Rock band The Bipolar Bears, Adam Pullock, Dan McGuiness and Mick Seymour, all suffer from schizoaffective disorder, isolation, depression, and hallucinations but that hasn’t stopped them from having sold out shows for two years.
Having played at beyond blue fundraisers, mental health conferences, prisons and rehabilitation programs, amongst other things the bears say they draw and give inspiration from playing to people like themselves via the arts organization they are part of called Wild at Heart.
Phil Heuzenroeder is the artistic and managing director at Wild@heart, which is an organisation formed in 2006 dedicated to representing people with disabilities. He says the organisation is about honouring and validating the stories of people who live on the outskirts of society through disability, mental illness, social and economic exlusion.
“For some of our participants, being involved with Wild at Heart has literally saved their lives,” Phil said.
It hasn’t always been easy for the Bears. Adam Pollock, who is vocals and bass in the band said “I’ve been medicated against my will a number of times.” Although this was the case Adam still believes that having a mental illness gives him a perception of the world that others often miss.
Mick Seymour, drummer for the band said it may be a paradox, but his misfortune has turned into his lucky break.
“The creative outlet we have to express ourselves on a twice weekly basis gives us routine and something to look forward to every week, talking and performing on stage is the best anti-anxiety/anti-depressant medication you can get and you don’t even have to take a pill. A natural free high,” they said.
Although the Bipolar Bears take pride in their advocacy work for mental health they also believe they don’t just want to be regarded as “that mental health band, because we are a legitimate… good rock band.”
The Bipolar Bears, partnered with organisation Wild@heart are a force to be reckoned with as they’re taking their sound to the max, helping and inspiring many people along the way, mentally ill or not.
Read more about the Bipolar Bears at bipolarbears.com.au