The Cost Of Creativity: Bipolar Disorder and the Stars

"I have a bipolar personality," Spector said in February 2002 interview with the London Daily Telegraph. "I'm my own worst enemy. I have devils inside that fight me."



Despite the devils, Spector is credited for reinventing American pop music, creating his signature "wall of sound" -- an orchestral, bombastic style found in songs like "Be My Baby" and "That Lovin' Feeling."

Spector's musical brilliance was been underscored with dark and erratic behavior.

His first wife, Veronica Bennet, claimed he kept her locked up in their mansion and threatened to kill her if she left him. Several musicians who worked with Spector spoke of how the producer had threatened them at gunpoint.

Spector says he has struggled with his bipolar disorder for 20 years.



On February 3, 2003, Spector was arrested and charged with murder in the killing of nightclub hostess Lana Clarkson. His subsequent trial ended with a hung jury. A second trial is scheduled for September 2008.

Linda Hamilton

Linda Hamilton morphed from shy waitress to tough-as-nails freedom fighter over the course of the blockbuster action movies "Terminator" and "Terminator 2: Judgment Day." But Hamilton found it far more difficult to fight off the demons in her personal life.

Hamilton suffered from manic-depressive episodes for 20 years before getting properly treated and calls the years from her 20s to her 40s her "lost years."

"In those 20 years, I did not know the meaning of the word 'hope,'" Hamilton told The Associated Press. "It was just a bleak, difficult existence."



Hamilton said her manic episodes drove much of her work early on, but the depression felt like falling into a manhole with no way out and pushed her to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol.

One of our doctors said treatment for bipolar does not reduce creativity. Still, Hamilton feared sacrificing her creativity for mental stability, a common reaction for many artistically inclined people with bipolar disorder.

"That is one of the most difficult things of treating bipolar disorder," Galynker said. "If someone is fantastically creative do you want to make them just averagely creative?"

But Hamilton said she was able to go through treatment without losing her creative streak.



"A lot of my early career was based on that angry woman that was just an organic outgrowth of the chemical imbalance that I had," Hamilton said. "And I thought, I'm going to become normal and I won't have those extraordinary gifts as an actress. There is nothing that has been diminished or dulled. I don't feel that any of my greatness has been covered over."

Richard Dreyfuss

Oscar winner Richard Dreyfuss may be best known for playing the marine biologist who thought a scuba suit and shark cage could protect him from the hungry maw of "Jaws," but the famous actor's inner life is far more complex than that of the boyish character he made famous.



In a 2006 television documentary titled "The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive" by British actor Stephen Fry, Dreyfuss was one of several actors who spoke extensively and frankly about his bipolar disorder. He told Fry that he been on lithium and other medications to level his mood.



Dreyfuss is not reticent about sharing his views on subjects like mental illness, religion and politics and he speaks frequently about civic duty. Still, it may be his openness about the stigmatized disorder that has made the most impact.

Margot Kidder

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