Was John bipolar??? | John Lennon | Fab forum

Please consider registering
Guest

Log In Register

Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search

— Forum Scope —

  
 

— Match —

   

— Forum Options —

   

Minimum search word length is 4 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

Was John bipolar???
13 October 2011
6.56pm
seaglass eyes sunny smile
The Kingdom of Marigold
Candlestick Park
Forum Posts: 589
Member Since:
20 September 2011
Offline

I've been thinking a lot about John in the past few weeks, and I've often wondered about this: does anyone else think John might've been bipolar? I'm not saying for sure or anything, and I might have a tendency to overdiagnose things like this, but a lot of things seem to stack up as evidence. He definitely had some serious mood swings, deeply depressive periods ("fat Elvis" period, feeling suicidal in India, etc.) and he obviously had a tendency to self-medicate. Also, in the extended version of his last Rolling Stone interview, he mentioned something about having days where he'd withdraw from Sean more, because he wouldn't be feeling emotionally stable. Just as an amateur, I think there's a reasonable chance he was in fact bipolar. I know this is  mainly opinion-based as we'll never really know for sure, but…any thoughts? Sorry about starting such a serious topic, guys, but I've been wondering about this for quite a while now, and I'd like to know if I'm the only one who thinks so or not.

"Now and then, though, someone does begin to grow differently. Instead of down, his feet grow up toward the sky. But we do our best to discourage awkward things like that." "What happens to them?" insisted Milo. "Oddly enough, they often grow ten times the size of everyone else," said Alec thoughtfully, "and I’ve heard that they walk among the stars." –The Phantom Tollbooth
13 October 2011
8.33pm
mithveaen
Sitarday's room
Apple rooftop
Forum Posts: 4633
Member Since:
1 May 2010
Offline

I think it's an interesting question. He might have been bipolar.. but honestly I don't know much about this problem to say it.

 

I think John had a lot of unsolved issues when he was young, and his personality and all the pressure of being a Beatle didn't help at all. Having Paul, George and Ringo helped him but not for long.

Here comes the sun….. Scoobie-doobie…… Something in the way she moves…..attracts me like a cauliflower… Bop. Bop, cat bop. Go, Johnny, Go. Beware of Darkness…  I believe in SH...
13 October 2011
8.42pm
mr. Sun king coming together
Nowhere Land
Apple rooftop
Forum Posts: 6919
Member Since:
19 September 2010
Offline

In a word… no. The drugs (and the fact he's 25. It doesn't seem uncommon at that age) caused the Fat Elvis period. As for his suicidal period in India, well that's withdrawal. Drugs, and his childhood "issues" are the main issues, but bipolar I doubt.

As if it matters how a man falls down.'

'When the fall's all that's left, it matters a great deal.

13 October 2011
8.43pm
minime
Candlestick Park
Forum Posts: 515
Member Since:
16 February 2011
Offline

He might well have been. Although his "symptoms" could fit to a range of different disorders. It's kind of funny that despite his obvious psychiatric issues, no medical treatment (as far as I know, maybe I'm wrong) was offered for him. Well, he did go through his primal scream therapy... I hope it helped him.

13 October 2011
9.05pm
meanmistermustard
Moderator



Forum Posts: 11223
Member Since:
1 May 2011
Online

I dont think he was. Certainly the drugs he took were a massive factor in his state of mind plus the rejection and loss of both parents in his early childhood, dont forget that John had to chose between his mum and dad when very young. There was no space to breath during Beatlemania and to be blunt he married Cynthia mainly down to her falling pregnant and so was trapped in a marriage in Weybridge that even if he wanted to he couldnt be around for. That would all add to changes in state of mind and emotion dependant on current circumstances.

In India along with drug withdrawl John was also trying/battling to decide between staying with Cynthia and Julian or leaving them for Yoko. That also would have been a huge emotional experience.

I would put down the withdrawls from Sean down partly to his return to the music scene after 5 years and the nerves that would have brought, perhaps bringing up fear of rejection again (would the public accept him?). Plus there were rumours that not all was well in his marriage to Yoko (its difficult to know what to believe and what not to in their marriage as both Yoko and John painted idealistic pictures that were simply not all that accurate).

