Bipolar Disorder and the Creative Genius

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Biology 202
1998 Third Web Reports
On Serendip

Bipolar Disorder and the Creative Genius

HimaBindu K Krishna

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is a psychopathology that affects approximately 1% of the population. (1) Unlike unipolar disorder, also known as major affective disorder or depression, bipolar disorder is characterized by vacillating between periods of elation (either mania or hypomania) and depression. (1, 2) Bipolar disorder is also not an illness that remedies itself over time; people affected with manic depression are manic-depressives for their entire lives. (2, 3) For this reason, researchers have been struggling to, first, more quickly diagnose the onset of bipolar disorder in a patient and, second, to more effectively treat it. (4) As more and more studies have been performed on this disease, the peculiar occurrence between extreme creativity and manic depression have been uncovered, leaving scientists to deal with yet another puzzling aspect of the psychopathology. (5)

Patients with bipolar disorder swing between major depressive, mixed, hypomanic, and manic episodes. (1-9) A major depressive episode is when the patient has either a depressed mood or a loss of interest/pleasure in normal activities for a minimum of two weeks. Specifically, the patient should have (mostly): depressed mood for most of the day, nearly every day; diminished interest or pleasure in activities; weight loss or gain (a difference of 5% either way in the period of a month); insomnia or hypersomnia; psychomotor agitation or retardation; fatigue or loss of energy; diminished ability to think or concentrate; feelings of worthlessness; recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal ideation or attempt. It is important to note that, except for the last symptom, all of these symptoms must be present nearly every day. (2, 7) In addition to major depressive episodes, patients with manic depression also feel periods of hypomania. A hypomanic episode must be a period of at least four days, during which the affected person feels elevated or irritated--a marked difference from the depressed period. (2, 7) The symptoms are: inflated self-esteem or grandiosity, decreased need for sleep, more talkative than usual, flight of ideas or racing thoughts, distractibility, psychomotor agitation or an increase in goal-directed activity, excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that may have negative consequences. (2, 7) This change in mood is observable by others and medications, substance abuse, or another medical condition does not cause the symptoms. (7)

In contrast to hypomania is mania, which is a more extreme case of hypomania. A manic episode is a period of an elevated or irritable mood for at least one week. (2, 7) The symptoms must cause problems in daily functioning and cannot be caused by a medical condition or drugs. (7) Manic symptoms are: inflated self-esteem or grandiosity, decreased need for sleep, more talkative than usual, flight of ideas or racing thoughts, attention easily drawn to unimportant or irrelevant items, increase in goal-directed activity or psychomotor agitation, and excessive involvement in pleasurable activities which may have negative consequences. (2, 7) Lastly, bipolar disorder patients may also go through mixed episodes, which are periods when the patient meets the criteria for both a manic episode and a major depressive episode every day for at least one week. (2,7)

Due to the different mood phases, which the patient may experience, the DSM-IV (diagnostic manual of American Psychologists) has categorized two different types of bipolar disorder, I and II.

Bipolar I is characterized as any one of the following variations:
1. The patient having a manic episode without precedence of a depressive episode
2. Most recently in a hypomanic episode with at least one previous manic or mixed episode
3. Most recently in a manic episode with at least one previous major depressive episode, manic episode, or mixed episode
4. Most recently a mixed episode with at least one previous major depressive episode, manic episode, or mixed episode. (7)

Subsequently, Bipolar II is characterized as the presence or history of one or more major depressive episodes and at least one hypomanic episode, without a precedence of a manic or mixed episode. (7, 1) One of the problems with diagnosing bipolar disorder is that the symptoms may not be incredibly noticeable until the disease has progressed to a dangerous point. (4) The disorder is such that a manic phase may only last a few hours at a time. (4) That is, the episode can proceed as a few hours of mania every day for at least one week. The affected person may not mind the mania or may be in denial of the disease, and since it only lasts a few hours, no one else may even notice. (4) By the time people actually begin to notice the manic-depressive cycle (or just the mania) it has already reached a point where the patient is barely able to function normally. (4) In addition, many clinicians have difficulty first differentiating between bipolar I and bipolar II. Since the types of patients, lengths of episodes, and age of onset are very similar, the only diagnostic tool is the difference between mania and hypomania. Since the symptoms are basically the same, except for the understanding that mania is one step more severe than hypomania, many clinicians fluctuate between the two subsets before diagnosing the patient. (4) Studies are still being conducted to more accurately and quickly distinguish bipolar I patients from bipolar II patients.

Researchers are still questioning the cause of manic depression. The most popular theory is that the disorder is caused by an imbalance of norepinephrine and serotonin. (1) During manic periods there are unusually high levels of norepinephrine and serotonin while, during depressed periods, there are unusually low levels. (1) The biological explanation is also supported by strong genetic inheritance. Many twin studies have been performed which have shown a predominance of bipolar disorder among monozygotic (identical) and dizygotic (fraternal) twins, with a greater chance of inheritance in monozygotic twins. Other studies have shown that bipolar patients often have a family history of both bipolar and unipolar disorder. (2) In addition to these studies, the fact that the most common method of treatment for bipolar disorder is medication testifies to the validity of the biological theory of causation.

Treatment for manic depression consists of mood stabilizers, medications that balance the manic and depressive states experienced by patients with bipolar disorder. (6) The most common treatment, or the first medication attempted, is Lithium. Lithium increases the serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake, this causes its counterbalancing effects of mania and depression. (6, 8) Research shows that Lithium alters NA transport and may interfere with ion exchange and nerve conduction. (8) Another effect of Lithium is its ability to inhibit second-messenger systems. These systems regulate cell cycling and circadian rhythms. Cell cycling and circadian rhythms, in turn, dictate the frequency and duration of the manic-depressive moods. (6, 9) However, many patients do not respond to Lithium. Some say that this is due to the drug, while others maintain that it is due to lack of consistency in taking the drug. (6) It has been shown that Lithium in not effective for all types of bipolar disorder, so other medications have been produced to help Lithium resistant individuals. (6, 8)

Anticonvulsants are the second attempted medications to alleviate the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Valproate (VPA) and Carbamazepine (CBZ) are the two most commonly prescribed. VPA has the same efficacy as Lithium for decreasing mania as well as acting faster, which is important to some patients. (6) However, the exact mechanism of action is still unclear. Research indicates that VPA may be involved with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). VPA may either enhance GABA receptor activity and/or inhibit its metabolism. (6) CBZ has similar effects as VPA. That is, CBZ is also an anticonvulsant that alleviates the symptoms of mania, and possibly depression. Unlike VPA, more is known on the mechanism of CBZ. CBZ has been associated with neurotransmitter and ion-channel systems. (6) It binds to voltage-sensitive sodium channels, decreasing the sodium influx. It promotes potassium conductance and may block dopamine receptor-mediated currents. (6) Medication seems to be the best treatment to date for bipolar disorder. Psychotherapy is also helpful, particularly cognitive-behavioral therapy, which focuses on readjusting patient's perceptions of life. (2, 3) However, patients still experience symptoms to one degree or another.

