Welcome to another addition of Celebrities with Bipolar Disorder.
I started this series to show all of you with bipolar we’re no different than anyone else. It doesn’t discriminate, and effects everyone equally. For a longtime, I felt bipolar only affected those who weren’t successful or hadn’t figured out their vision or purpose. As a matter of fact, this is something common I’ve heard from a majority of people who are living with a mental illness. So, I wanted to answer this question because I think it will serve as motivation for everyone. Well, I’m not sure if it does for you, but it does for me. Why?
I’ve always looked up to people who are successful because of their drive, passion, and confidence. I believe these three factors are the most important if you want to achieve the highest level of success. Celebrities continue to achieve a great level of success while living with bipolar disorder. Some continue to do great things and have become leaders in the fight to increase bipolar awareness.
With that said,
Continue to stay focused on your dreams, and know the sky’s the limit. Some of the most successful celebrities of our time have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, for example – Chris Brown, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Carrie Fisher, and Demi Lovato. Bipolar hasn’t slowed them down. Why should it slow you down?
Jean-Claude Van Damme – Actor, Martial Artist, Screenwriter, Film Producer, and Director
Known as the muscles from Brussels, Jean-Claude Van Damme was born on October 18, 1960, in Sint-Agatha-Berchem, Brussels. At 10 years old, he enrolled in Shotokan karate school, and at 18 earned his black belt. He also started lifting weights and did ballet to improve his physique and balance. In 1982, his friend moved to the United States and was cast as an extra in the movie Breakin. He got Van Damme a part in the same movie. This was the starting of his acting career.
Van Damme’s big breakthrough came in the popular movie Bloodsport which was a box office hit in 1988. A year later, he was in the movie Kickboxer, and then Double Impact in 1991. His success continued in movies like Universal Soldier (1992), which was his highest grossing film to date earning $65 million worldwide.
His career slowed down after a series of flops at the box office, and Van Damme left acting for several years afterward. He returned in 2008 in the movie JCVD which he produced. He stated while promoting the video – He experienced a period of homelessness “sleeping on the street and starving in L.A.” – Wikipedia.org.
The good news is since 2010, Jean-Claude Van Damme has been keeping busy producing, and starring in movies, and commercials.
In 1996, Van Damme was in rehab for substance abuse. He ended up leaving a few days later because he couldn’t steer off the addiction. After filming the movie Knockoff, he became suicidal and was formally diagnosed with rapid cycling bipolar disorder. He was placed on sodium valproate. Here’s what he tells E! Online about his bipolar disorder –
“You just have to take a little salt [the drug sodium valproate], and since I’m doing that it’s, like, BOOM! In one week, I felt it kick in. All the commotion around me, all the water around me, moving left and right around me, became like a lake.” – Everydayhealth.com
Jean-Claude Van Damme continues to be vocal about his bipolar disorder, and his struggles every day.
I wanted to add another quote from Van Damme above but felt it would be better towards the end. He stated –
“It became a point where I wanted to die. I didn’t have any reasons to live. Maybe it’s selfish to say that, but I was not excited about anything. Then you have to find back your self-esteem. And then, slowly, every piece of yourself becomes precious again. One day it’s, like, either you pass or you don’t. It’s not the drugs, it’s a problem with yourself, which you have to cure.” – verywell.com
When I read this, I wanted to give you my thoughts because I know the feeling. After I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I thought every day had to be perfect. In my mind, this was the only way I figured I’ve beaten bipolar or learned to manage it effectively. However, this mentality did more harm than good because I realized it’s impossible to have perfect days. They simply don’t exist.
Throughout life, you’re going to be faced with adversity and should do your best to keep your head up. It’s important to find the good in a bad situation, and know tomorrow is a brand new day full of new opportunities. If you continue to think everything should always be perfect then you’ve set unrealistic expectations for yourself. Use every day as a learning experience, and find ways to better yourself going forward. Just know every day is just a “day”, and you control what you want to achieve in it. Live in the now and don’t let external factors determine your mood. You control that too.