Hollywood movie legend & star and of the "Mad Max" movies Mel Gibson just days ago came out with the long dark secret that he had Manic Depression or Bipolar disorder and had suffered silently with the condition for many years. Like most bipolar suffers he was afraid to 'come out' and reveal that he suffered from the serious and often debilitating condition.
Second only to Schizophrenia in it's pathology. Often suffers have dysfunction lives, few long term relationships, jobs, or independent means of support. Because of the stigma associated with being as they say 'mad' then often the condition is kept secret from just about everyone.
Gibson said "I had really good highs but some very low lows," Gibson said. "I found out recently I'm manic depressive." More often than not though suffers keep the condition under there hat Often struggling emotionally with the condition as it takes it's toll. Many suffers pay the ultimate sacrifice to the condition by taking their own lives. Often suffers engage in bizarre behaviour with long term painful consequences. Such as checking into five-star hotels with delusions of grandeur. Literally going crazy with credit cards, check books and loans so much so that one short shopping spree lasting only weeks can put them in debt for years. or result in them or other filing for bankruptcy and or going to gaol. Winston Churchill is another famous person who is said to have suffered from the condition. Often he could go for weeks in the manic phase living without sleep. Eventually the 'black dog' as he would say, returned and he would submerge into deep depression. Research on the condition still has a long way to go. Doctors and drug companies say that it is easily treatable. Patients however know better and often scorn at the side effects oftaking drugs. Lithium has become the major drug used to manage Bipolar-Disorder. Discovered by accident by Australian John Cade it has been the mainstay of treatment for the last thirty to forty years. In More recent years Epilum or Sodium Valpronate is often prescribed. Patients often complain that they feel like a Zombie or in a 'mental straight jacket 'after being sedated with these medications . Unable to access the emotional highs that they once experieinced. Patients often yearn for these manic highs. Just like a drug user does. For this reason many patients often fail deliberately to continue to take drugs and as a result acute episodes of the disorder arrive with greater frequency.
Sufferers are urged by this column and by professionals in the field world wide to seek ongoing help, support and treatment.
A particular eminent advocate and World-Wide expert Authority and personal sufferer of the condition is Psychiatrist at the John Hopkins Medical School Professor Kay Redfield-Jamison