Though this psychopathology is not for one to wish, one interesting association with bipolar disorder is the creativity of those afflicted. (2, 3, 5, 7) This is not the normal creativity experienced by the above-average people (on the scale of creativity). This creativity is the creative genius, which is so rare, yet an inordinate percentage of the well-known creative people were/are afflicted with manic depression. (2, 3) Among the lengthy list are: (writers) F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Plath; (poets) William Blake, Sara Teasdale, Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson; (composers) Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky. (10) Psychiatrists, realizing a connection greater than coincidence, have performed studies all over the world in an attempt to establish a link between bipolar disorder and creativity. (5) In the 1970s, Nancy C. Andreasen of the University of Iowa examined 30 creative writers and found 80% had experienced at least one episode of major depression, hypomania, or mania. (5) A few years later Kay Redfield Jamison studied 47 British writers, painters, and sculptors from the Royal Academy. She found that 38% had been treated for bipolar disorder. In particular, half of the poets (the largest group with manic depression) had needed medication or hospitalization. (5) Researchers at Harvard University set up a study to assess the degree of original thinking to perform creative tasks. They were going to rate creativity in a sample of manic-depressive patients. Their results showed that manic-depressives have a greater percentage of creativity than the controls. (5) There have been biographical studies of earlier generations of artists and writers which show that they have 18 times the rate of suicide (as compared to the general population), 8-10 times the rate of unipolar depression, and 10-20 times the rate of bipolar depression. (5) The additive results of these studies provide ample evidence that there is a link between bipolar disorder and creative genius. The question now is not whether or not there exists a connection between the two, but why it exists.

One common feature in mania or hypomania is the increase in unusually creative thinking and productivity. (2, 3, 5, 7) The manic factor contributes to an increased frequency and fluency of thoughts due to the cognitive difference between normalcy and mania. (2, 5) Manic people often speak and think in rhyme or alliteration more than non-manic people. (2, 5) In addition, the lifestyles of manic-depressives in their manic phase is comparable to those of creative people. Both groups function on very little sleep, restless attitudes, and they both exhibit depth and emotion beyond the norm. (2, 5) Biologically speaking, the manic state is physically alert. That is, it can respond quickly and intellectually with a range of changes (i.e. emotional, perceptual, behavioral). (5) The manic perception of life is one without bounds. This allows for creativity because the person feels capable of anything. It is as if the walls, which inhibit the general population, do not exist in manic people, allowing them to become creative geniuses. They understand a part of art, music, and literature which normal people do not attempt. The manic state is in sharp contrast to the depressive phase of bipolar patients. In their depressed phase, patients only see gloom and boundaries. They feel helpless, and out of this helplessness comes the creativity. (5) The only way bipolar patients can survive their depressed phases, oftentimes, is to unleash their despondency through some creative work. (5, 3)

Since the states of mania and depression are so different, the adjustment between the two ends up being chaotic. Looking at some works of literature or music, it can be noticed which phase the creator was in at the time of composition. In works by Sylvia Plath, for example, the readers may take notice of the sharp contrast among chapters. Some chapters she is full of hope and life, while other chapters read loneliness and desolation. Another example can be found in Tchaikovsky's music; there is a great variation among his compositions concerning their tone, tempo, rhythm, etc. In fact, some say that most actual compositions result from this in-between period because this is the only time when the patient can physically deliver something worthwhile. (3) Because the phases are so chaotic, the ideas float during the manic and depressive states, but the final, developed products are formed during the patients' "normal" phases.

However, the problem with bipolar disorder in present time is that drug treatment often vanquishes the creativity in the patient. (5) In earlier days when drug therapy was not implemented, the creativity would be free. Yet, through the attempt for affected people to cope with day to day living, their creativity must be sacrificed. It is remarkable how these "afflicted" persons exude extraordinary creativity. Therapists and researchers are on the constant search to provide treatment for the debilitating symptoms. In the case of bipolar disorder, the world benefits from the mood swings endured by a large percentage of these patients. Though their ability to function properly is of utmost concern, since the cycling between manic and depressive phases is so traumatic and energy depleting, the unusual existence of creativity of such caliber in these people is something to conserve. As more effective drug treatment is being sought after, hopefully there will be medication that will permit the creative genius of the patients and allow them to function in society as well.



2. Rescorla, Leslie. Psychology 209, Abnormal Psychology. Bryn Mawr College, Apr 1998.











Continuing conversation
(to contribute your own observations/thoughts, post a comment below)

12/21/2005, from a Reader on the Web

Just glanced at your bipolar/creativity article. I'm afraid that mis-conceptions like symptom remision interfering with creativity is cited as reasons for people with bipolar disorder to discontinue any form of treatment. Although I don't have the references with me, a survey of the literature now (look for Richard's work with the Lifetime Creativity Scales) would suggest that it isn't people with full-blown mental illness that are creative (as behaviours such as apathy and psycho-motor retardation or grandiosity and poor impulse control would impede production of creative works), it is actually those with sub-syndromal mental illness (a partial expression of a genetic pheontype perhaps identifiable in family members or muted psychiatric symptoms) that are more creative. That research lab has also found that creativity actually goes down in people with full blown mental illness. I think this speaks to the importance of managing one's symptoms so that one can use the gifts that this style of thinking can afford. While this discussion needs greater space than comments can afford, I would caution people from making medical decisions based off of the few emminent people that do come to our attention with mental illness, rather than research conducted on everyday people. I would also make the caution that if a person with bipolar disorder does feel they are finally comming around and they suddenly have a tonne of creative ideas, please pace yourself and take steps to limit what could be another manic episode. Other creativity research will tell you that creative endeavour for MOST people is much like a marathon....if you sprint for the first half the race, you'll hit the wall in the second half. However, if you pace yourself (perhaps by keeping a book of creative ideas that can be explored later), you are much more likely to have a better overall performance and finish the race. David Armstrong


Additional comments made prior to 2007
I suffer with Bipolar Disorder and at times it can be a debilitating illness. However, even though I must take medication for the rest of my life, I find that I can still be creative in producing pencil portraits and I have written two books which have been published ... Barbara O'Sullivan, 11 March 2006



This paper was extremely well done. I have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder now for 6 years or so. I'm 44 years of age. I agree less with the first contributing thought comment than I do with HimaBindu's thoughts regarding creativity. From personal experience, I was most creative during my one and only week long lasting full blown manic episode. Although it is true that I was not organized about my creativity, if the person who is experiencing full blown mania has a channel for their creativity - if they get on a word processor and start writing, or if they are an artist, if they get out a canvass and start painting, or if a musician if they get out music sheets ? and start composing, while seated at a piano I suppose, they'd be able to produce something that is higher up the scale of creativity, in my opinion, than someone who is experiencing hypo mania (slight mania) or a normal mood or a mixed mood or depression. When you are fully manic, you feel as if you have entered the gates of "heaven on earth." That you have reached an enlightened state. You feel as if you are a prophet. As you have no way to compare what you are experiencing to any past experiences. (Assuming it is your first manic episode.) I did not realize I had had a mental "breakdown" until the mania crashed into a heavy depression, and I knew at that point that when my wife wanted me to go to a psychiatrist, she was right. While I was manic, I told her I just thought I had become enlightened or something. While you are in the fully manic state, you (or at least I did) have an obsession to be creative. If I were outside the home doing something else, I'd think in my mind while driving home, what I was going to write next, and be so obsessed with adding it to my writing that I would run full speed up the stairway to get to the computer quickly enough. While I was writing, which was a sort of whimsical play script, writing with an elizabethan english accent (even though I'm American,) a complete symphony was playing in my mind, a new one not a existing one, to go with the play script, even though I don't have much training in music (played some trumpet in high school.)

