publisher and activist
Kit Gingrich, Newt’s mom
Phil Graham, owner of Washington Post
Peter Gregg, team owner and manager, race car driver
Susan Panico (Susan Dime-Meenan), business executive
Sol Wachtier, former New York State Chief Judge
Ludwig van Beethoven, composer
Alohe Jean Burke, musician, vocalist
Rosemary Clooney, singer
DMX Earl Simmons, rapper and actor
Gaetano Donizetti, opera singer
Kristen Hersh (Throwing Muses)
Otto Klemperer, musician, conductor
Oscar Levant, pianist, composer, television
Phil Ochs, musician, political activist, poet
John Ogden, composer, musician
Mac Rebennack (Dr. John)
Jeannie C. Riley
Alys Robi, vocalist in Canada
Phil Spector, musician and producer
Sting, Gordon Sumner, musician, composer
Tom Waits, musician, composer
Brian Wilson, musician, composer, arranger
Townes Van Zandt, musician, composer
C.E. Chaffin, writer, poet
Robert Boorstin, special assistant to President Clinton
L. Brent Bozell, political scientist, attorney, writer
Bob Bullock, ex secretary of state, state comptroller and lieutenant governer
Kitty Dukasis, former First Lady of Massachusetts
Thomas Eagleton, lawyer, former U.S. Senator
Lynne Rivers, U.S. Congress
Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States
John Strugnell, biblical scholar
Karl Paul Link, chemist
Shelley Beattie, bodybuilding, sailing
John Daly, golf
Muffin Spencer-Devlin, pro golf
Ilie Nastase, tennis
Jimmy Piersail, baseball player, Boston Red Sox, sports announcer
Barret Robbins, football
Wyatt Sexton, football
Alonzo Spellman, football
Darryl Strawberry, baseball
Dimitrius Underwood, football
Luther Wright, basketball
Bert Yancey, athlete
TV & Radio
Jay Marvin, radio, writer
Louis Althusser, philosopher, writer
Honors de Balzac
Art Buchwald, writer, humorist
Abbie Hoffman, writer, political activist
Kay Redfield Jamison, writer, psychologist
Peter Nolan Lawrence
Frances Lear, writer, editor, women’s rights activist
Rika Lesser, writer, translator
Edgar Allen Poe
Lori Schiller, writer, educator
Scott Simmie, writer, journalist
Joseph Vasquez, writer, movie director
Mark Vonnegut, doctor, writer
Sol Wachtler, writer, judge
Mary Jane Ward
4Famous People With Bipolar Disorder: “Bipolar“…(We are all Bipolar!) a non-diagnosis…likely
Hunter McCord, works at Avago Technologies
Apparently Vincent Van Gogh had manic depression/bipolar disorder
Famous People with Bipolar Disorder (4 pages) including 75 pictures and a short bio of each. Some of the older ones are only assumed to be bipolar, by their behavior. (out of curiosity I looked at the months each person in my sample was born – out of 71 with months November had 13, October had 12, Jan, Feb, Mar, May & Sept each had 5, July, Aug, and Dec each had 4, and April had 3)
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni
March 6, 1475 – February 18, 1564
He was a Renaissance painter, sculptor, poet and architect. He is famous for creating the fresco ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, one of the most stupendous works in all of Western art, as well as the Last Judgment over the altar, and “The Martyrdom of St. Peter and “The Conversion of St. Paul in the Vatican’s Cappella Paolina.
Among his many sculptures are those of the Pieta and David, again, sublime masterpieces of their field, as well as the Virgin, Bacchus, Moses, Rachel, Leah, and members of the Medici family…
(April 27, 1759 – September 10, 1797
Mary was the author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, and mother of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. Her husband William Godwin was one of the most prominent atheists of his day, and a forefather of the anarchist movement..
In 1778, when she was nineteen, Mary Wollstonecraft left home to take a situation as companion with a rich tradesman’s widow at Bath. After two years she returned home to nurse her sick mother, who died after long suffering, wholly dependent on her daughter Mary’s constant care. The mother’s last words were often quoted by Mary Wollstonecraft in her own last years of distress-“A little patience, and all will be over.”
Then she went up the river to drown herself. She paced the road at Putney on an October night, in 1795, in heavy rain, until her clothes were drenched, that she might sink more surely, and then threw herself from the top of Putney Bridge, leaving a note for Imlay; “Let my wrongs sleep with me”.
She was rescued, and lived on with deadened spirit. She had lost everything except her child; her faith in revolution, in the virtue of the people and in the possibilities of an independent woman’s life Early in 1797 she was married to William Godwin, a philosopher who was notorious for his rejection of romance and marriage.
On September 10, 1797, at the age of thirty-eight, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin succumbed to puerperal fever after the birth of her daughter. Having survived so many difficult situations, she died when she had so much to live for.
