Nine Musicians Discuss Chronic Illnesses

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These nine musicians who were open enough to talk to Paste about their experiences with chronic illness prove that the musical life isn’t always as glamorous as it seems. Listen to their stories about the realities of playing music while struggling with chronic illnesses ranging from kidney failure to multiple sclerosis.

Max Bemis
Say Anything

Chronic Illness:
Bipolar Disorder

How long have you had Bipolar Disorder?
Around 8 years.

How does it affect your professional life?
[I] need [a] certain amount of sleep every night or [I] start to get a bit kooky—can’t overwork or overtour or kookiness ensues, songs become increasingly kooky.

How does it impact your personal life?
Mild moodswinginess. Not too bad because I’m on medication and take care of myself, but that does mean I need to take four or five pills every night without fail. [As a result], I wake up very, very tired.

Outside of your professional and personal dealings with Bipolar Disorder, what else would you like others to know about it?
I’ve actually accepted this disease as a part of my personality and wouldn’t trade it for anything. Well, actually, 40-50 thousand dollars might tempt me, if anyone’s interested.

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