The trouble was, whatever I was writing, I believed afterwards anyways, was a sort of prophesy - such that when you are writing, you don\'t know what the prophecy is at the time - you are not sure what the thoughts mean or where they came from. So it is just a very intense experience. I was able to hike with more strength as well I remember, it isn't just your brain that is operating at a very high "RPM."

So I agree with HimaBindu that an organized creative bipolar type would harness the creativity while they were fully manic, and save it, then fine tune it later after getting through the months of nasty depression which is the price of full blown mania (what goes up must come down.)

I also agree somewhat to Armstrong's comment, that ideas might be more useable, down to earth, less prophetic in nature, and less grandiose (if you listen to a lot of the classical music from famous composers - you could almost define the great ones as grandiose.) An exception might be art, music, and certain writings. So that really depends on what is being created. Creating a concept for an advertisement would probably be better done while hypomanic than manic, as this is a not so grandiose creation. While classical music might require a grandiose mood to come up with a great composition in the first place.

It is interesting to note, that I can turn on the creativity anytime I want, just by shorting myself with sleep. I don't know why this is the case. All people I think get a little "silly" and creative when they lack sleep don't they? This is more pronounced when you have bipolar. It seems as if the logical part of your mind gets exhausted and is not used much, while the creative side becomes dominant and does not get exhausted, rather it seems to get energized.

One possibility would be to look at bipolar and mania, rather than as a genetic flaw, it may be it is the opposite end of the envelope - that bipolars are pushing the envelope of creativity as an evolutionary stretch - that perhaps the human species mind is evolving to become more creative. That one day you could be fully manic your entire life, without crashing into depression, and live a richer life as a result. The "Kingdom of God" that Jesus spoke of (who some people think was bipolar by the way) could actually be a mental heaven that our species is progressing towards. Towards enlightenment I guess you could say. I realize I am getting a bit grandiose with this evolutionary possibility, but anything is possible, so I wouldn't write it entirely off as out of touch with reality. Some authors seem to also think there is a link between mania and spirituality, and I think that is along the same lines of what I just mentioned ... Jim, 16 June 2006



From my knowledge of manic-depression, and as a type I manic-depressive myself, I agree with Armstrong ... Douglas Lucas, 19 July 2006



I finally found a clue that might help me and others about the Bipolar Disorder Creative Genius. I have severe chronic back pain and have to take strong pain killers and muscle relaxants. I have been detoxed twice in a hospital ward for drug addiction. I made the decision to enter on my own. I hate taking the meds and the way they make me feel but each time I have had to go back and get the meds for pain. That's my history but the first time I detoxed and the place that I was in there was some really weird things going on and others thought so too. Anyway they were jacking with my thyroid. The Doctor said my test showed borderline and then he said "I'm going to give you some thyroid medicine;sometimes you can jumpstart a thyroid.Each time the Nurse would bring my meds I would look at them and ask her what they were even though I had it all memorized. I knew them by their shape and color. So rather wait till after a group therapy session to give me some meds she just comes over where I am sitting and tells me here is another med for you. It was like nothing I had ever seen before but she tells me it was thyroid medicine. I was so wired I felt like I was going for the moon. Iwas a total nervous wreck but I had to fight the horrible nervousness constantly. And for some reason (how about in the name of science!)they started giving us intelligence tests. The therapist giving the test said it was a test that they gave Marines and that seldom does anyone score 1 and extremely rare for anyone to score 2. Another part of the test was to score your answers by how close they came to being right or something like that. Anyway I was already sailing in outer space a bit,soI sailed right through this test never thinking twice about my choices because we were being timed also. All I know is I am no genius and my scores were off the charts you might say. I had the two answers that were rarely answered correctly and I scored 37 points. In comparison to everyone else in the room and their being on the low end, No one even got 1 on the first part of the tests and the scores on the other part were like 12 to 17. What was going on in my brain I haven't a clue. Everyone that was in this ward of only 16 people felt like we were being used like lab rats. It is a very long and complicated story that I won't get into any further ... Linda Rivers, 22 May 2007


Trái cây việt nam's picture

that's good for me

In any case, the whole piece is a manifesto for a revolution. It is the single most comprehensive analysis of BP, statement of independence, and focus on a bưởi da xanh spiritual integration I have seen in one place. These categories are not a left brain attempt on my part, to control what you wrote, but an existential appreciation of how clearly you summarize so many attempts at control of BP and mental illness in general,

Ryan's picture



Serendip Visitor's picture


1st All caps and yelling in life will get you nowhere!! 2nd You cannot say that Bi Polar is not an illness. I have Bi Polar II Mixed Disorder. I would gladly let you walk in my shoes for a week now. Then give them back to you to wear 6 years ago to walk in for a week. You would not have survived. The type of Bi Polar I have is the hardest type to medicate. YES MEDICATE!!! However, now that I have found a psychiatrist who has me on the correct medications. As long as we can keep me on a stable sleep pattern I stay stable. Occasionally I just need a slight medication adjustment. Do not even try to tell me it's crap!! Here are my questions for you? What do you really know about a true Bi Polar II mixed??? How many times have you tried to lay down to sleep and are writing 2 songs, writing 2 or 3 poems, thinking of ideas to add to a book on alternative discipline you are working on, thinking about radio server work you have to do all at one time. You can't sleep why? Your brain won't stop. Finally you give up. You don't even bother going to bed. Why? Your brain is like a freight train. The more you type the more it flows. The more you play the easier it becomes. It overwhelms you, it's an adrenalin rush beyond imagination. This goes on for...well you have no idea. You have no sense of time. Then you crash and burn. No warning. You don't know what happened. You've fell into a pit you cannot get out of. You can't see any light at all. You're all alone. You're tired. Nobody cares. You've gave it all you had in you, but still not one single person understands you. All you ever hear is "What, Huh, I don't understand, in English please, Doesn't make sense" You're thinking, I don't understand. I'm pouring my heart out to you and you can't understand??? You don't even care??? Then what they do makes no sense to you at all, but they all think it's fine. If you say I don't understand they laugh at you. You try to make yourself feel better. Next thing you know $5,000 is gone. You have no idea where it went or even where you were. You start feeling pressure like you just can't take things you don't fit in. You've messed up and hurt everyone you love. You have to get away. So you try to make up a plan to get away. I've disappeared for up to 6 months at a time. No one could find me. Why, Bi Polar people are very intelligent. Just chemical imbalance. Like Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Seizure Disorder.... Then there's the irrational impulsive behavior. This is the worst. Bottom falls into pit of no light from emotional pain of crash. You hit bottom. You try at 1st to find a way to find a way to get out. It makes you fall deeper. You start secluding yourself. Hiding from people. You think you are a total failure. You are cursed and a burden. Each day it gets worse. Then impulsive thought!!! DEATH!!!! ANSWER!!! My pain stops. I can't hurt family. Better off without me. Life insurance will take care of them!!! Decision made!!! SUICIDE!!!! THAT'S BI POLAR....WELCOME TO MY WORLD....YOU CAN BORROW MY SHOES IF CHOOSE!!

