Succeeding in Hollywood is often seen as the pinnacle of dreams. Visions of becoming famous and rich are part of the American psyche. While it is not dreaming the impossible dream, what is typically overlooked is the brutal mental toll it can take on its creators and performers. When one combines that a high percentage of creative souls are prone to mental and emotional fragility.
“One per cent of the general population is bipolar but seven studies over the past 30 years have found rates of bipolar between 5% and 40% in populations of artists and writers reaching as high as 70% when cyclothymia, a milder syndrome of cycles of elation and gloom, is included.
In the case of unipolar or major depression, the population rate is about 5% but the rate among artists and writers in the various studies is between 15% and 50%.” (Artshub.com)
When pressure builds upon these individuals’ flameouts can become fodder for the media-often in cruel ways. We have watched several celebrities break down in publicly devastating events resulting in damaged careers and public humiliation. Brittany Spears shaved her head and attacked a parked car,
‘Superman the Movie’s’ Lois Lane actor Margot Kidder was found hiding in bushes while believing post office boxes were monitoring her.
Kanye West’s erratic behaviour is well known. These are just a few that have become part of the media’s most well-known events. Often celebrities’ struggles are more privately dealt with. Celebrities that have kept their struggles private for long periods include Katherine Zeta-Jones, Jim Carrey, and unfortunately, luminaries such as Robin Williams and Anthony Bourdain wound up taking their own lives.
Enter Ezra Miller. (They/Them)
Ezra recently achieved public acclaim for their folksy and genteel depiction of Barry Allen AKA the Flash in The Justice League and the forthcoming Flash movie. They were fast becoming a beloved figure much the same way Chris Evans depiction of Captain America. (Evans himself also struggles with an anxiety disorder.) It must be said that when studios pick actors to take on roles for tentpole film franchises the scrutiny is very heavy and intense.
So, for Ezra to have been selected clearly indicates that they have succeeded professionally. One is not trusted with participating in being cast in massive projects unless the studios believe that they cannot handle the responsibilities. Clearly, Warner saw them as a capable professional. The fact that they have been seen to be going through a mental health crisis should not diminish their talent and capability.
Far from it.
A great many people with mental illness have achieved greatness even though they have mental health concerns;
Brian Williams of the Beach Boys, actors David Harbour of ‘Stranger Things’, singer Demi Levato, beloved actor/writer Carrie Fisher, CNN Creator Ted Turner, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and even British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill.
So, for a young actor dealing with an untreated mental illness to have erratic, even dangerous, public conduct issues comes as no surprise to anyone who works in the mental health field.
We know that Ezra Miller is both aware of his illness and that it is untreated comes from Ezra themselves.
Miller stated in an interview with an Iowa CBS14 affiliate in 2020 the following.
- “I don’t want to go into a ton of detail here but to put it briefly-very poor self-treatment in both a physical and mental state.”
- “I did some not-so-healthy things to myself. I didn’t ask for help, I believed it showed weakness. I wish I would have asked for help sooner, and I realize now that things could have gone differently, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s a new opportunity for me. It’s a new day. This gives me a lot of time and life to grow and develop as a person.”
- You stated the following in that same interview; “Keep persevering the best you can, I know it’s different for every individual. Don’t just shy away from the world until it’s too late.”
- In a 2018 PopCrush article you are quoted as saying; “Art is the only thing that I have,” he said. “If I didn’t have art, I’d be so f—ing dead – so long ago, I’d be dead. I probably would have done it myself.”
For Ezra Miller to make these statements is greatly disquieting to someone like myself with Bipolar Disorder Type II. I know what I was like before my diagnosis, erratic, delusionary, and at times hostile. Occupational and life pressures have frequently left me contending with panic attacks, bouts of agoraphobia, and not a few incidents of self-harm and suicide attempts. Fortunately, I have the blessing of being on a medical regimen that manages these issues and has kept me alive and well for decades.
Ezra needs to be treated and his illness managed. The ability to realize that one has a mental health problem is a great step, but it is only one step on a long journey. It would be far better if he chooses this path; people seeking help themselves have a far greater chance of success rather than those who have the situation forced upon them. The wonderful thing is that it is never too late to seek help and deal with this illness. While Ezra must still deal with the consequences of their criminal actions when one owns up to and manages their illness peace tends to follow.
I hope they think about these things and pursues treatment.
— John R. White an author, and a certified Mental Health first aide responder.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness
HelpLine: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264). Text: 741741
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255
John R. White is a USAF veteran, and has served as Art Director for the Honor Flight Network, and Honor Flight Northwest Ohio. He is most well known as the Author of ‘The Tales of the Airship Neverland’ steampunk series, and the author and designer of the ‘Airship Neverland’ Roleplaying game.