Famous people with mental illnesses

Virginia Wolf was a British novelist. Virginia suffered from mood disorder and her mood symptoms redated their other conditions. The nature and course of her mood and behavior symptoms were consistent with a diagnosis of an independently existing affective illness. Her family histories of depression, manic-depressive illness, and suicide coupled with their own symptoms were sufficiently strong to warrant their inclusion. Virginia most commonly suffered from bipolar depression with feverish writing periods and gloomy weeks.

She was put in a Asylum or psychiatric hospital, and made attempts of killing herself. Lionel Aldridge was the defensive end for the Green Bay Packers in the 1960’s, and he played in two super bowls. Lionel suffered from schizophrenia & was homeless for 2 & 1/2 years in the 1970’s. Lionel used to give inspirational talks to young people about his 20-year bout with schizophrenia and paranoia.

Lionel has been in numerous newspaper and magazine articles for his ability to fight the disease he has fought most of his life. His message was simple to families who have mentally ill children or adults, don’t give up on them. His motto was, ”Believe they can get well. ” Lionel lost his battle with schizophrenia and paranoia as he passed away in 1998. Eugene Gladstone O’Neill was born on October 16th, 1888 in New York City. He was one of the most famous play writers of all time. Eugene suffered from clinical depression.

Eugene often was placed in an Asylum or psychiatric hospital for numerous suicide attempts. He attended Princeton for one year, but was expelled. The following year Eugene enrolled at Harved University. O’Neill won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1936, and Pulitzer Prizes for four of his plays: Beyond the Horizon (1920); Anna Christie (1922); Strange Interlude (1928); and Long Day’s Journey Into Night (1957). O’Neill is credited with raising American dramatic theater from its narrow origins to an art form respected around the world.

He is regarded as America’s premier playwright. O’Neill continued to write until 1944 when he was stricken with a debilitating muscular disease which prevented further work. Without the ability to write with his hands, Eugene was forced to stop writing entirely. Eugene passed away in 1953. Jimmy Piersall had three different personalities while playing for the Boston Red Sox. Piersall acted differently before his disease, during his disease, and after his disease. Piersall suffered from Bipolar disease. He would yell at teammates, his family, and coaches.

Many felt his father was the main cause of his disorder because Jimmy could never do anything right in his eyes. After Jimmy hit an inside the park home run for the Red Sox he ran over the screen and started to climb over it. His father was on the other side, and Piersall was repeating, “Is that good enough for you dad? ” This enabled everyone to see Jimmy had serious problem. Piersall suffered a nervous breakdown and entered a sanitarium in the middle of the 1952 season. He made a comeback in 1953, and wrote a book about his struggles with mental illness, Fear Strikes Out, which was made into a motion picture.

Piersall’s problems were very public, but he carried himself with dignity, and with a distinct sense of humor about his ordeals. He never quite rid himself of his unique behavior, quipping that he’d “give ’em their money’s worth” if the crowds came out to see him. Gaetano Donizetti (1797 – 1848) was a world famous opera singer. Like Piersall Gaetano suffered from Bipolar depression. Death to close family members plagued Gaetano throughout his life. He met his wife Virginia Vasselli while he was in Rome in the 1820’s and later married her in 1828. They had three children, none of whom survived.

His parents died in the mid 1830’s. A year after his parents death, his wife succumbed to a cholera epidemic. Donizetti himself suffered from cerebro-spinal syphilis. Symptoms of his illness became evident as early as 1843, and by 1845 his condition deteriorated to the point that he was institutionalized for almost a year and a half. Friends in Bergamo finally arranged for Donizetti to be brought back to his home town, where he stayed at Baroness Scotti’s palace until his death in 1848. Robert Schumann (1810 to 1856) was one of the first Romantic musical composer.

Born in Zwickau, Germany in 1810, Robert Schumann stared his musical education on the piano. The son of a bookseller he began to experiment with composition at an early age, and also cultivated a passion for poetry and literature. At sixteen, after the tragic deaths of his sister and father, he entered the University of Leipzig to study law; but this didn’t last long, and soon he had left the school to pursue music with all his energies. He suffered from the disease know as Bipolar depression. Schumann began to suffer from mental illness in the early 1840’s.

Even while accepting a position at Mendelssohn’s conservatory in Leipzig, his brain was beginning to deteriorate. He attempted suicide, and was committed to an asylum in Bonn. There he died, at age 45, in 1856. Leo Tolstoy was an author, and lived from 1828 to 1910. Leo suffered from mental illness (Atychiphobia, Geniophobia, Polyphobia). Leo lived his life in the past, and that horrified himself. When young Leo would kill people in war, challenge men to duels with the purpose of killing them. Through a ten year period all Leo did was lie, steal, drink, turn to violence, and murder.

