Bipolar disorder affects 5.7 million adults age 18 or older (via NIH). Bipolar disorder is also known as manic-depressive disorder. It can cause a rollercoaster ride of emotions. Per Healthline, it’s characterized by extreme mood shifts, and people with this condition can have trouble managing day-to-day tasks at school or work, and have trouble maintaining their relationships.
Maria Bello said that the illness made her humble. “I think that my disease, since I’m medicated, is a gift, because I’ve gone so far through extremes — from the very bottom to the very top of human emotion and feeling,” Bello told Entertainment Tonight in 2015. “I think that I am more empathetic because of it.”
Bello used her personal experience with mental illness to enhance the depth of the characters she has played. In a 2016 interview with The Holland Sentinel, the actor discussed how she unified her life experiences with her work. Speaking on preparing for the role of a depressed and delusional mother in the horror thriller “Lights Out,” Bello said, “I was able to use my experience from that (bipolar disorder) and put it on the screen for the first time, remembering what it was to be that person who couldn’t get out of bed for three months, to try to understand what it was like to be in that kind of space, not understanding what reality was,” she said.