Throughout history, it has been said that many of the most prolific writers, artists and musician were
often alcoholics, drug users and/or mentally ill. With this information, it should be no surprise that research has been done to see exactly how true the beliefs are and the results are unanimous; there is a link between mental illness and creativity. Now, that’s not to say everyone who drinks, smokes, does drugs or is mentally ill will become the next Ernest Hemingway, but many researchers and psychiatrists believe there is proof that there is some adjustment in the brain that while it may not work correctly in society's opinion, there is certainly something incredible going on.
BP Magazine published an article titled, Bipolar and Creativity - Is there a link? Lord Byron, van Gogh, Virginia Woolf, are only a few that are believed to have some form of impairment, and it worked to their advantage. It mentions in the article that, author Kay Redfield Jamison, PhD, psychiatry professor at Johns Hopkins University, argues that a highly disproportionate number of artists and writers are depressed, suicidal, or manic, that the bipolar and artistic temperaments often overlap, and that those temperaments are causally related. Having a link to greatness may fight stigma and improve self-worth for some, but does the link between bipolar and creativity really exist, and is it a gift?
While the piece goes into much technical detail and banter back and forth of the connection, from personal experience and what I have read I am a believer in the connection. The written works of Ernest Hemingway and Abraham Lincoln are prime examples of what our minds are capable of in some of our darkest moments.
The link between Bipolar Disorder and Creativity can be based on many things, from our extreme depressions to uncontrollable highs. In those moments, the brain is over stimulated and everything seems possible. The color's outside are brighter; the mind works faster, and the words that appear on the screen are clearer and more powerful. In my own experience, it is in these cycles that I can write and create without abandon, there is nothing to hold me back and something in my brain is triggered that I cannot explain.
To many, I know it will sound strange, but do the research and see what you find you just might be surprised at how many of us, there are.
Additional reading: 11 Historical Geniuses and Their Possible Mental Disorders
Thoughts From MY Cluttered Mind offers positive angles to the issue that faces those with mental illness. Living with Bipolar Disorder myself and being able to share my experiences with others, is the best way I know how to pay it forward. Life can be difficult, my goal is to bring a bit of hope to a place where many feel there is none.