Ion's picture

Bipolar disorder

Hi everybody, I've read most of the posts and I really think bipolar people are very special and also doomed in a way, I mean lithium is ok but seroquel and it's side effects can turn you into a zombie( my doctor keeps me on 800mg/day) and not only you ll never be manic again, but you won't even be normal, your attached to your bed and the energy is of an old man, even though I'm 27. I do miss drinking till 2 at night and waking up with a mild headache at 7 and going to work and being very productive, nowadays seroquel takes it all away, I can sleep from 8-11 hours and still be sleepy. And talking about depression I still have suicidal thoughts not as strong as before when I wasn't taking meds but still, I get easily depressed as in for nice thoughts I have a couple of good hours a week. I have social anxiety and tend to isolate even if I go to work in a company with over 140 employees.
Do THESE MEDS WORK OR NOT for you guys??? Thank you!

Serendip Visitor's picture

bipolar creativity and stabilization

First, not all bipolar people run the streets trying to find out what that voice is inside their heads, finally identifying it and doing its bidding. Some of them make sure they take their meds, the prime ? is that are we all accepting the fact that the meds must be taken, as psych prescribes with monitoring? Our quest for consistent creativity is found in the medications, acceptance from our families, colleagues and others. Diet and vitamins play an essential role, ie fish oil, lithium, seroquel and other medications, which are the most effective meds for bipolar disorder should not be discounted or met as an enemy. So much evidence stands for bipolar and schizophrenia with bipolar a precursor for the latter. Those on the lithium are noted for stopping because a little voice in their heads tells them that they are ok!I should know I have in the past discontinued and lowered doses to try and prove Professionals as stupid, they missed something no one else in my family has this, therefore I am not bipolar! Stupid on my Part!! Bipolar disorder is a serious serious illness, not of our own design, once we get the information that the meds don't work for one we think OH I am not that sick, the MD made a mistake! It is true that there is no conclusive way to diagnose bipolar but the behaviors, mania, cyclomania, etc list goes on andn on the sequela for this illness is individual in the display of depressive states, mania and all that follow, its highly unpredictable to the innocent observer. As per the comment that Bipolar in any form can cause death, that is true to an extent, the disease can put a person in places with people they do not know, as happened to me, one with this disease untreated will cause severe judgmental deficits and well, the disease in and of itself won't kill one, just makes them wish they were by the time its over, with depression, not just candy store label, but deep deep decieving depression once the whole mixed episode is winding out. I could not say all of this had I not lived it, remember parts of it and wish I didn't. The preceding comment is the anchor that keeps me sane, knowing I made a mistake 2 or three times and now know that I will not repeat it. My life depends upon those two 300 mg lithium, and 200 mg seroquel nightly. I think clearly and am concise and can follow a sentence someone says without my mind blanking out with stupid feelings to follow that. I repeat do not stop meds, do not think you know more of your mind than the professionals do. Good Luck, God Bless.

Diane Woodson's picture

Live or Die

Which is it everyone? Take your meds live fully wholeness not take them, your brain will finally a crawl..Lithium is a cure, with other meds like not put off your health, our whole bodies work all together without spirits with our souls...medicine was created because God gave people the expertise to do it...believe me please...take your meds.

Diane Woodson's picture

creative writing, music and genius

I am now more than ever convinced that i am genius level, creative genius, and possibly music as well. I hear musical artist like Jackson browne and Keith urban all during the day when awakening I write at night, when its quiet...its as if Seoquel has unleashed my side that depression squelched and pushed down for about 30 years...I had a period of writing a few years ago then regressed into alcholism with meds....its affeccts were migraine with aura and depression and then to top it off mania surfaced///I was wild crazy stupid, telling people all things i just thought it said it and bam, if they disagreed I thought they were the ones who were bipolar!!!!

Seroquel has had an effect on me only in a positive way int he creativity, happiness, I may even write a song, as i thought I was when meds were not stable a few years ago about 4.....I have been given my life back, a million times over because of 200 mg of seroquel with 600 mgs of lithium as I was taking alone before...I thought the lithium was supposed to make me more normal, yet my cognition was way down....Do you think you do not need your meds...get someone to take to the the er and get some....Do you want to risk your life, sanity and all you may ever hope to accomplish take them go to the psychiatrist and do as he /she says...Your very life depends upon it guys....Listen to one who has been there....depression is a true hell on earth....normalcy has no price on it....

Serendip Visitor's picture

Bipolar Genius and Writing Professionally

I am bipolar 1, with treatment of seroquel 200 mg and lithium carbonate 600, taken together at bedtime. My ? is, should I be worried when I am stable on meds, when I hear songs thru my head when writing articles for Hubpages most days? I am not going around the house, this just happens when I am sitting here with my laptop, and we are watching tv. I have studied this but do not get a clear picture of how treated bipolars are behaving. Seroquel has vanquished the mania I had a few months ago when summer began. I do notice higher energy, but I am on a huge dose of seroquel with only side effects of dry mouth and irregularity, some jittery in morning but it subsides quickly. I am kind of tired of hunting for answers, do not feel at all manic, promise, am not ever typing fast. I have had bipolar 1 since age 22 and am 56. I am pretty much well versed but new developments come all the time with research. Thanks for your response...

Serendip Visitor's picture


I do feel the same way as you do. I take exactly the same dose of seroquel as you do. I used to be take 400mg, but I reduced it myself and told the doctor about it. The reason I couldn't manage to be on 400mg is the heavy sedating effect. I have to be in class by 8.30 a.m. and taking 400 mg can never be of help.

Because of this the doctor said to me that 250mg was the minimum dose, but I should remain on the 200mg, since I am also taking Lithium. I take 800mg of Lithium as opposed to your 600mg. Now the doctor told me to do the Lithium test this weekend so as to see if he could reduce the Lithium (probably to 600mg) as yours.

I just got diagnosed as bipolar I also, and it was sometimes this year. While I agree that the Seroquel helped me remove the psycotic symptom of the illiness, I see another side of it-- just as you described, I believe the Seroquel is responsible for your inner thought imagination, like the music you said plays in your head. I find myself often day dreaming when am alone, sometimes about me interviewed in a popular talk show I always loved before, or just thoughts in my head. It was not like this before, so I believe Seroquel is responsible for this foolish thing.

One thing however with an alien mind of mine now that seem unquiet is that I do write songs, I even want to make up some story, like a novel or playwright because my mind is no more quiet. This did not happen before the Seroquel, and I never have a cause to believe it's Lithium.

Finally to answer your question, you don't have to worry that you will relapse or fall sick again, just use your medicine regularly, sleep for at least 6 hours no matter what the case maybe, and do a lot of exercise. It helps from depression, and the freeziness of waking up after the use of the Seroquel.

**Just a tip, my doctor told me that there is a new generation of Seroquel that is long acting, and won't cause me to sleep as before. I think he called it, Seroquel XL, or something like that. Google it, he said it's more expensive but I will try it. I hope it helps me, and you also**

Take care, all the best.

