The bipolar super power

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Before I start this post I would like to emphasize the importance of remaining on bipolar medication and seeking help when you feel overwhelmed or unable to cope with life. This post is not about trying to romanticize bipolar disorder but rather about encouraging those suffering from bipolar to not only see the bad but also to embrace the positive.

I know there are many negatives associated with bipolar disorder, but little attention is paid to the ‘super power’ that comes with bipolar.

First off, here’s a list of well-known bipolar sufferers;-

  • Demi Lovato
  • Carrie Fisher
  • Catherine Zeta-Jones
  • Claude Van Damme
  • Russell Brand
  • Mel Gibson
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Amy Winehouse
  • Vivien Leigh (|Gone with the Wind)
  • Frank Sinatra
  • Edgar Allan Poe (Writer)
  • Richard Dreyfuss
  • Axl Rose
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Mike Tyson
  • Virginia Wolf
  • Ernst Hemmingway
  • Vincent van Gogh
  • Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Any many, many more

What is interesting is that the names on the list are artistes who have been able to tap into a deep source of creativity and experience.

I honestly believe that with the highs and lows of bipolar comes a profound understanding of emotions and the effect they have on lives. Accompanying this is the ability to acknowledge these emotions and inhabit the very soul of them.van-gogh-698329__340

Having read many of the bipolar blogs on WordPress (and other sources), I am astounded at the power with which bipolar writers portray emotions and feelings. There seems to be an intense connection between the writer, the feeling and concept.  Certainly some of the greatest creators of our times are ‘credited’ with having intense mood swings vacillating between heights and depths.  How could this not acquaint them with the entire spectrum of human moods?

If you have been diagnosed with bipolar I pretty sure that you have become familiar with ;-

  • Gut wrenching sadness
  • Feelings of loathing and hate
  • Extreme inexplicable joy
  • Crazy thoughts
  • Wildness
  • Depths of despair
  • Profound anxiety
  • Absolute desperation
  • Boundless energy
  • Pangs of regret
  • Deep darkness
  • Brilliant light
  • Coldness and searing heat
  • Bursts of creative genius
  • Racing and then barely moving
  • Embracing and discarding
  • Winning and losing
  • Crashing and flying

All the emotions of a life time will have found their way into your journey and stayed with you for differing lengths of time. You know them, you recognise, you feel them over and over and over again.

This is your super power.

van-gogh-2

It enables work to be borne out of a spherical place with intense raw emotion. It is able to unite souls and feelings and words. It is able to explore places that ‘bipolar-less’ people can’t. It is able to draw solutions from bare lifelessness . It is able to feel deeply and all consumingly. It is able to connect every fibre of the mortal man.

It is unique to the bipolar world and its yours if you own it and claim it.

Of course there will be many times where these emotions disable you and hold you captive, but in between the bad spaces there is an opportunity to create something heart-felt and compelling.

Yes, stigmas still abound around mental illness, but I think its time that bipolar gets the creative credit it deserves.

For me, this sums it all up; –

Starry, starry night
Paint your palette blue and gray
Look out on a summer’s day
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul

Shadows on the hills
Sketch the trees and the daffodils
Catch the breeze and the winter chills
In colors on the snowy linen land

Now I understand
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free

They would not listen, they did not know how
Perhaps they’ll listen now

Starry, starry night
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze
Swirling clouds in violet haze
Reflect in Vincent’s eyes of china blue

Colors changing hue
Morning fields of amber grain
Weathered faces lined in pain
Are soothed beneath the artist’s loving hand

Now I understand
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free

They would not listen, they did not know how
Perhaps they’ll listen now

For they could not love you
But still your love was true
And when no hope was left in sight
On that starry, starry night

You took your life, as lovers often do
But I could’ve told you Vincent
This world was never meant for
One as beautiful as you

Starry, starry night
Portraits hung in empty halls
Frame-less heads on nameless walls
With eyes that watch the world and can’t forget

Like the strangers that you’ve met
The ragged men in ragged clothes
The silver thorn of bloody rose
Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow

Now I think I know
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free

They would not listen, they’re not listening still
Perhaps they never will

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “The bipolar super power

    Garth Amundson, Psy.D. said:
    October 23, 2016 at 02:27

    That’s a wonderful set of lyrics by Don McLean, a touching tribute to Van Gogh and a reminder to us of the latent creativity dwelling within psychic suffering. I have long been fascinated with the ambitious creativity that is often emblematic of “bi-polar”, or, as it was formerly called, “manic-depressive” mental states. Austrian-British psychoanalyst Melanie Klein (d. 1960) speculated that mania is an attempt to repair the real or imagined damage that the individual feels that they have inflicted upon others. She believed that the ranks of artists are filled with manic-depressive individuals because the creation of an artistic work – be it literature, dance, song, sculpture, painting, etc. – is an unconscious attempt to symbolically repair such real or imagined damage, hence, to render the world whole again. In the work of art Being is restored to its untainted, impeccable state. But the phase of manic creativity turns to one of dark depression when the individual must face life in the real world, with all of its imperfections and dire disappointments.

    Barb Knowles said:
    October 24, 2016 at 00:45

    I LOVE this post! I’m sure you won’t be surprised to know that I’m Bipolar II. ❤

    emergingfromthedarknight said:
    November 8, 2016 at 08:23

    To feel the extremes of life both high and low
    To not be impervious to the thousand winds that blow
    To you may seem a curse or a taint
    But to my mind speaks of the soul of a saint

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