For the record
I love me some Britney Spears. I always have. And I remember, when she first started acting weird (shaving her head and stuff), I turned to my mom and announced, with absolute certainty, "She's bipolar." This was after I had finally sucked it up and started treatmnet but before she was officially diagnosed, mind you--and sure enough, a few months after that, the news of her diagnosis hit the press.
Now, she has a documentary out called "For the Record" that's been playing on MTV. I have to tell you, I know that a lot of people might think it's cheesy, but watching it makes me cry. I can absolutely relate to her. You see the Britney when she's genuinely happy; the Britney when she just puts on a "happy face" so that people won't see how badly she's struggling and drowning and feeling alone but God forbid you let people actually SEE it; and the Britney when she finally gives up pretending because she's SO far down and she can't keep up the facade anymore and it feels like looking up from the bottom of a pit and the light is so distant that it seems like you'll never see it again.
And even though some people may watch this and roll their eyes and write her off as another spoiled, rich celebrity, I have to tell you that it was actually hard for me to watch this documentary. Because even though the word "bipolar" never comes up, she does talk about "going from one extreme to the next," and that "the cool part is SO cool, and even though the heaven part is like HEAVEN, I've been to both places." To which I say: Amen, my crazy sista! And while I do think that yes, as it becomes more socially acceptable, the "bipolar" label is going to become overused, much as the "ADD" label has been slapped on every kid in schools today who doesn't want to sit still and listen. As I often say--and I saw this on a tshirt once--"I was bipolar before it was cool." Because even though those closest to me accepted the diagnosis--hell, WELCOMED it--and loved me anyway, there was (is) still a definite stigma out there about BP.
And that's the thing: pretty soon, you'll be able to announce that you're bipolar and people will look at you like, "Yeah, who isn't?" without even batting an eyelash. But it isn't going to take people like me coming out of the BP closet to change the status quo. It's going to take those in the public eye to step up and admit to the diagnosis for it to become more mainstream and accepted.
So....yeah. It bothers me that even now, in this documentary, she doesn't come out and use the dreaded "b" word. But there's a select group of us out there who truly understand what she's talking about when she says that these days, she no longer feels like her life is out of control. In fact, she says, "it's too IN control. There's no passion anymore, there's no excitement." Roll your eyes all you want to, but if that doesn't express how it feels to go from a hypermanic state to being on the very medication that is supposed to "fix" you and, instead, takes so much of the joy and creativity and happiness OUT of your life, then I don't know what does.
I can go through this entire documentary and point out each and every line that is a veiled reference to bipolar disorder. Am I reading too much into it? Am I looking for shit that isn't really there? Is she, when it comes down to it, just another spoiled, messed-up celeb? Sure, there are people out there--maybe even some of you--who think so.
But then again, being bipolar is something that you can't possibly understand from the outside looking in.