Today is World Bipolar Day. I wish I could say that with even a little happiness. It is important to spread awareness about bipolar disorder and other mental health issues around the world, but it is not an easy task. It’s important for people to know that bipolar disorder does not limit individuals. In fact, many people diagnosed with bipolar disorder are much more creative and passionate. Living with and managing a life with bipolar disorder is difficult, but it can be done.
There is a possible link between bipolar disorder and creativity. There are many famous people who struggle with bipolar disorder such as Vincent Van Gogh, Ernest Hemingway, Friedrich Nietzsche, Kurt Cobain, Russell Brand, Marilyn Monroe, Robin Williams, and many more people. There is a huge list of creative individuals that struggle with bipolar disorder. Creativity comes in many forms, from musicians, actors, artists, writers, and scientists. Not everyone who is creative has bipolar disorder and not all of those with bipolar disorder are creative. I wonder if there’s a link between creativity and other mental health disorders, or is it just with bipolar disorder?
I’ve never really thought of myself as creative, but I have been told I’m creative by other people. I’ve played many instruments growing up, the saxophone, clarinet, piano, and more. The one that stuck is the piano, which I love to play. I supposed I could consider myself a writer; I do blog almost every day. Maybe I am more creative than I think I am.
When I’m having an extra rough day or so, like I am right now, I try to find the positive side of things. So I started thinking what (if any) is the upside of bipolar disorder? Productivity, creativity, hypomania (before it gets too far), and personal strength are all positive aspects of bipolar disorder. These are the first things that come to my mind, but I had to think hard to find them. For every one thing that is even slightly positive, there are several things that are difficult and unpleasant.
I’m more productive when I’m manic or hypomanic, but not at all when I’m depressed. I love the few days that I become hypomanic, but I know when to stop it so it doesn’t get too far into mania. My house gets a good deep cleaning when I become hypomanic. It’s the one time I don’t mind doing those annoying tasks.
Of course, it’s always said that there’s a huge connection between individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder and individuals who are extremely creative. My bachelors’ degree is in graphic design. I love decorating and organizing things. I’ve also been told that writing is creative. It’s important to remember that creativity comes in many forms.
Personal strength is hard to see, but I know it’s there. I’ve been told that I’m courageous, knowledgeable, compliant, and willing to help others. These characteristics have taken years to grow to what they are, and I still don’t see all of them. I do try to keep growing in any way I can. I also try to do it with as little complaining as possible, but that’s probably not going so well.
Even though it’s hard to see, there are some positives to being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. One other thing I know is that if I wasn’t diagnosed with bipolar, I wouldn’t have some of the friends I have today. I have made several friends that I met in bipolar support groups, and I’m very grateful to them in my life.
I’ve been doing all my holiday and other gift shopping a little bit at a time. I should be all done in about a month or two. While I was organizing my gift ideas, I realized that I didn’t have any ideas for my grandma for her birthday, and that’s not right. So I started thinking and come up with an idea of creating a picture book of her through the years. She’s 90 years old; she will be 91 on July 25th of this year. I just want her to know how much she means to me. I told my mom about my idea and it turns out I already did something very similar when she turned 85 years old.
My mom had a better idea, but it’s a lot of work. I’m going to write a book about my grandma, “The Life and Times of Sylvia”. I will come up with some questions and my grandma will answer them. I will get to work on this project with my grandma. This allows me to spend more time with her and get to know her a little better. It will also give us something to talk about, making conversations easier. I told her about it yesterday and she loved the idea. I told her that it will take some time. Maybe she can answer one of my questions every time we talk.
Some of the questions I came up with were how she met my grandfather? What type of work did she do at MIT? What was it like living through the depression? What was Hebrew school like? I have many more questions and I can’t wait to get to know her better. This will be a lot of work, and at times it could be very difficult, but it will be worth it in the long run. I’m always worrying about losing my grandma. I think this is a great way to spend our time together. I don’t want to have any regrets in the end; that’s what this project is helping me with. Hopefully it will all work out.
It is a well-known fact that individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder are often very creative. Many of us who have bipolar disorder are overloaded with creativity during manic and hypomanic episodes. Usually, in the beginning of these episodes, we tend to sleep less and be more productive and happy. There are many different forms of art including music, writing, artwork (drawing or painting), photography, videography, acting, and many more. Personally, I tend to write more and organize my house when I’m manic or hypomanic. I don’t see anything wrong with embracing your creativity during these episodes; however, it’s still important to follow-up with your doctors and attempt to balance out your life. There is a thin line between being creative and having psychotic episodes; it’s happened to me several times.
I recently received a gift from my mom, who knows how neat and organized I like everything to be. She gave me an adult drawing book and some colored pencils. What a great surprise! One of the coloring books she got me is all postcards; you color in on one side and write your message and address on the other side. I have been using it as an outlet for my frustration and my energy. Today, I finished my first piece of artwork. I had to throw my first one away because I wasn’t happy with the way it turned out. Now, I can go back and forth between writing and drawing. They are both wonderful therapeutic tools for me to use.
You don’t have to be manic or hypomanic to be creative, although it is more common during those episodes. You don’t even have to be bipolar. All I’m saying is that many artists are predisposed to mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder; and many individuals diagnosed as bipolar are predisposed to being some type of artist. There are many famous and successful artists that lived years ago, before people believed in mental illnesses. Some of these famous artists include Leonardo da Vinci had bipolar and dyslexia, Michelangelo had OCD, Isaac Newton had bipolar disorder, Beethoven had bipolar disorder, and so did Vincent van Gogh. There are and have been so many world-wide famous artists that struggled with bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses. I am inspired by these famous artists that struggled mentally but were very successful in their artwork. We don’t always have to look at our bipolar disorder as a deficit; sometimes there are good things that come out of the disorder, as long as we stay on top of everything and don’t let our episodes get too out of control.