Inspired by the book BrainStorm, Sara Schley’s searing memoir of life on the bipolar spectrum, BrainStorm the Film will transform the landscape around bipolar as we know it. Our goal is to end the stigma, save lives, and maximize health for the millions of people with brains on the bipolar spectrum – and all those who love them.
About the Film (1:33)
Over 50 million people are living with debilitating depression today. Yet millions are misdiagnosed.
From Broken to Blessed (18:59)
Hear Sara’s story and learn more about the bipolar spectrum.
BrainStorm the Film is a project of Filmmakers Collaborative, a non-profit organization.
BrainStorm the Film is an unprecedented initiative that combines inspiring stories of people with lived experience of bipolar, cutting-edge science, and breakthrough treatments in one coherent narrative.
It tells a story of hope, substance, and beauty. The film will give viewers new knowledge and power to create real change in their lives: to go from devastation and despair to health and vitality.
The word “bipolar” conjures up images of wild highs, delusions, all-night sprees, and sudden mood crashes. But this manic-depressive behavior, also known as bipolar I disorder, exists only at one extreme end of what we now know as the “bipolar spectrum.” People whose brains fall elsewhere on the bipolar spectrum — bipolar II and others — experience severe, life-threatening depression, but do not exhibit classic mania.
One out of three people who are diagnosed with depression actually have a bipolar brain.
Yes, bipolar without mania does exist.
And since bipolar II depression can look so much like classic depression, misdiagnosis is rampant.
One out of three people who are diagnosed with depression actually have a bipolar brain – and the antidepressant drugs they are prescribed can lead to dangerous and even lethal consequences.
On average, it takes over 11 years for patients to get a correct diagnosis of bipolar II. In the meantime, they are suffering and dying. They are among the addicted, the incarcerated, the homeless, the suicidal. People with bipolar II are twice as likely to take their own lives as those with classic depression.
They are our friends and our family.
There is Hope.
Living with Bipolar
Yet it does not have to end this way. As celebrities such as Catherine Zeta Jones and Selena Gomez, as well as heroes like Major General Gregg Martin can attest, it is possible to live a long, successful life with a bipolar diagnosis. BrainStorm the Film will feature inspiring people living with bipolar – celebrities, physicians, entrepreneurs, military generals, Shark Tank millionaires, and more — who are leading rich and fulfilling lives.
Their stories provide inspiration and hope while erasing stigma and shame.
Transforming the Bipolar Landscape
With knowledge crucial for correct diagnosis, treatment, and recovery, BrainStorm the Film will save lives by expanding awareness of the bipolar spectrum and demonstrate how the right treatments can allow every person with bipolar to unlock their fullest potential and thrive.
Please join us on this important mission!
Bonnie Waltch Producer, Director, Writer
Sara Schley Co-producer, Co-writer,
Author of the memoir BrainStorm
Melanie Wallace Senior Producer
Dr Jim Phelps Consulting Psychiatrist
Dr Devika Bhushan Senior Advisor
Major General Gregg F. Martin, PhD Consulting Expert by Experience, U.S. Army (retired)
Holly A. Swartz, M.D. Consulting Psychiatrist