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8 African-American Celebrities Living With Bipolar Disorder

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Chris Brown
R&B/pop singer Chris Brown was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder in 2014 following a string of high-profile incidents that had the potential to end his career. Brown’s mental health issues were revealed during a court-ordered stay at a rehab facility where he was being treated.

In its report, the facility wrote that, “[Brown] became aggressive and acted out physically due to his untreated mental health disorder … severe sleep deprivation, inappropriate self-medicating and untreated PTSD,” adding that it’s not uncommon for patients suffering with PTSD and Bipolar II disorder to self-medicate with substances to help balance their moods swings and trauma triggers.

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DMX
In a 2011 interview with Arizona’s ABC15 news, rapper DMX opened up about his personal battle with bipolar disorder and substance abuse. DMX, whose legal name is Earl Simmons, told the news station he used to be able to distinguish “X” from Earl but was no longer able to.

“I used to be really clear on who was what and what characteristics each personality had,” he said. “But I don’t know at this point. I’m not even sure there is a difference. I am Earl when I am with my children. I miss my children, I miss my children, I miss my children.” In May, the rapper cancelled a number of tour dates and checked himself into a rehab facility in California citing a “medical emergency.”

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Jenifer Lewis
“black-ish” star and longtime actress Jenifer Lewis was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1990 but said she knew something was wrong well before then. One key trigger for Lewis’ mental illness was the death of her father 20 years ago.

“I was overwhelmed with my grief, unable to handle my feelings,” she said. “I cried and cried, and I started to scream. I wanted to be let out of the darkness.” The actress has undergone 17 years of therapy and 10 years of medication to help manage her bipolar disorder.

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Macy Gray
When asked if she was ever diagnosed with bipolar disorder, singer Macy Gray told the U.K.’s Daily Mail, “I used to be on medication, but I am not anymore. So, if I was bipolar, I guess I am cured.” Gray spoke about her bipolar disorder again in 2016, describing how for some people, mental illness can spark creativity.

“I know that there are a lot of people who are successful who have issues with drug [use] and mental disabilities,” she told Psychology Today. “When you’re insane, you say or do all kinds of shit. And sometimes you’re, like, ‘Whoa, I can’t believe you did that. You made history in a delusional moment.’”

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Metta World Peace, aka Ron Artest
Former Los Angeles Laker Ron Artest, now known as Metta World Peace, opened up about his struggle with biploar disorder back in 2012. Peace has made strides in managing his mental health ever since his memorable outbursts on and off the court. Most notably, there was that incident in 2004 when the then-Indiana Pacer stormed into the audience and punched a fan who had thrown a drink at him.

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“People still see me as erratic and wild at times, but I feel really good with where I’m at right now,” World Peace told mental health patients during a talk at a hospital. “I still like to have fun and do random things. I’m really comfortable because I address my issues.”

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Delonte West
NBA alum Delonte West fell from grace after a series of self-destructive incidents that derailed his basketball career. The ex-Cleveland Cavalier revealed his struggle with bipolar disorder in 2008 after going off on a referee during a preseason game. In a sit-down interview with The Washington Post in 2015, West said he’d been battling the disorder since childhood, finding himself in and out of children’s hospitals after he began swallowing pills and cutting himself.

In 2016, disturbing photos of the former basketball star surfaced showing him wandering the city barefoot in a hospital gown.

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Charles Haley
It was during his football career that NFL Hall of Famer Charles Haley realized he had bipolar disorder. The former Dallas Cowboy and five-time Super Bowl champion was diagnosed with the disorder in 2003 but initially put off seeking help. After coming to terms with his mental condition, Haley said he began taking medication to get better.

“There are still ups and downs, and when I’m down, that can be pretty tough,” he wrote in his book “Fear No Evil: Tackling Quarterbacks and Demons on My Way to the Hall of Fame. “It seems like it’s mostly at night, when I’m alone and feeling worthless. I’ve been in those real, real dark places where I’ve thought about killing myself.” Haley now sees a psychiatrist and a counselor to help manage his disorder.

(Photo by Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Jesse Jackson Jr.
In 2012, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., revealed that congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. was undergoing treatment at their facility for bipolar depression. “Congressman Jackson is responding well to the treatment and regaining his strength,” the clinic said in a statement.

Jackson’s mental disorder forced him to take a leave of absence for several weeks, leaving fellow legislators to wonder about his condition. His office initially said he was being treated for “exhaustion,” but it was later revealed that Jackson had collapsed in his home before being admitted to the clinic. The 51-year-old, who served 30 months in prison for stealing money from his own campaign fund, now receives close to $100,000 a year in tax-free workers’ comp benefits due to his bipolar depression.

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