Growing up I had a major fascination with Adam Ant., a.k.a. Stuart Goddard. It was 1983, I was thirteen, and Adam Ant was a huge hit in L.A. I found it thrilling that he resembled my first crush with his dark hair and mesmerizing green eyes. Adam Ant’s sexy video “Strip” hit the MTV airwaves and his unique British style had this Anglophile in a tizzy. I never thought I’d be a punk/New Wave kind of girl, but Adam Ant’s music drew me in. In later years Adam Ant turned to acting, appearing on one of my favorite television shows, the hit Northern Exposure. (Interestingly, Adam Ant claims he does not own a television. I don’t know the reason, but if I find out, I’ll post the answer in the comments section!)
Twelve years later Adam Ant released a gorgeously written and produced solo album “Wonderful” that was radically different in style from his earlier work. It’s full of poignant, soulful lyrics and melodic acoustic tunes woven between the rockers. He continues to release records and has an active musical career. He has one daughter, Lily, who is on the cover of his 2013 album “Adam Ant is the BlueBlack Hussar Marrying the Gunner’s Daughter”.
Little did I know while I listened to Adam Ant during my formative years that thirty years later I would have something in common with this brilliant, creative artist.
Bipolar illness. Inspired to learn more about the man behind the costume, I bought his highly acclaimed autobiography Stand & Deliver. In it he discusses his childhood physical abuse, and a suicide attempt made long before he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age twenty-one.
Adam Ant (I can’t separate the two words!) has suffered public humiliation due to actions affected by his mental illness but also, in discussing his condition so openly with the media, he has become an inspiring mental health advocate. He is involved with the Black Dog Campaign, a mental health awareness group. I love his highly expressive quotes about bipolar and I wanted to share some of them with you here.
In a 2010 interview with The Sun he said, “In the past I’ve been a robot. It’s been an out-of-body experience. Bipolar means up and down and that’s me…Music has always been the best medication. I was on sodium valproate for seven years…I couldn’t get to sleep and I didn’t make love for seven years. My hair fell out and I couldn’t pick up a book as I couldn’t concentrate. I didn’t write a song or pick up a guitar in that time – and piled on the weight. I might as well have been dead. I work very closely with my GP and any decisions I make are made with him”
I located an excellent 2011 BBC interview with Adam Ant in which he stated these insightful, provocative quotes (I encourage you to read the whole article at the link provided below.)
Q: You’ve said in the past you have bipolar disorder. Did you ever feel the condition taking hold of your life?
A: “I don’t accept the terminology.”
“You need the dark side and you need the light side to be creative. If it’s all great, then you’re a Teletubby. And I’m not a Teletubby.” (from Dyane: no offense to the Teletubbies, but this quote really speaks to me…)
“As long as you pursue your work without hurting anybody, you should be left alone.”
“Mental health needs a great deal of attention. It’s the final taboo and it needs to be faced and dealt with.”
“It’s not something I’m ashamed of. It’s not something I’m particularly proud of. I did wrong things as a result of it.”
“But there’s only one thing worse than making a mistake, and that’s not learning from it… and I’ve learnt from it.
When Adam Ant asserts, “But there’s only one thing worse than making a mistake, and that’s not learning from it… and I’ve learnt from it.” I nod my head in agreement. I’ve learned many things about living with bipolar disorder, and it’s going to be a lifelong course. After making the most valiant effort of my life in attempting to taper off bipolar medication last year, I learned I cannot live that way. Call me Pollyanna, but I actually think there is a possibility a cure for bipolar will be found in our lifetime, but that’s another post for another day.
In any case, I’m learning the hell out of this malady – more than I learned during my four-year literature degree studies at the University of California. I do actually have a degree in bipolar disorder: an M.D. degree – manic depressive! 😉 (Sorry, I couldn’t resist that one.)
Have a great weekend! And thanks for reading.
Here’s the link to the original BBC interview with Adam Ant:
Adam Ant’s official website: