A few of our prized picks that shine a light on the talent, struggles, and courage of our bipolar community.
Trigger alert: This article contains information about mental health, bipolar disorder, addiction, and suiclde, which may be triggering.
Looking for inspiration on living with bipolar? Few stories are as motivating and encouraging as the true stories presented in our selected documentaries. Whether it’s a film about a Maori speed chess player with bipolar coaching disadvantaged youth, a champion surfer and his addiction, research on how the bipolar brain works, a painter’s passion, friends’ and family’s perceptions of this brain-based illness, or a celebrity who takes a close look at other stars living with bipolar, each of these “biopics” is worth watching. They have a ton of information and share intimate details about people’s struggles and successes while dealing with ongoing symptoms of bipolar’s depression, mania, and anxiety. The mix includes emotional, interesting, and sometimes-thrilling subjects ranging from funny to heart-tugging to educational. We know you’ll identify with some and cheer for all—and learn a thing or two from our fellow bipolar champions.
Kissed by God is a film about bipolar disorder and opioid addiction, as seen through the life of three-time ASP World Champion surfer Andy Irons. The pride of Hawaii and revered for his blue-collar rise to fame and success, Andy was known as the “People’s Champion” throughout the world. However, many people were unaware of his internal struggle with drug use, omnipresent in the multibillion-dollar surf industry. As the opioid epidemic has risen to a national emergency in the United States, the untold story of Andy’s life serves to tear down the myths associated with substance abuse and bipolar disorder. Watch the trailer.
#3 Ride the Tiger: A Guide Through the Bipolar Brain (2016)
This film tells the story of highly accomplished individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder, including former congressman Patrick Kennedy, attorney Terri Cheney, and cartoonist Ellen Forney. It seeks to find out where the biological breakdowns occur and how we can possibly preempt, fix, or rewire our brains to move forward to stability. Watch the trailer.
#4 Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive (2006)
This two-part television documentary features Stephen Fry, the inimitable British actor, comedian, author, and advocate for both bipolar and LGBTQ communities. Speaking candidly about his own experiences and interviewing other celebrities and public figures—including Carrie Fisher and Richard Dreyfuss—Fry explores the effects of living with bipolar. In 2007, the film won the International Emmy Award for Best Documentary; a decade later, Fry followed up with another, The Not So Secret Life of the Manic Depressive: 10 Years On. Watch the trailer.
#5 Of Two Minds (2012)
Of Two Minds explores the extraordinary lives, struggles, and successes of three unique and compelling people living with bipolar. Their journey, from the painful to the painfully funny, opens an engaging and perception-changing view on those all around us who live in bipolar’s shadows … our sisters and brothers, parents and friends—and ourselves. Watch the trailer.
#6 Biography, “Patty Duke” (2003)
This episode of the popular TV series Biography documents the life of show-business legend Patty Duke, before and after her diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Among those commenting are her sons, Mackenzie and Sean Astin; husband, Michael Pearce; and director, Arthur Penn. Watch the first 10 minutes.
#7 Up/Down (2011)
Up/Down depicts the reality of living with bipolar by showing the delicate balancing act between euphoria and depression. The honest and detailed interviews shine a light on the varied experiences found in the bipolar spectrum from those with a diagnosis, their family members, and psychiatric professionals. Watch the trailer.
Enhanced primary care helps reduce ER visits October 1, 2020, CHAPEL HILL, NC—Integrating primary care services and behavioral health services appears to reduce emergency room visits among people with severe psychiatric conditions such as bipolar disorder, a new study suggests. American researchers, using the customary term “serious mental illness,” noted that individuals with such conditions...
Country musician Jason DeShaw combines his songs and his personal story to bring awareness of mental health challenges to audiences across Big Sky country. Growing up in rural Montana, Jason DeShaw set his eyes on the prize of country music stardom. Inspired by legends like Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash, he was writing songs, playing...
With bipolar disorder, we’re more likely to become overdependent on our digital devices. Here’s how personal tech can affect our moods—plus tips for self-protection. Are we too attached to our digital devices? That question has been debated for almost as long as the iPhone has been around, giving rise to the first National Day of...
Whether you live with bipolar or love someone who does, you can find comfort, wisdom, and strategies (maybe even a good laugh!) in these inspirational books. We can lose ourselves in the power of the written word, compelled by the raw emotions, deep insights, and humorous takes offered by others like us—people who share our...