After years of struggling with strange mood swings and other bizarre behaviors, when you’re finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you feel like you’re all alone, and that nobody else is experiencing the problems you’re experiencing.

But nothing could be further from the truth.  Over 60 million people struggle with bipolar disorder worldwide, and 2 million adults in the U.S. have BP.  There’s even a World Bipolar Day (WBD) to raise awareness about this disorder, which takes place every year  on March 30th.  WBD is sponsored by the International Society for Bipolar Disorders (ISBD) and reaches millions of people all across the globe.

There are a lot of myths about bipolar disorder, but they’re just that – myths.  Bipolar disorder is not rare – it affects many, many people.  And BP is not just “mood swings” like everyone has – it’s a complex disorder which needs to be treated by a physician.  Lastly, people who are treated for bipolar disorder aren’t in danger of “losing their creativity.”  Quite the contrary – getting control of BP may be the single most important

thing that an artist dealing with bipolar disorder can do to keep their creativity in check.

Even celebrities, who are in the spotlight and scrutinized for every move they make, suffer from bipolar disorder.  Catherine Zeta-Jones, Mariah Carey, Russell Brand, Demi Lovato, Jane Pauley, Jean-Claude Van Dame, Linda Hamilton, Vincent Van Gogh, Sinead O’Connor, and Carrie Fisher have all been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  These highly-creative individuals all found a way to live with their mental health issues and yet continue to excel in their respective artistic industries.

As an off-road race car driver who has raced against opponents from all over the world, I’ve had my share of challenges.  And now, as an ambassador for Mental Health America, I have the challenge of raising positive awareness about bipolar disorder – both among people who have BP and to the general public, who may not have an understanding of how BP affects others.

This is a challenge I’m excited to face.  Telling the truth about bipolar disorder and helping others learn the facts about BP is one of my main missions.  There is hope for people with mental health issues, and especially bipolar disorder.  We need to replace fear with hope, ignorance with knowledge, darkness with light.  I hope you join me in my journey for increased awareness about BP and the people who live with it everyday.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel – we just need to point the way for those who need help.