She is rightly remembered as one of the founders of modern feminist…
Ludwig van Beethoven
baptized December 17, 1770 – March 26, 1827
Beethoven was a German composer, the predominant musical figure in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic eras. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest of composers
Beethoven’s career as a composer is usually divided into Early, Middle, and Late periods.
In the Early period, he is seen as emulating his great predecessors Haydn and Mozart at the same time exploring new directions and gradually expanding the scope and ambition of his work
The Middle period began shortly after Beethoven’s personal crisis centering around deafness, and is noted for large-scale works expressing heroism and struggle; these include many of the most famous works of classical music
Beethoven’s Late period began around 1816 and lasted until Beethoven ceased to compose in 1826. The late works are greatly admired for their intellectual depth and their intense, highly personal expression.
Beethoven’s personal life was troubled. Around age 28 he started to become deaf, a calamity which led him for some time to contemplate suicide He was attracted to unattainable (married or aristocratic) women, whom he idealized; he never married. A period of low productivity around 1812 -1816 is thought by some scholars to have been the result of depression Beethoven quarreled, often bitterly, with his relatives and others, and frequently behaved badly to other people. He moved often from dwelling to dwelling, and had strange personal habits such as wearing filthy clothing while washing compulsively. He often had financial troubles.
It is common for listeners to perceive an echo of Beethoven’s life in his music, which often depicts struggle followed by triumph; this description is often applied to Beethoven’s creation of masterpieces in the face of his severe personal difficulties.
Beethoven’s health had always been bad, and it failed entirely in 1826. His death in the following year is usually attributed to liver disease
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
October 21, 1772 -July 25, 1834
Coleridge was an English poet, critic, and philosopher and, along with his friend William Wordsworth, one of the founders of the Romantic Movement in England and as one of the Lake Poets. He is probably best known for his poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
In 1800 he returned to England and shortly thereafter settled with his family and friends at Keswick in the Lake District of Cumberland Soon, however, he fell into a vicious circle of lack of confidence in his poetic powers, ill-health, and increased opium dependency.
From 1804 to 1806, Coleridge lived in Malta and travelled in Sicily and Italy, and it was during this period that Coleridge became a full-blown opium addict, using the drug as a substitute for the lost vigour and creativity of his youth.
In 1816 Coleridge, his addiction worsening, his spirits depressed, and his family alienated, took residence in the home of the physician James Gillman, in Highgate He died in Highgate on July, 1834
August 18, 1774 – October 11,1809
He was an American explorer, soldier, and public administrator; he is best known for his role as the leader of the Corps of Discovery.
Lewis was born in Albemarle County, Virginia (near Charlottesville) and moved with his family to when he was ten. At thirteen he was sent back to Virginia for education by private tutors.
He was shot at a tavern called Grinder’s Stand about 70 miles (110 km) from Nashville, Tennessee, on the Natchez Trace, while enroute to Washington; his wrists had been cut, and he had been shot in the head and chest. Whether his death was from suicide (as is widely believed) or murder (as contended by his family) has never been conclusively determined; however, it should be noted that he allegedly attempted to jump into the Mississippi River and drown shortly before his death, and also was extremely
George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, Lord Byron
January 22, 1788 – April 19, 1824
He was the most widely read English language poet of his day. His best-known works are the narrative poems Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage and Don Juan. The latter remained incomplete on his death.
Byron’s fame rests not only on his writings, but also on his life, which featured extravagant living, debts, separation, allegations of incest and his eventual death from fever after he travelled to fight on the Greek side in the Greek War of Independencems theme
Thomas Lovell Beddoes
June 30, 1803 – January 26, 1849
He was an English poet and dramatist. He was son of Dr. Thomas Beddoes , a friend of Coleridge, and Anna, sister of Maria Edgeworth. In 1822 he wrote The Brides’ Tragedy, an blank verse drama that was published and well reviewed.
In 1824 he went to Göttingen to study medicine. He was expelled, and then went to Würzburg to complete his training. At this period he became involved with radical politics. He was deported from Bavaria in 1833, and had to leave Zürich, where he had settled, in 1840.
He continued to write, but published nothing. His play Death’s Jest-Book was published after his death by friends in 1850, and his Collected Poems in 1851.
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He led an itinerant life after leaving Switzerland, returning to England only in 1846, before going back to Germany. He became increasingly disturbed, and committed suicide in 1849.
Hans Christian Andersen
April 2, 1805 – August 4, 1875
Hans Christian Anderson was a Danish author and poet famous for his fairy tales – one of the most well-known authors of fairy-tales. His works have been translated all over the world. He also wrote plays, novels, poems, travel books, and several autobiographies. Although many of his stories are upbeat and entertaining, there is an element of tragedy in many.
