Famous Bipolars 1
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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

Mary Wollstonecraft

(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 feminism


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

Meriwether Lewis

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 depressed


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 Independence


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.

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."

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 times.


Florence Nightingale

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,"

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 sympathiser to the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed; and by his death, one of England's greatest writers is lost to the world."


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.


Page Two in Famous Bipolars Series


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