It's sad but true, Bipolar Disorder is still stigmatized in 21st century society. I suspect that there's only a small percentage of us with the disorder that are willing to "come out." And, I can't imagine anyone admitting to having bipolar as a disability on a job application.
However, there is an amazing number of famous and influential people with bipolar order, many of whom have openly discussed their illness. I'm going to make this post short today and simply provide a list. You may already be aware of some of these people as having bipolar disorder, yet you may be surprised by some of the others. I'm definitely keeping in good company!
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart -- One of the most prolific and influential composers of the Classical era.
A child prodigy, Mozart is know for his brilliance and maturity of style that encompassed the light and graceful along with the dark and passionate. He composed over 600 works, many of them regarded as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, operatic and choral music. His influence on subsequent Western music is profound.
Winston Churchill -- British politician who lead the United Kingdom through World War II. He is regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the 20th century. He served as British Prime Minister twice, 1940-45 and 1951-55.
Napoleon Bonaparte -- French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the latter stages of the French Revolution and its associated wars in Europe. As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815. His legal reform, the Napoleonic Code, has been a major influence on many civil law jurisdictions worldwide, but he is best remembered for his role in the wars led against France by a series of coalitions, the so-called Napoleonic Wars. He established hegemony over most of continental Europe and sought to spread the ideals of the French Revolution, while consolidating an imperial monarchy, which restored aspects of the deposed Ancient Regime. Due to his success in these wars, often against numerically superior enemies, he is generally regarded as one of the greatest military commanders of all time, and his campaigns are studied at military academies worldwide.
Isaac Newton -- English physicist and mathematician. Regarded as one of the most influential scientists of all time. His book Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica ("Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy"), first published in 1687, laid the foundations for most of classical mechanics. Newton also made seminal contributions to optics and shares credit with Gottfried Leibniz for the invention of the infinitesimal calculus. By deriving Kepler's laws of planetary motion from his mathematical description of gravity, Newton removed the last doubts about the validity of the heliocentric model of the cosmos. Newton built the first practical reflecting telescope and developed a theory of color based on the observation that a prism decomposes white light into the many colous of the visible spectrum.
Ludwig von Beethoven -- German composer and pianist. Considered one of the most influential of all composers. Beethoven was a crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic periods in Western music. His best known compositions include nine symphonies, five concertos for piano, 32 piano sonatas and 16 string quartets. He also composed other chamber music, choral works (including the celebrated Missa Solemnis.
Jean-Claude van Damme -- Belgian martial artist, actor and director best known for his martial arts action films. After studying martial arts intensively from the age of ten, Van Damme achieved national success in Belgium as a martial artist and bodybuilder, earning the "Mr. Belgium" bodybuilding title.
Abraham Lincoln-- The 16th President of the United States. Lincoln led the U.S. through its greatest constitutional, military, and moral crisis, the American Civil War. He is responsible for preserving the Union, abolishing slavery, strengthening the national government and modernizing the economy.
Edgar Allan Poe -- American author, poet, editor and literary critic. He is best known for writing in the mystery and macabre genres. Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is generally considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre. He is further credited with contributing to the emergence of the science fiction genre.
Ralph Waldo Emerson -- American essayist, lecturer, and poet. He led the Transcendentatalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society. He disseminated his thoughts through dozens of published essays and more than 1,500 public lectures across the United States.
Buzz Aldrin -- American astronaut and the second person to walk on the Moon. He was the lunar module pilot on NASA's Apollo II, the first manned lunar landing in history.
Mark Twain (Samual Longhorne Clemens) -- American author and humorist. He wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which has often been referred to as the Great American Novel. His wit and satire, in prose and in speech, earned praise from critics and peers, and he was a friend to presidents, artists, industrialists, and European royalty.
Patrick Joseph Kennedy -- Former U.S. Representative for Rhode Island's 1st congressional district. He is a member of the Democratic Party.
Jane Pauley -- American television anchor and journalist, who began news reporting in 1975. She is best known for her 13-year tenure on NBC's Today program, followed by 12 years as co-host of Dateline NBC. Jane Pauley has also been publicly open about her life living with bipolar disorder.
Agatha Christie -- British auther of crime novels, short stories, and plays. She also wrote six romance novels under the pseudonym, Mary Westmacott. She is best known for the 66 detective novels and more than 15 short story collections she wrote under her own name. She also wrote the world's longest-running play The Mousetrap.
Ted Turner -- American media mogul. As a businessman, he is known as founder of the cable news network, CNN, the first 24-hour cable news channel. In addition, he founded WTBS, which pioneered the superstation concept in cable TV. As a philanthropist, he is known for his $1 billion gift to support the United Nations.
Charles Dickens -- English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's most memorable fictional characters and is generally regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. During his life, his works enjoyed unprecedented fame, and by the twentieth century his literary genius was broadly acknowledged by critics and scholars. His novels and short stories continue to be widely popular.
Abbie Hoffman -- American political and social activist who co-founded the Youth International Party (Yippies). A member of the Chicago Eight, Hoffman was arrested and tried for consipiracy and inciting to riot as a result of his role in protests that led to violent confrontations with police during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Hoffman came to prominence in the 1960s, and continued practicing his activism in the 1970s, and has remained a symbol of the youth rebellion of that era.
Florence Nightengale -- English social reformer, statistician and the founder of modern nursing. She came to prominence while serving as a nurse during the Crimean War, where she tended to wounded soldiers. She was dubbed "The Lady with the Lamp" after her habit of making rounds at night. Early 21st century Nightingale laid the foundation of professional nursing with the establishment of her nursing school at St. Thomas' Hospital in London. It was the first secular nursing school in the world. The Nightengale Pledge, taken by new nurses, was named in her honor. Her social reforms include improving healthcare for all sections of British society; improving healthcare and advocating for better hunger relief in India; helping to abolish laws regulating prostitution that were overly harsh to women; and expanding the acceptable forms of female participation in the workforce.
Nina Simone -- American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger and civil rights activist. Over the length of her career Simone recorded more than 40 albums, debuting in 1958 with Little Girl Blue. Simone's music was highly influential in the fight for equal rights in the United States.
Gene Tierney -- American film and stage actress. Acclaimed as one of the great beauties of her day, she is best remembered for her performance in the title role of Laura (1944) and her Academy Award-nominated performance for Best Actress in Leave Her Heaven (1945).