Serendip Visitor's picture


The freeziness has not happened to me and I am hoping it won't. Just want to thank-you for the positive comments and for relaying what has happened to you since beginning it. Regards,

Diane Woodson's picture

Bipolaar seroquel and more

I am convinced that my bipolar exacerbated into bipolar schizophrenia. I believe that is the reason my creativity is up with no mani, only mania is just a bit if I do not get adequate sleep. A toothache kept me up for 2 nights in the last 5. I experienced manic thoughts, almost evidential to those before the seroquel was introduced into my meds.I look at bipolaar mania as a gift from god, do not get worried, I do not think I hear God telling me things, its just I really believe I was born like this. I am glad for it as I get ideas for my writing and do an article in 15 minutes that with a spell check or two. I write the article all down and bam. I now have a 92 on Hubpages and trying to get rid of the toothache so I can write at night, it seems music and darkness sometime are a great combo for me....I am glad I am bipolar, used to deny it, hey run with it right? Seroquel has lessened my migraine with aura...which is genetic in origin with mania....With any mania I get a mixed message in my head of all the bad things that happened to me, with a nap, I am refreshed and feeling better level. in mood.I hope this helps another person with the illness, even though all of us are different in sequelae and treatment course.

Diane Woodson's picture


I underwent lots of problems before beginning Seroquel The mania was mixed as well as intermittent depression. I have had bipolar 1 since age 22 and am 56....I am sure that you should let the MD know before lowering any dosages of any med for bipolar of any kind. This is a disease of a nature that is mysterious, uncomplicated as long as meds are taken exactly as prescribed. I do not want to undergo mania, thus I take the lithium and seroquel as directed, see my Psych and MD and get blood tests run, I do experience drowsiness, since I don't have to drive allot its ok, and I write at home, so I am in no danger. Please do contact the psych we are not MD's and we may think we know our minds, however blood disorders such as this are unpredictable in the way in which they manifest themselves. I was a grad student when the last most recent attack hit, was drinking almost daily, with meds, by all rights I should be a blithering idiot by now. Please do not do what I did and self the long run you and those close to you will lose you...don't allow it to occur....For God is with you and these meds were created for a good reason....we bipolar and shame, only growth and normalcy...

Diane Woodson's picture

Seroquel new release

Can you give me the manufacturer for it, I want to ask my Psych about it and try it, I am sleepy but not sure what the cause 400 mg seroquel and 600 lithium carbonate at bedtime, manages bipolar mania unless i miss any sleep....thanks

.'s picture

I've developed a strong

I've developed a strong dislike to the type of creativity I developed in what were (presumably) hypomanic episodes. It's great to be creative and write stunning poetry, but for me it always included a feeling of loss of control. I had to get something else done but there I was having word chunks float through my mind, distracting me. It wasn't pleasurable. I wasn't able to focus on anything - not even on the poetry, not really. I crave stability more than anything. I gave up poetry 2 years ago, probably because I got too scared of the process of writing it. I think all of my writing creativity is part of the bipolar pathology - I'm not sure if it's a trigger or a consequence of hypomania, but it's always linked to it. I always wanted to be a writer and it's disappointing to give up that dream, but if gaining balance means I can never write another word in my life, I think I'll still be happier with that overall.

Diane Woodson's picture

Writing and bipolar? autism

We have to have perspective here. Not all of the gifted talented high achievers are bipolar. With bipolar, without meds there is a modicum of of it. Most writers I know are driven, have a creative link in their heads but they keep it in sync with their lives. I think bipolar after treatment is more of a present I get each day, I am one of those positive people out there that try and take good from the misunderstood things in our lives...Autism also has a creative link in the sequlae and treatment, or lack thereof and with more research I believe it could be lessened in our country. However the debate lingers on of causes..My research in grad school told me its more of genetic in nature and the incidence rises even as I write.

I respect your decision to quit writing. You may not need it. I do not need to be famous, just enjoy putting things out there and see if I get a positive response. The things I have been through because of the disorder are horrendous in memory and in present tense. Writing for me is a release of the ideas, thoughts, perceptions that are the human condition. I have learned in last 3 yrs that bipolar is not a bad word, yet its an opportunity to grow, change and flourish in the life God has placed in my hands.

Best to you and please never quit whatever meds you take....

Serendip Visitor's picture

bipolar creativity

i have to say i am the complete opposite...i desperately miss the creative periods of my manic episodes before my bipolar illness was controlled by medication...ive found that since i started proper meds and stopped self medicating with alcohol and drugs over 4 years ago, i have had severe writers block and been unable to write anything at all...i cant even seem to express myself in my journals of which i had so many starting from my early teenage years...i find myself filled with daily emotions and thought but unable to put pen to paper and write anything worth reading...even trying to explain myself here has taken much considerable time...hell i dont even want to read what i write, let alone leave it behind for someone else heart breaks over this and yet i have to choose...choose between sanity or creativity...sanity or being a wife to my husband of 34 years...sanity or being a mother (also of 34 years)...sanity or destroying my loved ones...sane rationality or creative save myself and those i love i chose sanity...sanity and because of times...complete brokeness...i find it unfair that what was such a gift to me was both given and taken from something that also cursed my life for so many seems it should be the exact opposite...that becoming sane and clean and sober would bring with it the gift of the mind being freed and ability to say so on paper...that expression would be easier and more natural and free flowing instead of locked deep inside unable to come, so very frustrating! i would never trade my sanity or sobriety and the blessings they bring for those manic phases that allowed so much creativity to pour out of me but i also dont believe i will ever stop being saddened by that...the one thing i was able to do in those difficult and painful years and do well...i will always find that unfair of this illness and of life...

Virginia Dodsworth's picture

Re Bipolar creativity

I know your pain, I too share your illness, I have been highly creative in mania states I have invented and started successful businesses during just a night of total mania, only later to be totally debilitated with massive depression and so not able to continue with the businesses. The same has happened with high level jobs. The bipolar illness gives greatly but then also takes away a great deal more.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Bipolar Creativity

i agree! i once had a chance at starting a business that seemed very promising and when i fell into a depression i found it impossible to work on it...very recently i've discovered a new hobby that others have told me is marketable (i'm just not sure how to go about it) but i make music videos on the side for family and friends (recently a few memorial videos as well) and i'd like to start up something to make a little bit of extra money...i guess i'll see what develops! i also had difficulty in jobs...i'd start out excited and strong and then 'fizzle' out and have a hard time focusing when i was rapid cycling...i'm grateful that those things aren't a part of my life anymore but i'm still frustrated in the writing part of my life...getting started on something is terribly difficult where it used to come so easy...i think that's why i like making the's a creative outlet for me

Diane Woodson's picture

creative genius

I am sorry that your experience with meds has hampered your creativity. I have had the opposite, with 200 mg of seroquel my thoughts are clear, writing flourishes....I hope your future is better and that your meds stay stable....thanks

Andi's picture

unlocking creativity

There's a theme that runs through a lot of comments on this thread (which I've been keeping up with for months now) about struggling to remain creative through changes in medication and mood swings, whether it's being more creative in manic and hypomanic stages, or else so scattered that an artist can't stay focused long enough to do anything at all.

I hate to see *anyone* give up on their own creativity, especially someone who identifies themselves so strongly as an artist, whether you're writing or doing any other kind of art - quilting, cooking, music, painting, photography, anything.

So here are my two cents (unsolicited advice, your mileage may vary).

After I'd started meds and had begun to stabilize, my therapist and I decided I was probably ok to stop therapy unless something came up and I needed to start sessions again. During our last session, he said, "Please remember, you don't have to be either manic or depressed to create. Your creativity is there, even when you're stable."

