Health

The price of genius: TV wunderkind’s bipolar battle

Like many people living with bipolar disorder, TV wunderkind Adam Boland has enjoyed the invincible highs that can propel him into brilliance.

“When you’re on a high, you feel like you can do anything,” he has said.

And he is acclaimed for his extraordinary producing talents, driving Channel Seven’s Sunrise program into the number one spot for breakfast TV after two decades of dominance by Channel Nine’s rival Today show.

But the flipside of the highs, of course, are the debilitating lows.

Our condolences go out to Mr Boland, who this week went on indefinite leave for mental health reasons from his job as head of morning TV at Channel Ten just days after new shows Wake Up and Studio Ten launched to disappointing ratings.

He had also recently come out of a five-year relationship.

When the pendulum swings, bipolar disorder can drag normally active and outgoing people into the depths of paralysing depression.

Just ask people like British actor and writer Stephen Fry, rugby league legend Andrew Johns, Hollywood actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, media mogul Ted Turner, British comedian Russell Brand and former NSW Treasurer Michael Costa.

Although bipolar disorder can affect anyone, it has been suggested that it may be even more prevalent among highly successful people, such as sports stars, actors and leaders.

This may be partly because people with bipolar can be very driven, with heightened productivity, creativity and sensory perceptions during manic or hypomanic episodes.

When Andrew Johns went public with his condition, for example, he described having better reflexes and seeing gaps in the field that he would not be able to see in his normal state.

Bipolar can be managed with medication but is a lifelong condition. Stressful life events may contribute to depressive episodes.

Our thoughts are with Mr Boland.

*If you or someone you know needs help with mental illness, call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14. To find out more about bipolar disorder, go to http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au//

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