He claimed himself that, “There was not a crime I did not commit.. Thus I lived for ten years. ” His actions when younger, made Leo mentally ill later on in life, and caused him discomfort knowing what he used to do. Abraham Lincoln was elected the 16th president in 1860. Lincoln was the first Republican president in our history. While the country was at war, President Abraham had his own troubles. His son Willie died at the age of eleven, in 1862. People noticed he had changed. Abe was aging quickly, he never told jokes anymore, he was serious, and his eyes always looked sad.

As president on January 1, l863 Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, “One of the most important messages in the history of the world. ” He probably would have done more, but unfortunately he was assassinated on the night of April 14, 1865, by an actor John Wilkes Booth, while he was watching a play at the theater with his wife. Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), the second-oldest child of the court musician and tenor singer Johann van Beethoven, was born in Bonn. Around the year 1798 Beethoven noticed that he was suffering from a hearing disorder.

He withdrew into increasing seclusion form the public and from his few friends he was eventually left completely deaf. By 1820 he was able to communicate with visitors and trusted friends only in writing, availing himself of “conversation notebooks”. The final years in the life of the restless bachelor (he changed living quarters no fewer than fifty-two times) were darkened by severe illness and by the struggle over the guardianship of his nephew Karl, upon whom he poured his solicitude, jealousy, expectations and threats in an effort to shape the boy according to his wishes. Beethoven was also a Manic depression.

When the most famous composer of the age died, about thirty thousand mourners and curious onlookers were present at the funeral procession on March 26, 1827. John Keats: It is evident from Keats’s notes and letters that he was subject to violent mood swings. “I am in that temper,” he once wrote, “that if I were under water I would scarcely kick to come to the top. ” But he fought against his illness: “I shall get over my indolent fits. ” Trained as a surgeon, Keats embellished his surgery lecture notes with many impromptu sketches in the mar-gins–evidence of his wide-ranging interests, and also of his mercurial nature.

Inability to maintain a steady mood characterized his life; though by this own description he was sometimes “lax, unemployed and unmeridian’d,” his doctor once diagnosed him as suffering “the too great excitement of poetry. ” Keats had already lost both his father and mother by his early adolescence. Financial problems were never absent; his later years were scarred by his own tubercular illness and by that of his brother. Keats was nurse to his brother during his brother’s final illness and death, just as the English artist Severn was nurse to Keats in Rome during Keats’s final illness.

But however hard Keats found his life, he welcomed its challenges. He believed that “real grievances are displacers of passion,” and faced his very real problems, his suffering and death, with courage and dignity. Tennessee Lanier Williams was born on March 26, 1911 in Columbus, Mississippi. In addition to twenty-five full length plays, Williams produced dozens of short plays and screenplays, two novels, a novella, sixty short stories, over one hundred poems, and an autobiography. His works have been translated into at least twenty-seven languages, and countless productions of his work have been staged around the world.

Williams struggled with depression through out his life. At a young age he suffered a nervous break down, and he lived with the constant fear that he would go insane as did his sister Rose. For periods of his life, Williams battled with addictions to prescription drugs and alcohol. He was also tortured by the thoughts that he had abandoned Merlo at the time of his declining health. Most biographers attribute his inner conflicts in part to the social strain placed on Williams as a known homosexual during a hostile period in American history.

On February 24, 1983, Tennessee Williams choked to death on a bottle cap at his New York City residence at the Hotel Elyse. He is buried in St. Louis, Missouri. Newton, Sir Isaac (1642-1727), was one of the foremost scientific intellects of all time. Born at Wools Thorpe, near Grant ham in Lincoln shire, where he attended school, he entered Cambridge University in 1661; he was elected a Fellow of Trinity College in 1667, and Locution Professor of Mathematics in 1669. Newton was a premature child and was very small at birth.

Except for a few periods of severe insomnia and a persecution mania (perhaps due to overwork or mercury poisoning from his work at the Mint), Newton’s health was excellent until the last 3 years of his life. He died in his sleep at the age of 85, and was buried with full national honors in West Minister Abbey. Ernest Hemingway (1898-1961), born in Oak Park, Illinois, started his career as a writer in a newspaper office in Kansas City at the age of seventeen. Ernest suffered from suicidal depression. He was also an alcoholic, and had three wives.

His life revolved around boos, spending money, and depression. In 1960 Hemingway was hospitalized at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota for treatment of depression, and released in 1961. During this time he was given electric shock therapy for two months. On July 2 Hemingway committed suicide by shooting himself at his home in Ketchup, Idaho. Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) suffered from clinical suicidal depression. An acclaimed poet and novelist, she was considered the chosen one who had everything, including a family with a daughter and a son.

