Approximately one in every hundred people on earth suffers from Bipolar Disorder (or Manic-Depressive Disorder, as it was previously called). Those who are affected alternate between being manic and being depressed. During manic times – which can last days, weeks, or even months – they are incredibly energized, sleep little, have racing thoughts, talk compulsively, and have grand or even delusional ideas of what they can accomplish. Then they may switch to the opposite – a period of depression and exhaustion, during which they may not be able to work or function normally.
So many people familiar to us, either in the present or in the past, have struggled with Bipolar Disorder: composer Ludwig Von Beethoven, scientist Isaac Newton, Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh, author Virginia Woolf, actress Vivian Leigh, singer Frank Sinatra, former news anchor Jane Pauley, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, singer Mariah Carey, actress Carrie Fisher, and actor Mel Gibson.
Prior to 1949, there were no effective treatments for this disease.
It was a time like no other in American history – the 1960s. It was about Woodstock, the Vietnam War, racial tension, new kinds of music, communes, experimentation with drugs, and free love. It was the perfect time for people like Charlie Manson to create a cult and lure young women into it.
Dianne Lake was the perfect target for him. As a teenager, Dianne had a difficult home life. Her parents had become enamored with marijuana, then acid. They began to shun material possessions, and traded away their suburban house for a decrepit trailer that broke down shortly after they drove off in it with their kids. They switched to living in communal housing, where Dianne and her siblings lived in cramped quarters with adults feeling free to do drugs, walk about naked, and have sex with anyone they wanted.
Her parents basically just stopped being parents, and were only interested in their new lifestyle. Several times they took Dianne somewhere and then took off, forcing her to hitch a ride home with strangers. By the time she was 14, Dianne was fed up with her parents. They gave her a note saying she had permission to be free of them and live as she wanted. That was when she met and moved in with Charlie’s “family”.