Every few weeks, I like to write about a celebrity with bipolar disorder. It’s a great way to knock back down into reality and understand that a mental illness does NOT discriminate. Bipolar disorder affects the famous, wealthy, and extraordinary successful.
When I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I was under the common stereotype that people diagnosed with bipolar disorder belonged to a specific group and that no one outside of this group would ever be diagnosed with it. I was completely wrong. It was after I started to research ways to cope with my mental illness that I found information on celebrities suffering from bipolar disorder.
You’d be surprised how some of the most popular names in Hollywood are living with bipolar disorder for several years. Here are a few – Demi Lovato, Kurt Cobain, Charlie Sheen, Mel Gibson, and Robert Downey Jr.
Today, I’ll be writing about the musician Sia and her struggle with bipolar disorder. Many people have assumed she is bipolar because of the persona where she is NOT present. She’s always covering her face staying invisible hiding her identity. Some say it’s because she’s NOT in the present and hides her true self. Either way, she has become one of the most talked about pop star of our time.
Sia – Singer, Songwriter, Record Producer, and Music Video Director
Her full name is Sia Kate Isobelle Furler, and she was born on 18 December 1975. She grew up in Adelaide, South Australia with her father who is also a musician, and mother, Loene Furler an art lecturer. Her musical talent was noticed at an early age when she imitated the performing style of Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and Sting. These same people have been credited as her early influences.
Sia started her musical career in 1997 with a band called Crisp which was a local band in Australia. When they disbanded, Sia released her solo album called OnlySee in Australia. She later moved to London, England, and provided lead vocals for the British duo Zero 7.
Musical Career and Popularity
After providing lead vocals for the British band Zero 7, Sia signed a recording contract with Sony in 2000. Her first single – Taken for Granted peaked at number 10 on the UK Single Chart. In 2001, Sia released her second album and in 2004, she released her third studio album, Colour the Small One. Around this time, Sia was unhappy with the way her third album was marketed so left Sony Music and moved to New York City to search for further opportunities.
In 2005, the song ”Breathe Me” from the album Colour the Small One appeared in the final scene of the U.S. HBO television series Six Feet Under. This helped increase Sia’s popularity in the United States. David Enthoven, Sia’s manager, decided to set up a tour across the country to help grow her career.
Sia’s career took off between 2009- 2013 with her success being contributed to the release of her album – We Are Born. This peaked at number two in Australia and received mainstream recognition here in the United States. Following her success, Sia became uncomfortable with her growing success. She stated –
“I just wanted to have a private life. Once, as my friend was telling me they had cancer, someone came up and asked, in the middle of the conversation, if they could take a photograph with me. You get me? That’s enough, right?” – New York Times.
Going forward she refused to do promo’s and began wearing a mask on stage. She became increasingly dependent on drugs and alcohol on the road. She even considered suicide. Sia now focuses on writing songs rather than performing live on stage. She wrote songs for many recording artists, including Beyoncé, Kylie Minogue, Flo Rida and Rihanna. Her collaboration with Flo Rida, “Wild Ones”, peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was the tenth best-selling song of 2012 globally.
Sia has talked about bipolar disorder on many occasions. For example, in one interview on Howard Stern, she blames her diagnosis on smoking too much marijuana. She said the following –
“’What I do think, is that I smoked too much pot as a kid,’ she said.”
‘My brain wasn’t fully formed. “I f***ed my brain up.”- dailymail.co.uk
In another interview with New York Times in 2014, she mentioned how she relied on alcohol to get through live shows after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
“she relied on alcohol to get her through live shows and later became addicted to antidepressants and pain medication including Xanax and OxyContin, after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.”- dailymail.co.uk
She stated the following in an interview with The Guardian –
“Furler struggled with touring, hated the depersonalized spaces” of hotel rooms and was plagued by fatigue. In 2010, she was diagnosed with the thyroid condition, Graves’ disease – “I basically shat my pants for eight months and shook like I had Parkinson’s”. There was undiagnosed bipolar hypomania, too (she thinks it was caused by smoking too much weed as a child).
“I had established this identity that I could not maintain,” she says. “This quirky weird, cute, bubbly thing and part of that is definitely my character, but I could not keep that up if I was suicidally depressed at least one year out of every three.”- theguardian.com
Sia has been very vocal about her struggle with alcohol, drugs, and bipolar disorder. Every day is a struggle for her and I’m sure people like us, living with bipolar disorder, can understand her struggle all too well.
Sia’s story is similar to many other celebrity stories because it shows how fame and fortune doesn’t mean happiness. But, Sia proves you have the power to choose how you want to proceed going forward. She didn’t want people interfering with her life and wanted to focus on getting better so decided to stop performing and instead writing music for others.
We all have the option to choose what we want to do. It’s when I decided I wasn’t going to do things that hurt me that I finally started to feel better. If you are unhappy with the direction your life is heading in, it’s time to take a step back and focus on something else. You never know because this alternative direction might be the stability you are looking for when living with bipolar disorder. 🙂
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