He was right. For me, anyway. It wasn't easy to find out what I was supposed to be doing, and I spent a lot of time muddling about, criticizing myself to the point where I refused to do anything at all. Over the course of several years I sorta kinda figured out what I needed to be doing, and then promptly stopped doing it. Then, through several instances of coincidences or serendipity or whatever you want to call it, I picked up a book called the Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. One of the tools she requires over the course of the 12-week program (I'm working through it considerably more slowly than that!) is called morning pages. You spend enough time with a notebook and a pen in the morning to just write. Write anything, anything at all, write how much you hate morning pages, but the point is to NEVER show them to anyone else, and to just write for three solid, uninterrupted pages. For the first few weeks, you're not even supposed to read them yourself. It's really hard to begin with - you look at your pages and think, my God, this is crap and I can't believe I'm so whiny and mean and petty and... then you somehow sneak past the Critic and the Censor and your right brain wakes up, stretches, and says, "Well, good morning! I've missed you! Let's play!"

So far I've gone through four plain lined legal pads and three pens doing morning pages. I don't throw them away anymore, (although I guess I could) because there are times when story ideas and little inspirations about the current project show up and I write them down, even in scribbles or doodles.

I grieve for you, so strongly that I'm about nauseous with it. And I KNOW, for sure, that your ability to create is still there, and yeah, it'll take some work to unblock it, and it will get blocked again and you'll have to work through that either. Nobody ever said creativity is easy, or predictable.

So go to your library. Get yourself a copy of the Artist's Way. Or any other books about writing - Anne Lamotte is fabulous (Bird by Bird), as is Writing Begins with the Breath by Laraine Hering. None of them will be one hundred percent valid for you (I found Hering a little too wamr and fuzzy), but I know you will get something out of them.

Don't give up.

Serendip Visitor's picture

thank you very much for your

thank you very much for your reply...ill give this a try...couldnt hurt thats for sure...

guest's picture

Stay strong and don't give up that easily

Hi guest (I don't know your proper name). Don't give up because you suffer from bipolar. I was diagnosed of illness just this year at age 27. I was misdiagnosed previously by a psychiatrist which caused them to give me wrong medicine. Anyway, my message to you is not to give up. I have come to the understanding that I being bipolar gives a room and advantage above others in some ways, especially the creative aspect.
One of the common strength among bipolar patients is their ability to draw, write, compose poetry, write songs and sing, and ultimately invent new things. That is your strength, you can write poetry, compose your poems save it on the computer and when they are many give it to a publisher and show him, give reasons why your composure is unique.
I do agree that the height of creativity comes when you are manic or hypomanic, even at normal times when you don't feel this way you are still creative. I use lithium and another anti-psychotic to relieve my mind, and they work well. The doctors have promised to remove the anti-psychotic medicine soon and just keep me on lithium (800mg)/per day. Anyway, am fine now and am able to go on with life. I still draw, write (am about to write a book), compose music, and I even have ideas that come in mind. Now I want to study industrial design because I have a good imagination for machines that can solve man's problem.

Conclusion. Don't give up writing or doing anything you are good at, and gifted to perform because of bipolar. Consult a psychiatrist and tell him/her how you feel. Am sure they will give you a mood stablizer like Lithium or Valporic acid to ensure you remain stable.

Wish you all the best:))

Denis's picture

Impressive article!

This is the BEST article about bipolar disorder I've ever found!! Very complete, for a whole overview! GREAT WORK!

Serendip Visitor Angelo 's picture

Bipolar Testimony and proposal

Hi everybody I am very encouraged by your posts and I want to convey my empathy with all of you for the suffering you and your loved ones incurred due to bipolar disorder.

I woud strongly suggest that all creative people among us could be more useful to society at large by for example helping high school students with essays and other homework on line by using diffrent right brained approaches to communicating in writing.

A form of purely free wheeling wikipedia-like reservoir of non conventional approaches coulld result in a mosaic of gems of human expression under duress exiting somehow form the limbo of the sedated individuals stigmatized by society.

Hemingway was asked by one of his war companions to write a letter home to his parents and he did it with his trademark depth and dry prose that made him a household name world wide. He also suffered later in life for his many excesses but definitly is better to contribute in this way rather that exchanging opinions and personal experiences with medications which could compromise our health and the respect we owe to the dedicated professionals in this difficult field whis is psychiatry.

As far as my personal strory goes I am in almost constant phisical and mental anguis, having lost my job, my friends and much of my self respect and almost lost my life parnter as well.

This blog is particularly moderate in tone and I find it very encouraging, thank you all.

Tonight I have written to my former colleague at work after a long silence and I have not slept yet nor taken the madication which are causing me a huge craving for food and leg swelling along with a sugar level of 252 alfter meals. The medication consist of seroquel 25 mg at night along with tegretol 400 mgs twice a day with 25 mg of zoloft in morning,

My age is 56 weight 145 height 168 BMI above 45.

I would like you to share with me Your ideas that will make us socially useful to each other and to try new non profit collaboration with some permanant littary/philosophical or otherwise defined spece in the web cyberspace where a healing dialogue could also produce the odd masterpiece that could encourage us all to claim what we paid such a high price to acheive.

Love to all and may God grant us more recognition in society at large.

I will take my meds now or otherwise I shall inform my doctor of the probable worsenig medically induced diabetis and I will probaly sleep now it's already 5 37 AM LOCAL TIME.

Good day to all of you.

tracy 's picture

i need some help feel like im going out my mind

Where should i start ive just been refered by my doctor for help which could take months apparently to get tested for bipola im scared im going out my mind i suffer with depression but never really taken the tablets or taken for small periods of times,i wish i felt normal well back to my old self manic depression runs through my family my mums manic so are my mums three sisters and one of there sons and my three sisters im scared my relationship is on the rocks i love him with all my heart been together for seven years now have four beautiful kids and i should be happy im scared if i dont get the help i need i will be left on my own.I cant really talk to anyone i keep my thoughts to my self. Well try to any way i have most of the symtoms just need some help i went to my doctor about 2 months ago wanting to quit smoking i was given champix lasted 11 days on them went hypo and very depressed lower than ive ever been got taken of them my doctor wont give me anything because he wants to see me in my natual staight for the past 2 im getting worse and i dont want to hurt my family or burdon them with my problems

harriet's picture

to tracy

Hi, Tracy

I'm a 57 y o lady and I was diagnosed as Bipolar 2 over 10 years ago. Yes, I've got Bipolar relatives; my dad and his mom.

Bluntly; given your family history there's a good chance you are Bipolar. If you are - and given that you have yet to be medicated; then sure! you're feeling scared and out of control.


FIRST, you have to find a WELL RECOMMENDED Psychiatrist to discern whether there is mental illness here.



I hope I can share with you and anyone else reading this, some of the things I've learned in ten years' cognitive therapy.

What, exactly, is this 'cognitive therapy'?

Its as simple as recognizing (being COGNIZANT of) your own personal signs of going out of control
(perhaps spending money, buying things that you would normally consider inappropriate talking too much, even when you feel you should stop.........

and when feeling depressed/hopeless...realizing that

CALLING YOUR PRESCRIBING MD AND BEING PRO-ACTIVE about whether he/she thinks your meds need adjusting *** is crucial .

a l w a y s...only! your DR'S (!!! NOT YOUR OWN !!!) ADJUSTMENT***. This is an incredibly volatile thing, we cannot fool with it ourselves.....COGNITIVE THERAPY TELLS YOU TO SAY - TO YOURSELF ''I KNOW YOU THINK YOU CAN JUST MAKE A BIT OF AN ADJUSTMENT.........BUT, AT THE SAME TIME.............I KNOW YOU KNOW............YOU REALLY SHOULD CALL THE DR".

