The Cost Of Creativity: Bipolar Disorder and the Stars

As Lois Lane, Margot Kidder played a vivacious journalist with a soft spot for Superman, played by Christopher Reeve, in the blockbuster films of the 1970s and 1980s. But even Superman could not save Kidder from her bipolar disorder.

Kidder said she was aware as early as 19 that her mood swings were intense enough to "knock over entire cities."



"But at that point, I don't know how much psychiatrists knew about manic depression. I know that I didn't know what to call it," Kidder said. "It wasn't my mood swings that alarmed me as much as the altered states that I would go into. I likened them to LSD trips without the LSD."

Kidder's drinking and occasional drug use masked her problem but in April 1996, she could not hide anymore. After disappearing for several days, Kidder made headlines when she was found dirty and dazed, hiding behind some bushes in a stranger's backyard.

Kidder was taken to the mental ward of a Los Angeles hospital for treatment, after which she went home to Canada to rest.



"I so don't want to cry, but it's the thing I have avoided and been terrified by and have demonized my whole life and it has done extraordinary damage to an awful lot of lives besides mine," Kidder said. "I've had an awful lot of highs and they were great. But the price I've paid for them is pretty tough to accept and I'm not -- I can't pay that price anymore."

Maurice Bernard

Soap opera stars rarely go through the same kind of life-altering dramas that their characters suffer through on TV -- the amnesia, the long-lost mothers, the unintentional marriages.

But Maurice Bernard, who plays a mob boss on "General Hospital," got to act out aspects of his own personal distress in the award-winning "Sonny Is Bipolar" story line.



In 2007, Bernard was honored by the Entertainment Industries Council with the first "Performance in a Daytime Drama" PRISM Award for his portrayal of bipolar disorder.

Bernard, 45, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder (then called manic depression) at the age of 22 after a nervous breakdown and a stay in a mental hospital.

Since his 1993 start at "General Hospital," Bernard has had a few rough periods and even left the show in 1998.



In a 2007 interview on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," Bernard described the importance of sticking to his medication.

"I flirt with not taking it -- but I'm not stupid, because every time I've gone off the medication, I've had a breakdown," he said.

Carrie Fisher

The actress and writer, known best for her role as the dauntless Princess Leia in the "Star Wars" trilogy, has had to deal with both the light and the dark sides of her psyche.

Fisher has suffered from bipolar disorder since her youth.

"I have a chemical imbalance that, in its most extreme state, will lead me to a mental hospital," Fisher told Diane Sawyer.



Fisher, the child of actors Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, had a tumultuous childhood. Her father ran away with Elizabeth Taylor when she was 2 years old, and Fisher began performing on stage at age 12.

While Fisher got a huge break in "Star Wars", her career did not take off, and she gradually developed a cocaine and alcohol addiction. All during this time, she struggled with her disorder.

"I used to think I was a drug addict, pure and simple -- just someone who could not stop taking drugs willfully," said Fisher in a December 2000 interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC News. "And I was that. But it turns out that I am severely manic depressive."

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