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Like many other creative geniuses, such as Stephen Fry, and Robbie Williams, Adam Ant has struggled with bipolar disorder. In a series of interviews, Ant outlined the origins of his mental health issues dating back to the 1970s and why he wasn’t diagnosed until the 1990s.
Although his diagnosis came much later, in his youth Ant struggled with his mental state.
In 1976, at one of his lowest points, the star overdosed on pills as part of a suicide attempt, he writes in his autobiography Stand & Deliver.
Talking to The Herald, he described how massive fame in the 80s and early 90s actually gave him respite from his mental state.
When asked about whether his mental health suffered during the 80s, he said: “The manic depression was something that came on a lot later, really.
“While I was working I was able to waylay that, and I was too busy to think too much about that sort of thing. I just worked through it.
“The hypomania kicked in later. It kicked in when the work wasn’t there. That’s when the problems start – when the work’s not there.
“You are dealing with a void, a space of time, and you are filling it with various things. Some of those things can be bad, and certainly were for me.”
It was after Ant finished his 1995 tour for the album “Wonderful” that he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Bipolar is an illness characterised by drastic mood swings ranging from extreme highs, known as mania, and depression.
As a result, there are two groups of symptoms to look out for–one for the manic phase and one for the depressed phase.
The NHS states that symptoms of the depressive stage include:
- being sad, hopeless, or irritable most of the time
- lacking energy
- difficulty concentrating and remembering things
- not being interested in everyday activities
- feelings of emptiness or worthlessness
- feelings of guilt and despair
- feeling pessimistic about everything
- being delusional, having hallucinations and disturbed or illogical thinking
- lack of appetite
- difficulty sleeping
- waking up early
- suicidal thoughts
On the other hand, the symptoms of the mania include:
- feeling very happy, elated, or overjoyed
- talking very quickly
- feeling full of energy
- feeling self-important
- feeling full of great new ideas and having important plans
- being easily distracted
- being easily irritated or agitated
- being delusional, having hallucinations, and disturbed or illogical thinking
- not feeling like sleeping
- not eating
- doing things that often have disastrous consequences – such as spending large sums of money on expensive and sometimes unaffordable items
- making decisions or saying things that are out of character and that others see as being risky or harmful
Sadly, in Christmas 1996, Ant made another suicide attempt.
Moreover, in 1997 he went through another depressed phase after he split up with his wife Lorraine Gibson.
However, today, Ant is open about his condition and is an advocate for learning more about the illness.
In 2013, speaking to Rolling Stone, he said: “Since then [the diagnosis] I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some very good medical people, who advised me to try and learn as much about the condition as I can in order to help them with either prescribing medication, or at least knowing what the medication is doing to those parts of the brain that need help.
“I think the whole subject of bipolar disorder is in its infancy in terms of the public being aware it is an illness and not a disease, and not a kind of terminal thing where you have to feel shame… It’s been swept under the carpet.”
If untreated, bipolar manic episodes can last between three and six months and episodes of depression six to 12.
Treatment can shrink this time.
There are a couple of treatments available for bipolar on the NHS, such as medicine known as mood stabilisers, learning to recognise triggers and improving relationships through therapy.
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