Take a breath...cut yourself a break........of course you feel out of control, considering. IT IS OF THE UTMOST IMPORTANCE THAT YOU GIVE YOURSELF A TALKING TO...


DON'T buy into the thought that BEING MENTALLY ILL STIGMATIZES YOU. Mental Illness/physical illness/ psychosomatic illness, etc.....they are all illnesses and NO ONE IS WORSE THAN THE OTHER. Yeah, I am mentally ill. this means my brain sometimes doesn't do what it would be better off, doing........ONCE A PERSON ACCEPTS, THE REST COMES SO MUCH EASIER, BELIEVE ME.

The thing to remember is - YOUR MOM....YOUR AUNTS..........ARE THEMSELVES. THEY ARE NOT YOU...


hang in there, Tracy, it's gonna get better THAT'S NOT HYPE...IT WILL GET BETTER.

Serendip Visitor Ian. obaia's picture


there is help out there, I was diagnosed with bipolar about 20 years ago. I had depression that bad I was institutionalized. Then a psychiatrist diagnosed bipolar. They put me on lithium for a start but I felt like a Zombie.
Then they put me on VALPORATE. I have never looked back.It is not an anti depressant nor addictive. Look it up. on the net. It does not happen over night but it does happen.
Make sure you take your dose of anything as directed and do not miss any. Antidepressant especially as if you take them hit and miss half the time you are in withdrawal which makes your depression worse.
CHAMPIX. I tried to give up smoking 12 months ago on CHAMPIX. I turned into an ogre and was thinking up ways of doing myself in . Doctor took me of them and said "yes that happens sometimes !!!! great.
regards Ian.

Iain's picture


Thanks for proving the point I have been trying to make to my family friends and clinicians-I am criticised for ever having wanted support to give up smoking and that I should have done it on willpower but it is a bit late now-a few years ago I tried Champix and Zyban because my kids wanted me to stop smoking and the reaction to the situation and the meds could not have been worse!!

Bruce's picture

Some good stuff here...

I have found reading the posts on this site to be very informative. One thing I would observe about people with this condition who have lived with it for a while is that they are able to convey insight into the condition very clearly.

One area of this condition that I haven't read too much about regards deployment of effective strategies to deal with damage to personal and business relationships following a manic episode.

The depressive side of the illness can take its toll on loved ones, and those that come into regular contact with a depressed person can distance themselves, often because of the negativity that accompanies depression.

However from personal experience it is the mania that causes the most damage. My episodes have ruined personal and business relationships, and this has cost me dearly. Aside from financial loss as a result of leaving employment when manic, there has been a significant psychological cost to me. I am no longer that confident in business dealings and I have become paranoid that I have a reputation for erratic and unprofessional behavior, and can't be trusted. When I have attempted to contact colleagues and associates following a manic episode, many of my emails have gone unanswered, only fueling my paranoia.

I would be interested to hear other people's views, and strategies for dealing with the aftermath of a manic episode.

New Zealand

April 's picture

similar experience

Hi Bruce,

I know this is really late in discovery, but can relate to your experience in a huge way. During my mixed episode, i had to leave my job, my university course, lost the respect of most of my collegues and peers and severed a huge number of relationships. I too, don't know how to cope with what has occured. I also feel unable to move forward when i feel like i destroyed my reputation and essentially lost most of what brought me so much happiness in my life. The worst part being the trust factor.. which hurts, as i was a very diligent and successful person prior to my 3 month long mixed episode. I also made 5 suicide attempts during the phase, which i insisted on telling everyone about when i was an attention whore manic. I was in my final year of an architecture degree, and was very future focused. Now i don't even know how to continue from here on in, and most people think im this terrible person after the have you dealt with it?

Tom Fenders's picture

Is this an idea ?

Is this an idea, to investigate long held spiritual practices and beliefs and see if this can help?
What about new age practices like meditation and the eating of organic foods. Has any research been done on these important topics?

Serendip Visitor's picture

this is real nice and all,

this is real nice and all, there are definitely upsides to bipolar for some people. I have bipolar, and I am creative. But I have been creative from a very early age and to be honest I think that my bipolar does much more harm than help. This is not so say it's the case for everybody, but for me, I would give anything to not have periods of hellish depression, or consumed by guilt and rage in a mixed state where I lash out at the people I love for doing things like being the same room as me. The diagnostic criteria for type 2 only calls for one hypomanic episode, and I have only had one euphoric hypomanic episode that lasted for several days.

What I am saying is that you should be cautious not to romanticize the illness. I would spit in the face of anyone who told me my bipolar was a blessing that made me creative. I am creative because I am creative, not because of a disorder. My disorder is an obstacle to my creativity.

Not to mention, many people who have bipolar are not creative at all, and I think this idealization of bipolar as a creative person's illness is harmful to them. It makes it seem like just another failing, on top of the pain you experience and that your friends and family experience, if you can't at least be creative or brilliant. Even if a person is creative, having bipolar means that they will have a harder time accessing the means to fully express their talent or have it recognized by others. It means your chances of going to art school or schmoozing with intellectuals is greatly reduced. It means you will have a hard time in society, not just because of the stigma attached to mental illness but also because you might be grandiose or angry or withdrawn by turns, which makes it hard to maintain relationships. Not to mention the consequences if you fail to live up to someone's romanticized notions of what it means to be a bipolar creative.

I don't want to dump on the article. I liked it, and I don't deny that for some people it is useful to conceptualize their bipolar as something that aids their creative process, or at least as something they can see doesn't condemn them to failure, as so many great figures exist with bipolar.

But we are talking about some very exceptional people, when the reality of bipolar as it is experienced by the majority is not so sexy.

Andi's picture

In COMPLETE agreement. A

In COMPLETE agreement. A therapist once advised me to remember that I don't have to be miserable and depressive to be creative, and after a while, and getting super help with medication (after 3 years of trial and error) I absolutely agree with that - as far as my own experience goes. After reading some of my work written in a manic or hypomanic state later on, I realized that the work wasn't nearly as good as I thought it was at the time - most of it was disjointed and inconsistent, and I ended up having to rewrite the material anyway.

If you're a creative person, realize that it's not just the drive to create that will bring about the results you probably want. It takes consistent *work* (i.e., practice), just like love isn't enough to maintain a long-term relationship. You have to be willing to spend the time, and spend it regularly, to make it work. Experiencing the highs and lows and mixed states of bipolar disorder is about the most damaging aspect of my life in terms of finishing what I start. I would never again choose that high-flying mania over the low-key sense of accomplishment I get when I finish a chapter, and the sense of humble (or not so humble) joy and appreciation of my own determination when individual bits of inspired writing come together.

Enough babblement. I gotta get to work ;)

Seamus D.'s picture

Systems Theory as a Means of Understanding

I have bi-polar disorder and I believe I fall into the category of "manic genius." My mania is connected to my intellectual capacity, and my creativity manifests itself through philosophy. Both in rate of intake of information, and output of information. I believe I have developed the beginning of an existential philosophy that could help to explain this and many other questions. Please read comment and share. It should be seen as an open-source and living document. Hopefully soon there will be some sort of wiki where that can be achieved.

Thank you.