According to one writer, “It may also be noted that part of what makes some of the tales so compelling is Andersen’s identification with the unfortunate and the outcast. A strong autobiographical element runs through his sadder tales; throughout his life he perceived himself as an outsider, and, never satisfied that he was completely accepted, he suffered deeply in his closest personal relationships.” msthemee
Ralph Waldo Emerson
May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882
Emerson was a famous American essayist and one of America’s most influential thinkers and writers.
Emerson was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to a Unitarian minister and would later become a Unitarian minister himself. Emerson eventually, however, broke away from the doctrine of his superiors and formulated and expressed the philosophy of Transcendentalism in his 1836 essay Nature.
After Emerson graduated from Harvard, he assisted his brother in a school for young ladies established in their mother’s house; when his brother went to Göttingen to study divinity, Emerson took charge of the school. Over the next several years, Emerson made his living as a schoolmaster, eventually studying divinity himself, and emerging as a Unitaritan minister. A dispute with church officials over the administration of the Communion service led to his resignation. About the same time, his young wife and one true love, Miss Elena Louisa Tucker, died in April of 1831.
In 1836, Emerson and other like-minded intellectuals founded The Dial, a periodical which served as a vehicle for the Transcendental movement, although the first issue did not appear until July of 1840. Meanwhile, Emerson published his first book, Nature, in September of 1836 …
Robert Alexander Schumann…
June 8, 1810 – July 29, 1856
Schumann was a German composer and pianist in the Romantic period of Classical music.
Probably no composer ever rivaled Schumann in concentrating his energies on one form of music at a time. At first all his creative impulses were translated into pianoforte music, then followed the miraculous year of the songs. In 1841 he wrote two of his four symphonies. The year 1842 was devoted to the composition of chamber music, and includes the pianoforte quintet (op. 44), now one of his best known and most admired works. In 1843 he wrote Paradise and the Pen, his first essay at concerted vocal music.
On the 27th of February, 1854 he threw himself into the Rhine. He was rescued by some boatmen, but when brought to land was determined to be quite insane. He suffered from syphilis, that had not been properly treated and that developed into its tertiary stage. He was taken to a private asylum in Endenich near Bonn, and remained there until his death on the 29th of July 1856. He was buried at Bonn, and in 1880 a statue by A. Donndorf was erected on his tomb.. He experienced periods of great productivity and creativity, while from the mid-1840s on he suffered periodic attacks of severe depression and nervous exhaustion, and contemplated or attempted suicide a number of
May 12, 1820 – August 13, 1910
The Lady With The Lamp – was the pioneer of modern nursing
Inspired by what she understood to be a divine calling (first experienced in 1837 at the age of 17 at Embley Park and later throughout her life), Nightingale made a commitment to nursing, a career with a poor reputation and filled mostly by poorer women
The world’s most famous nurse is believed to have suffered from a bipolar disorder, and she once said God had called her to her work and that she heard voices.
Nightingale suffered from a bipolar disorder that caused long periods of depression and remarkable bursts of productivity.
“Florence heard voices and experienced a number of severe depressive episodes in her teens and early 20s – symptoms consistent with the onset of bipolar disorder,” e
Charles Pierre Baudelaire
April 9, 1821-August 31, 1867)
He was one of the most influential French poets. He was also an important critic and translator Called ‘the father of modern criticism,’ who shocked his contemporaries with his visions of lust and decay. Baudelaire was the first to equate modern, artificial, and decadent. In Le peintre de la vie moderne (1863, The Painter of Modern Life) Baudelaire argued in favor of artificiality, stating that vice is natural in that it is selfish, while virtue is artificial because we must restrain our natural impulses in order to be good. The snobbish aesthete, the dandy was for Baudelaire the ultimate hero and the best proof of an absolutely purposeless existence. He is a gentleman who never becomes vulgar and always preserves the cool smile of the stoic
Baudelaire’s confrontation of depression with the consumption of drugs such as opium, hashish and alcohol was a major influence on his work. Many of his poems were influenced by his interest in “les correspondances”, or synaesthesia. Synaesthesia is the mixing of the senses, that is, the ability to smell colors or see sounds. He wrote several poems about the subject itself, such as “Correspondances”, and used imagery and symbolism based on the experiences of synaesthesiacs. In general, Baudelaire was a sensualist, in love with sensations, and he tried to experience them and express them in abundance.
Baudelaire was affected by bipolar disorder, commonly known as manic depression. —
Leo Nikolayevitch Tolstoy
September 9 (August 28, O.S), 1828 – November 20 (November 7, O.S.), 1910
Tolstoy was a Russian novelist, reformer, and moral thinker, notable for his influence on Russian literature and politics. As a count, he was a member of the Tolstoy family of Russian nobility.