Don’t make your love suffer insecurities, trade the baggage of self to set another one free. ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)
13 October 2011
11.05pm
seaglass eyes sunny smile
The Kingdom of Marigold
Candlestick Park
Forum Posts: 589
Member Since:
20 September 2011
Offline

Thanks for responding, people. I didn't think it was definite, just a possibility. minime, you have a point about John's issues fitting a lot of disorders. sun king and mistermustard, I know the drugs contributed to his mindstate, but I also think his mindstate (and potentially an "addictive personality") caused him to do much more drugs than he would have otherwise. A sort of chicken-and-the-egg thing. The drugs and the psychological problems fed into each other. On a lighter note, meanmistermustard's reference to Cynthia "falling pregnant" cracked me up. I don't think I've ever heard that wording before. It kinda sounds like an illness when you put it that way.a-hard-days-night-george-8

"Now and then, though, someone does begin to grow differently. Instead of down, his feet grow up toward the sky. But we do our best to discourage awkward things like that." "What happens to them?" insisted Milo. "Oddly enough, they often grow ten times the size of everyone else," said Alec thoughtfully, "and I’ve heard that they walk among the stars." –The Phantom Tollbooth
13 October 2011
11.52pm
meanmistermustard
Moderator



Forum Posts: 11223
Member Since:
1 May 2011
Online

Doesnt falling pregnent mean it wasnt planned? There is probably someone out there screaming that thats completely wrong.

 

I think John being an 'all or nothing' person was a factor. When John found something that 'worked' or was found to be true or opened him up to a new experience he would totally submerse himself in it until doubts crept in. Then he would be very bitter and angry about it til the point when all that passed and he could talk about it kind of calmly.

Its noticable that John vented a lot of anger, bitterness, pain and hurt in the 1970 Rolling Stone interview and then when challenged about it later by George Martin responded with 'did you believe all that? i was stoned'. A lot of the time John acted in the moment and was surprised by how people reacted to it.

I love what Cilla Black said about him "John was a one off. No one has replaced him. He wasnt an angel. He was wonderfully wicked, thats why i loved him".

 

What all this has to do with anything, who knows.

Don’t make your love suffer insecurities, trade the baggage of self to set another one free. ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)
14 October 2011
2.20am
seaglass eyes sunny smile
The Kingdom of Marigold
Candlestick Park
Forum Posts: 589
Member Since:
20 September 2011
Offline

a-hard-days-night-ringo-8I think it's "getting pregnant" usually, I have quite honestly never heard "falling pregnant." As for your point about John being "all or nothing," I see the personality extremes he had as potentially being symptoms of bipolar disorder. Like I said in my first post, this isn't really something any of us can prove or disprove. Just something interesting to discuss.

"Now and then, though, someone does begin to grow differently. Instead of down, his feet grow up toward the sky. But we do our best to discourage awkward things like that." "What happens to them?" insisted Milo. "Oddly enough, they often grow ten times the size of everyone else," said Alec thoughtfully, "and I’ve heard that they walk among the stars." –The Phantom Tollbooth
14 October 2011
11.12am
meanmistermustard
Moderator



Forum Posts: 11223
Member Since:
1 May 2011
Online

seaglass eyes sunny smile said:

a-hard-days-night-ringo-8I think it's "getting pregnant" usually, I have quite honestly never heard "falling pregnant."

Maybe its a UK thing, its certainly an expression used.  

Don’t make your love suffer insecurities, trade the baggage of self to set another one free. ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)
14 October 2011
11.43am
seaglass eyes sunny smile
The Kingdom of Marigold
Candlestick Park
Forum Posts: 589
Member Since:
20 September 2011
Offline
10

meanmistermustard said:

seaglass eyes sunny smile said:

a-hard-days-night-ringo-8I think it's "getting pregnant" usually, I have quite honestly never heard "falling pregnant."

Maybe its a UK thing, its certainly an expression used.  

Oh, are you British? I'm American. That would explain a lot. Sorry!

"Now and then, though, someone does begin to grow differently. Instead of down, his feet grow up toward the sky. But we do our best to discourage awkward things like that." "What happens to them?" insisted Milo. "Oddly enough, they often grow ten times the size of everyone else," said Alec thoughtfully, "and I’ve heard that they walk among the stars." –The Phantom Tollbooth
14 October 2011
11.56am
cubbles4
A Beginning
Forum Posts: 4
Member Since:
28 May 2011
Offline
11

John was bi-winning ! blue-meanie

.....a-hard-days-night-ringo-6.....

Oh, c'mon, I had to crack that joke.a-hard-days-night-paul-11

14 October 2011
12.58pm
Into the Sky with Diamonds
New York
Apple rooftop
Forum Posts: 1347
Member Since:
10 August 2011
Offline
12

Bipolar is to a certain extent a modern term for manic depressive.

Lennon was certainly enthusiastic with every new cause, but I don't know that he was manic; and although he was a tortured soul, I don't know that he was depressive.

