Kim Novak’s dark childhood exacerbated Vertigo actress’ mental illness

Kim Novak presents an award at the 2014 Oscars

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The actress, 89, first opened up about suffering from bipolar disorder back in 2012, which she said she first developed in the early 2000s. Talking about the potential cause of her mental illness, Novak said: “I inherited my mental illness from my father, but the rape must have added to it.”

The tragic ordeal took place when Novak was a young teenager. It was an event that she never told her parents about.

“It was in my early teens by multiple boys in the back seat of a stranger’s car,” she told the Irish Times last year.

People with bipolar disorder, previously called manic depression, may bounce between phases of “extreme mood swings that include emotional highs” and severe lows, according to Mayo Clinic.

In an earlier interview, this time at the TCM Classic Film Festival back in 2012, she said that her depression phase is more acute. “I go through more of the depression than the mania part,” she said.

Novak, whose dad reportedly suffered from depression, is not wrong in suggesting she could have inherited her illness from her family. Bipolar disorder is more common in people who have relatives with it.

People who suffer traumatic childhoods are also more likely to develop bipolar.

Although Novak said she takes antipsychotic medication, she has never been on lithium, a common medication for bipolar disorder because it made her put on weight.

Some celebrities with bipolar disorder have described how the mania phases the disorder brings may embolden their creativity – such as Richard Dreyfuss and Stephen Fry.

Novak is no exception. She uses the fluctuating feelings that come with her condition to fuel her painting work.

“All those rages and feelings of depression, they leave you when you let them out. And that’s what painting is all about,” said the actress.

In the 2012 interview, she also claimed that the pressure of Hollywood may also have contributed to the onset of her symptoms. Following her time in Hollywood, she reportedly started acting sporadically.

“I don’t think I was ever cut out to have a Hollywood life,” she said.

Although some have reported feeling empowered by bipolar, it is linked to many serious life problems, meaning it is important to seek help.

Drug and alcohol misuse, suicidal thoughts, and damaged relations may be common among people with bipolar.

In the UK, the NHS offers psychological therapies as a service. Your GP may refer you but it is possible to refer yourself.

The types of things the NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies services may provide are talking therapies and help for conditions like bipolar disorder.

Therapy services near you may be found on the NHS website here:

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