- In a new interview for her cover on Rolling Stone, Halsey opened up about living with bipolar disorder.
- The singer-songwriter says she has been "committed twice," and has been suffering through a manic episode for a long time.
- Experts explain what bipolar disorder is and how common it is to be hospitalized for the condition.
Halsey is opening up in a new interview about what it's like to live with bipolar disorder—and she says she's gone to extreme lengths to keep herself safe.
"I've been committed twice since [I became] Halsey, and no one's known about it. But I'm not ashamed of talking about it now," the singer-songwriter told Rolling Stone. "It's been my choice. I've said to [my manager], 'Hey, I'm not going to do anything bad right now, but I'm getting to the point where I'm scared that I might, so I need to go figure this out.'"
Bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder characterized by extreme highs (known as manias) and lows (depressions). Halsey, whose real name is Ashley Nicolette Frangipane, said she's currently in a manic period which is "still happening in my body. I just know when to get in front of it."
Halsey said her manias are "that thing in the back of our minds that drives us to outrageous thoughts. Like when you're driving a car and you're like [she mimes suddenly cutting over the wheel], or you're on top of a building, and you're like, 'What if I just jump?' You are controlled by those impulses rather than logic and reason."
The mania has been going on for a long time, Halsey said, and she knows it will end soon, pushing her into a depression. "I know I'm just going to get f—ing depressed and be boring again soon," she said. "And I hate that that's a way of thinking. Every time I wake up and realize I'm back in a depressive episode, I'm bummed. I'm like, 'F—. F—! This is where we're going now? Okay…'"
What is bipolar disorder, exactly?
Bipolar disorder (aka manic-depressive illness) is a brain disorder that can cause someone to have unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out daily tasks, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Bipolar disorder is broken into four main categories: bipolar I, bipolar II, cyclothymic disorder, and other types. (Halsey hasn't specified which type she has.)
During a mania, a person with bipolar disorder might experience the following symptoms:
- Heightened mood and exaggerated optimism
- Excessive irritability or aggressive behavior
- Decreased need for sleep without feeling tired
- Inflated sense of self-importance
- Racing speech and racing thoughts
- Impulsiveness and poor judgment
- Reckless behavior
- Delusions and hallucinations
And during a depression, a person with bipolar disorder might have these symptoms:
- Drawn-out sadness
- Big changes in appetite and sleep patterns
- Irritability and anger
- Loss of energy
- Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
- Inability to concentrate
- Social withdrawal
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Rcurring thoughts of death or suicide
How common is it for someone with bipolar disorder to be hospitalized?
"Only a small percentage of patients with bipolar disorder end up in psychiatric care," says licensed clinical psychologist John Mayer, PhD, author of Family Fit: Find Your Balance in Life. Still, he estimates, about 10 to 15 percent of people with bipolar disorder end up seeking in-patient care.
There are a few reasons why someone with bipolar disorder might benefit from in-patient care, says Jed Magen, DO, associate professor and chair in the department of psychiatry at Michigan State University. During depressive episodes, a person is at a much greater risk of suicide; During manic episodes, they can become psychotic, have delusions or hallucinations, or "do something that can put their safety at risk," Dr. Magen says.
The length of inpatient stays varies, but most range from six to nine days. "The purpose of the hospitalization is two-fold," Mayer says. "The first is to protect that person or others and the second is too stabilize the mood swings through trials of medications in an observable and safe environment."
What can people with bipolar disorder do to prevent getting to that point?
Bipolar disorder is generally treated with a combination of medication (like mood stabilizers, anti-psychotics, and antidepressants), and it's crucial to take the medication "religiously," Mayer says. Undergoing regular psychotherapy is also important, he says. That way a therapist can work with the patient and monitor mood changes.
A consistent sleep schedule is also important, Dr. Magen says. "We know that inconsistent sleep is one of the things that can trigger manic or depressive episodes," he notes.
Ultimately, experts stress that having an open, honest, and consistent dialogue with a medical professional you trust is key to keeping bipolar symptoms under control.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.
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