Plath’s surface perfection was however underlain by grave personal discontinuities, some of which doubtless had their origin in the death of her father when she was eight. During the summer following her junior year at Smith, having returned from a stay in New York City where she had been a student ”guest editor” at Mademoiselle Magazine, Plath nearly succeeded in killing herself by swallowing sleeping pills. After a period of recovery involving electroshock and psychotherapy Plath resumed her pursuit of academic and literary success, graduating from Smith with honors and winning a Fulbright scholarship to study at Cambridge, England.

After trying once to kill herself, Plath tried again, and failed. Her persistence of killing herself ended on February 11, 1963, where Plath killed herself with cooking gas at the age of 30. Michelangelo do Lodovico Buonarroti Simini (March 3,1475 – February 18, 1563) was born in Caprese, Italy. Michelangelo lived a very stressful life. At age 13 he was painting a chapel in the church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence. At the age of fifteen, Michelangelo began to spend time in the home and in the gardens of Lorenzo de’ Medic, where he studied sculpture under Bertoldo do Giovanni.

When Michelangelo was 17 Lorenzo died, this caused Michelangelo to move to Rome. Later in his life Michelangelo was asked by the pope to build a tomb. He designed a library, and created several different fresco. This pressure on Michelangelo forced him into mental illness. He was never allowed to grow up, instead he was forced into becoming the greatest sculpture in the world. Starting from 1498 until his in 1564 Leonardo was expected to produce everything and anything people asked of him. Mental illness is sometimes caused by stress. This caused was the downfall of the great Michelangelo.

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (1874-1965),was born on Nov. 30, 1874, at Blenheim Palace. Winston suffered from bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness, schizophrenia). Churchill’s mood would swing from being overly high to irritable and sad. Churchill was a terrible students, which could have contributed to his illness. Experts feel Churchill could have gotten bipolar from his father. Churchill’s condition got worse as he aged with time. Doctors told Churchill he was going through a phase and it would go away with time. Vivien Leigh (1913-1967). Vivien’s troubles began in 1945.

Leigh experienced attacks of hysteria, alternated with bouts of exhaustion and exhilaration while performing in a play. A terrible cough developed and she began losing a serious amount of weight. Diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB), Leigh continued performing until closing night, when she was taken directly from the theater to the hospital. After six weeks of treatment the TB showed signs of abating, and she recuperated at home over the following year. Just before Christmas 1946, another spell of hysteria prompted Olivier to ask Leigh to see a psychiatrist. She refused. Another series of similar attacks occurred again in April of 1952.

Drinking heavily, the combination of the alcohol and her TB medication added to her hysteria. Olivier was now convinced that Leigh was mentally ill and, for the first time, she came under the care of a psychiatrist. In 1953 while filming Elephant Walk in Ceylon, suffering from the heat and loneliness that she found terrifying, Leigh began having hallucinations while wandering alone through the night. Her conduct was making the filming impossible. Returning to Hollywood to complete the film, she again became hysterical during the 72-hour plane flight, trying to tear off her clothes and jump out of the plane.

Olivier was now desperately concerned about her condition. Leigh was flown to England and placed in Nether en psychiatric hospital. Charles Dickens was born on February 7th, 1812. Dickens had high anxiety problems. His father was in prison because he woes in debt. That meant Dickens had to work when young, so he couldn’t go to school. He was forced to quit school when was around 10 years old. He was always afraid of anything to do with money. His phobia in money resulted Patty Duke: Her manic-depressive disorder began to manifest itself when she was a young woman living in Hollywood, at the peak of her career, starring in The Patty Duke Show.

As the illness escalated, her life degenerated into frequent suicide attempts, drug dependency, wrecked relationships, and tantrums on the set. She began hallucinating and engaging in bizarre behavior like holding parties in her motel room for hordes of strangers (one of whom she married after a few hours’ acquaintance) and hiring two guys she met in a parking lot to manage her finances (with results that can be imagined). Finally, her illness was diagnosed and successfully treated with lithium, which she takes to this day and to which, she says, she owes her present stable, happy marriage and her very life.

Emperor Norton was a unique individual. Among some of his insane acts were he declared himself Emperor of San Francisco, protector of the Queen,and messenger to the Spanish people. Along with being clinically insane, Norton also suffered from bipolar disorder. Norton showed symptoms of: very poor judgment, irritability, denial that anything was wrong, unrealistic beliefs in one’s abilities and powers, and excessive high feelings. Norton also suffered from several different mood swings.


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