Tuesday, November 7, 2017

A Bipolar Upside Rarely Mentioned

There are some things people with various forms of personality disorders and manageable mental illnesses do very well. Like all others, including bipolar people like myself, there are also some things we do rather poorly. I'll concentrate my thoughts here on being bipolar since, as luck would have it, I happen to be an expert on the subject. While I don't want to minimize the negative effect a personality disorder like bipolar might have on a person -- here's a rarely mentioned truth about it. There's actually an upside. Talk about a conundrum huh?

According to a recent study published (4/2017) in Psychology Today: "It is not known why the link between bipolar and creativity exists. However, some experts speculate that it may stem from the experience of being bipolar – that the intensity of feeling that accompanies episodes of mania and depression leads to the heightened awareness that allows for great creative expression."

From personal experience, I can only agree that there is, in fact, a "sweet spot" built into the higher end of our emotional spectrum. We begin feeling an extra shot of creativity. Frankly, "an extra shot" is an understatement. Suddenly, something has to change to satisfy our overflowing creative juices. We have to move. We have to change the oil. We have to clean something. We have to fix that one warped board on the deck. We have to do something to make the world a better place. Trust me, if mania is anything at all, it's definitely exhausting.

It's been well documented that Abraham Lincoln, the man who took upon his shoulders the greatest paradigm shift in all of humanity, suffered from the dark depressive symptoms of bipolar. Ted Turner, a bipolar poster boy if ever there was, changed the world with his initially wacko idea of CNN. Then when one adds other bipolar people like Mozart, Beethoven, Charles Dickens, Frank Sinatra, Earnest Hemingway, Charles Darwin, Dick Cavett, Richard Dreyfuss, Patrick Kennedy, the dark yet brilliant Friedrich Nietzsche, the recently diagnosed Catherine Zeta Jones, and even Winston Churchill to the afflicted cast, it makes the premise of a bipolar upside all the more difficult to refute.

So what's my point? Simply this -- a reasonable argument exists to widen the lens from which most people see bipolar and other mental illnesses. For millions upon millions of people in the world, that alone would be a game changer.

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