But yes, he wasn't "normal" in a statistical sense of the word.

And of course drugs can muddy any mind.

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)
14 October 2011
7.06pm
seaglass eyes sunny smile
The Kingdom of Marigold
Candlestick Park
Forum Posts: 589
Member Since:
20 September 2011
Offline

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" said:

Bipolar is to a certain extent a modern term for manic depressive.

Lennon was certainly enthusiastic with every new cause, but I don't know that he was manic; and although he was a tortured soul, I don't know that he was depressive.

But yes, he wasn't "normal" in a statistical sense of the word.

And of course drugs can muddy any mind.

I was using bipolar as the most current term for that disorder, yes. I do think he was in fact depressive, although the drugs did contribute to that. Manic I'm not quite so sure about. From watching videos of John, I see  pretty much on-and-off alot of overactive, extremely energetic behavior, as well as more controlled periods. It seems like this could be him having manic phases, or even some type of hyperactivity disorder, maybe ADHD. (I really do overdiagnose, don't I? Blame it on the fact that I've had the school counselor for homeroom since seventh grade) I'm pretty sure the overly energetic behavior isn't entirely drug-related, because I notice it on later stuff too.

"Now and then, though, someone does begin to grow differently. Instead of down, his feet grow up toward the sky. But we do our best to discourage awkward things like that." "What happens to them?" insisted Milo. "Oddly enough, they often grow ten times the size of everyone else," said Alec thoughtfully, "and I’ve heard that they walk among the stars." –The Phantom Tollbooth
14 October 2011
9.35pm
Zig
The Toppermost of the Poppermost
Moderator



Forum Posts: 4895
Member Since:
14 April 2010
Offline
14

I think it's a fair question. Like you say, seaglass eyes, it's opinion based unless we knew what was on his medical history. If not bipolar, maybe passive-aggressive? His turbulent background would certainly bring lesser people to their knees.

BTW, don't ever apologize for bringing up a serious topic. It will help offset my silly ones.a-hard-days-night-george-10

To the fountain of perpetual mirth, Let it roll for all its worth.

Every Little Thing you buy from Amazon or iTunes will help the Beatles Bible if you use these links: Amazon | iTunes

14 October 2011
11.09pm
seaglass eyes sunny smile
The Kingdom of Marigold
Candlestick Park
Forum Posts: 589
Member Since:
20 September 2011
Offline

Zig said:

I think it's a fair question. Like you say, seaglass eyes, it's opinion based unless we knew what was on his medical history. If not bipolar, maybe passive-aggressive? His turbulent background would certainly bring lesser people to their knees.

BTW, don't ever apologize for bringing up a serious topic. It will help offset my silly ones.a-hard-days-night-george-10

Part of the reason I love this site is the silly/serious combination….I'm not sure passive-agressiveness is an actual disorder though. Haven't done research on that.

EDIT: "Passive–aggressive behavior, a personality trait, is passive, sometimes obstructionist resistance to following through with expectations in interpersonal or occupational situations. It is a personality trait marked by a pervasive pattern of negative attitudes and passive, usually disavowed, resistance in interpersonal or occupational situations.

It can manifest itself as learned helplessness, procrastination, stubbornness, resentment, sullenness, or deliberate/repeated failure to accomplish requested tasks for which one is (often explicitly) responsible."

From Wikipedia…probably a reliable source, huh?a-hard-days-night-ringo-7

Also from Wikipedia  "In others, it has also been associated with creativity, goal striving, and positive achievements. There is significant evidence to suggest that many people with creative talents have also suffered from some form of bipolar disorder.[4] It is often suggested that creativity and bipolar disorder are linked."

I just remembered something from John's 1980 Playboy interview…  "I always was so psychic or intuitive or poetic or whatever you want to call it, that I was always seeing things in a hallucinatory way. It was scary as a child, because there was nobody to relate to. Neither my auntie nor my friends nor anybody could ever see what I did. It was very, very scary and the only contact I had was reading about an Oscar Wilde or a Dylan Thomas or a Vincent van Gogh– all those books that my auntie had that talked about their suffering because of their visions. Because of what they saw, they were tortured by society for trying to express what they were. I saw loneliness." Van Gogh was bipolar. Also, sometimes that disorder manifests in hallucinations. Just a thought.

Sorry, really long edit, but I kept thinking of new things.