Tolstoy was one of the giants of 19th century Russian literature. His most famous works include the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, and many shorter works, including the novellas The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Hadji Murad
Tolstoy’s private life is well known in Russia. He lived his entire life in Yasnaya Polyana. On September 23, , the 34 year old Tolstoy married Sonya Andreyevna Behrs, a girl of 18. Their marriage has been described by A.N.Wilson as one of the unhappiest in literary history, and was marked from the outset by Tolstoy on the eve of his marriage giving his diaries of his bachelor escapades to Sonya, which he made her read. These detailed Tolstoy’s sexual relations with his serfs. He even admits to taking a young lady’s virtue, who was forever disgraced by the encounter (incredibly, he used this as the basis of Resurrection).
His relationship with his wife further deteriorated as his beliefs became increasingly radical. In one journal entry, she writes of him becoming increasingly suicidal, unable to reconcile his faith with the material world. Sonya bore him 13 children, 7 of whom survived to adulthood.
He died of pneumonia at Astapovo station on Nov.20,1910 after leaving home in the middle of winter at the age of 82.
Charles John Huffam Dickens
February 7, 1812 – June 9, 1870
Dickens, pen-name “Boz “, was an English novelist of the Victorian era. The popularity of his books/short stories during his lifetime and to the present is demonstrated by the fact that none of his novels have ever gone out of print
Dickens separated from his wife in 1858. In Victorian times divorce was almost unthinkable particularly for someone as famous as Charles Dickens and he continued to maintain her in a house for the next twenty years until she died. Although they were initially happy together, Catherine did not seem to share quite the same boundless energy for life which Dickens had. Her job of looking after their ten children and the pressure of living with and keeping house for a world-famous novelist certainly did not help. Catherine’s sister Georgina moved in to help her but there were rumors that Charles was romantically linked to his sister-in-law. An indication of his marital dissatisfaction was when in 1855 he went to meet his first love Maria Beadnell. Maria was by this time married as well but she seems to have fallen short of Dickens’ romantic memory of her.
He was buried in the Poets’ Corner of Westminster Abbey. The inscription on his tomb reads: “He was a sympathizer to the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed; and by his death, one of England’s greatest writers is lost to the world.”mstheme
Samuel Langhorne Clemens – Mark Twain
November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910
Mark Twain was a famous and popular American humorist, writer and lecturer
At his peak, he was probably the most popular American celebrity of his time. William Faulkner wrote he was “the first truly American writer, and all of us since are his heirs.” His pseudonym was derived from the shout used to mark how deep the water was for river boats – “by the mark, twain” (in other words, mark two fathoms).
In his later life, Twain was a very depressed man, but still capable. Twain was able to respond “The report of my death is an exaggeration” in the New York Journal, June 2nd 1897. He lost 3 out of 4 of his children, and his beloved wife, Olivia Langdon, before his death in 1910. He also had some very bad times with his businesses. His publishing company ended up going bankrupt, and he lost thousands of dollars on one typesetting machine that was never finished. He also lost a great deal of revenue on royalties from his books being plagiarized before he even had a chance to publish them himself.
Twain himself died less than one year later. He wrote in 1909, “I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it.” And so he did.
11 Answers from Quora
Nitin Khola, Life is stranger than fiction.
Going by the topic under which the question has been posted, it seems appropriate to start with a historical allusion (Lady Godiva). In the poem Ariel by Sylvia Plath, she calls the rider (herself / narrator) as “God’s Lioness”.
TOP: Ecstasy, Władysław Podkowiński
BOTTOM: Sylvia Plath, aged 25
EXCERPT FROM THE POEM
“The dew that flies,
Suicidal, at one with the drive
Into the red
Eye, the cauldron of morning.”
Historical allusions, vivid imagery which is brimming with emotions, and a tinge of obscurity make it believable when a critic describes her poetry as “ecstatic, oracular poetic type, which centered upon self”. The poem culminates in the aforementioned lines which imply a wish to attain death, the suicidal leap into the sun. Probably, she finds such attainment ecstatic.
Sylvia Plath is known for her novel The Bell Jar in which she draws a lot from her personal experience of seeking institutionalized treatment for her mood disorder and suicidal tendencies. In her works, the chapters exhibit conspicuous contrasts as they switch tones from being full of hope in one to misery in another.
This is a crucial aspect which must be considered while answering this question. A lot of the figures in history are believed to have suffered from the manic-depressive disorder on the basis of it being evident in their work and their method of working. The mad geniuses, as per evidences, show some common traits of alternating periods of inactivity and hyperactivity. Take the case of Robert Schumann who would have periods of ‘intense creativity’ which were characterized by insomnia (another common trait) and completing excellent works within weeks. And so was the case of arguably the greatest composer, Beethoven who suffered from fits in which he could compose numerous works simultaneously although his most famous works were written during his down periods. Another great composer, Mozart is believed to suffer from a milder form of bipolar spectrum disorder. In addition to this, the work of Tchaikovsky also shows great variation of tone, tempo, and rhythm.
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