"Now and then, though, someone does begin to grow differently. Instead of down, his feet grow up toward the sky. But we do our best to discourage awkward things like that." "What happens to them?" insisted Milo. "Oddly enough, they often grow ten times the size of everyone else," said Alec thoughtfully, "and I’ve heard that they walk among the stars." –The Phantom Tollbooth
15 October 2011
12.54pm
MeanMrsMustard
Nowhere Land
Apple rooftop
Forum Posts: 2732
Member Since:
9 June 2010
Offline
16

I don't think so. We all have our ups and downs. John's were more well-publicized because he was famous.
I think he might have just been slightly more extreme than most. As basically everyone before me said, the drugs were probably a big factor.

If I seem to act unkind, it's only me, it's not my mind that is confusing things.

18 October 2011
12.12am
robert
Hollywood Bowl
Forum Posts: 369
Member Since:
19 April 2010
Offline
17

sometimes he was and sometimes he wasn't

"She looks more like him than I do."
18 October 2011
11.46am
seaglass eyes sunny smile
The Kingdom of Marigold
Candlestick Park
Forum Posts: 589
Member Since:
20 September 2011
Offline
18

robert said:

sometimes he was and sometimes he wasn't

alright, that officially doesn't make sense....a-hard-days-night-ringo-7

"Now and then, though, someone does begin to grow differently. Instead of down, his feet grow up toward the sky. But we do our best to discourage awkward things like that." "What happens to them?" insisted Milo. "Oddly enough, they often grow ten times the size of everyone else," said Alec thoughtfully, "and I’ve heard that they walk among the stars." –The Phantom Tollbooth
18 October 2011
4.49pm
oneafter909
The station
Shea Stadium
Forum Posts: 402
Member Since:
9 June 2011
Offline
19

robert said:

sometimes he was and sometimes he wasn't

This is very confusing... isn't that what being bi-polar is? Uhhh

Step on the gas and wipe that tear away.
13 November 2011
6.48am
Happiness is a warm gun
Buddyhollyland
The Indra
Forum Posts: 38
Member Since:
11 September 2011
Offline

Between what I know of John and my fairly extensive experience with friends and other musicians with bipolar disorder, I am inclined to say very, very likely John was bipolar. Very. Actually, there's no doubt in my mind he was. It almost seems silly to me to try to deny it. If you've ever been in a band with a bipolar person who's not getting treatment, a lot of the stories about John during his Beatles days make a lot of sense. There was a lot of behavior that John exhibited, even well before he got into drugs (which IMO was just stereotypical bipolar-type self-medication in his case), which simply isn't normal for someone who doesn't have bipolar disorder, but is terribly normal for someone who does. John's issues with women, his cyclic problems with drugs and alcohol, his hypercritical attitude about his own work and hypersensitivity toward rejection and criticism from others, his bouts of withdrawal and depression, and so on. Someone above mentioned his suicidal ideation while in India–yeah, that's not normal for non-bipolar person who's just gotten clean. Go ask anyone at a Narcotics Anonymous meeting with any experience with sobriety. 

 

And I've even wondered if one of the contributing factors to the Beatles' decision to stop touring was John experiencing longer and more disabling bouts of depression and more erratic moods, which is typical of a bipolar person who is under a lot of stress and pressure for extended periods of time. When I read Paul's recollections about John's behavior during that period, it really sounds to me like they were, either consciously or unconsciously, accommodating John, as often happens with a bipolar person in a close-knit family-like group–things end up revolving around the bipolar person's highs and lows because you're dealing with a sick individual who cannot choose to not be like that. The only ways out of that is to distance yourself from the bipolar person, which the rest of the Beatles eventually did (and even Yoko for a time), or the bipolar person gets treatment, which John never got (at least not for bipolar disorder). 

I'm not a girl who misses much.
Forum Timezone: Europe/London

Most Users Ever Online: 597

Currently Online: vonbontee, meanmistermustard, Father McCartney, trcanberra, Annadog40, C.R.A., Sugarplum fairy, Merch
46 Guest(s)

Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)

Top Posters:

meanmistermustard: 11223

mr. Sun king coming together: 6919

Ahhh Girl: 6262

parlance: 5931

Annadog40: 5492

Mr. Kite: 5126

Zig: 4895

mithveaen: 4633

Ron Nasty: 3410

fabfouremily: 2951

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 88

Members: 2810

Moderators: 4

Admins: 2

Forum Stats:

Groups: 3

Forums: 34

Topics: 3281

Posts: 147535

Newest Members: Goodfinger, claptonlennon, ThatOneBeatlesFan, stuartswift

Moderators: Ahhh Girl: 6262, meanmistermustard: 11223, Zig: 4895, Joe: 3731

Administrators: Joe: 3731, Ellie: 1

Members Birthdays
Today: None
Upcoming: None