Rob Clark's picture

Philosophical Insights and Mania

I can release internally with Seamus D. I "suffer" from both bipolar and add. However, since I was in college at CMU, in retrospect I once thought in a manic phase that I could double major in anthropology and philosophy, with a minor in religion. This is a crazy amount of work for an undergrad degree. I took 400 and 500 level courses in philosophy when I was a freshman and sophomore! I would take this with 16 to 18 credits. When I was in middle school I tested at a 2nd year college level. In high school I did not fint in and found it impossible to relate to my peers since I perceived myself as way above my peers intelligence, abilities and creativity. My teachers were often blown away by my vocabulary and writing. Many times I I got in trouble for expounding too much information on.a topic that was simple in nature. Once In a humanities class on history music and art, my teacher came up to me and asked me to teach the class for the last half of the semester! Social sciences and humanities--especially philosophy have been my strong suit...flash forward, in college a few of my more open minded profs would comment on my papers with flattery at how thorough, original and masterful my conclusions on such vast topics were (I.e. consciousness the nature of the mind and existential propositions). I would stay up all night writing these papers, never feeling tired but feeling high and full of energy, complex concepts racing through my brain at light speed connecting vast topics and ideas together, without tiring. I would feel as if I was on the verge of philosophical epistemological ontological breakthroughs that would completely transcend the old paradigms of s Irene into a new age of enlightenment. I would often concieve myself as the face of our generation the genius of our lifetime who will enlighten the society with my insights into the nature of reality and be able to connect these insights vast areas of human knowledge and experience. It did not help that I have been naturally blessed and gifted in sports. Music, poetry, philosophy and science. I agree with this article. Though I probably am a lucky one in that for all the negative social relationships with girlfriends friends and family I have pushed away and isolated, there are a myriad of blessings that have manifested through this illness. One last point, I believe these creative breakthroughs in my expierence with mania is that there is a certain sublime emotional depth that is hard to perceive of in normal states but which can be graspedn perceptually in mania phases. I feel maniacs seem to feel a certain moral and ethical responsibily towards life, and when these high ideals for humanity are inevitably broken, we tend to slip into a deep depression in which feel the weight of the world upon our heart and mind. A pervading sense of guilt and shame ofmletting humanity and ourselves down keeps us in a nutshell of despair and guilt. You I think one of the benefits and negatives of manic depression that we have an overarching conscience and super ego that keeps us cycling. That is all.

BrokenWings's picture


Hello all, I've read through several of these postings & decided to put in my own bit.
I'm 18 years old & I was diagnosed with the disorder VERY early...age 6..I still feel that was wrong but heck idk.
I've gone un-treated for going on 2 years now & I'm starting to think that maybe seeing a counselor would be good but i'm not sure.
As a kid I never really paid much attention to my psychiatrists explanation of the disease because I couldn't understand it (and still don't) I couldn't tell you when my manic phases come through or when my depressive phases come through because they happen so much that I can't keep track. I can tell though that my moods change every couple of hours to sometimes every couple of days. I think I might have insomnia, I'm not sure. Sometimes I'll stay up for 1-2 days & burn out & wake up rejuvenated.I feel like people don't get me..I jump topics while talking & it gets me so frustrated that by the time I've gotten my point across I'm upset & don't want to speak anymore, or I'll say something that makes perfect sense to me & makes no sense to anyone else. I'm extremely sensitive. It's hard for me to tell when someone is joking so when I take it wrong they think I'm mad etc. but it's more like..I just don't know what to think of it. I live completely on my own in a pretty new-to-me state...but I've got over the whole being "overwhelmed" thing. A lot of people think I'm funny because of how straight forward I am. I'm extremely blunt to the point of being cruel & the past few months I've really been focusing on what it is that I'm saying to people, how it may come across etc. & I want to change it because it makes me feel like some think there's something genuinely wrong with me. I hate feeling like I'm crazy. I don't want to be medicated...I was on medications for years & they never helped. Just made things worse. I can recall several medications that made my depression spiral out of control. Abilify, Seroquil, Geodine..are just a couple & I had uncontrollable bouts of anger that resulted in me being arrested on numerous occasions. I had suicidal thoughts, gained weight, lost all of my self-esteem, I was always tired & fell asleep at times that didn't make sense. I couldn't function at all, I felt like a zombie so I stopped taking them. My family pretty much looks down on me as if I'm mentally retarded & I hate that.I'm intelligent I just don't have a filter. I've hit a serious low. I live alone & I'm struggling to find a job, get a car get back into college etc. My mind races. I find I have to write just about everything down or I get overwhelmed & just say "screw it." I drink on occasion. I know it's bad but it keeps the racing thoughts down. I've just recently started talking to a guy, & I really like him. It's one of those...friendships bloom into relationship type of things. I think he recognizes that I have a mood-disorder but he doesn't seem to..mind? I guess the word would be. We connect on a level that I've never been able to connect with someone with on. He has some of the same problems I do as far as talking...he rambles & hops topics but he's extremely me. I'm scared that if it goes far & then something happens & we don't work out I'm going to hit a superior low & break down. :(( I don't want that to happen & i'm still unclear as to whether or not I'm actually "bipolar" or just depressed :/ I was also diagnosed with ADHD so maybe that may play a factor in all of the mind racing & what not? I'm not sure. I'm extremely lost on it all & just want some educated opinions. I had a very rough upbringing & I think that the diagnosis of BPD was unfair. I'm quite certain I was stereotyped. I was born with a rare disease called Goldenhar Syndrome which causes asymmetry in some parts or all of the body depending on the severity. My case is mild I'd guess since some people don't notice at first but notice over time, some people notice straight away, & others never do. I'm hoping with this explained in full, someone on this forum could help me gain some more understanding since others have yet to do so.
I'd like to add that although this post may seem quite depressing I'm overall a happy person just lost & in need of guidance.

VvVisitor's picture


I just read your post & with a few exceptions - ( diagnosed at 6yrs old, liking a guy, seeing myself as intelligent & having adhd) - it could've been me you were writing about. WoW. I was formally diagnosed as Bipolar 1 about 8 years ago. Since then I have had a psychiatrist state that I'm not bipolar, a counsellor say it's complex ptsd & a gp who thinks I'm borderline personality disorder. Oh & I have a couple of aspergic friends who think I'm an aspie in denial. It's become rather confusing & convoluted to say the least. Until I read your post I thought my original diagnosis was wrong even though I spend 99% of my life depressed or the other 1% thinking anything is possible if I put my mind to it, no-one can stop me etc, & the sometimes associated arrogance & blind belief which accompanies it. Thankyou for your post, for a moment, I didn't feel like a whack-job anymore! I find living very difficult.

Dear Broken Wings's picture


ADHD and Bipolar are hand in hand because most people start out with ADHD when they're little then when they hit puberty it changes to Bipolar. But if you want answers to all these you may want to try a therapist such as myself.

Diane Woodson's picture

Just what i thought in Grad

Just what i thought in Grad School back in 07...ADHD is a disorder that has to be genetic in origin there is no way around it....I can remember being depressed at 18 suicidal....After 4 yrs of alcohol and drug abuse in college they figured out after a mania attack in which I was abducted raped and almost murdered that I had bipolar rapid cycling. I have taken lithium since age 22 and went off it about 3 times, thinking i was ok stupid right, I had every answer for people about why I was not bipolar you and I could think and as a result ended up in a shelter for 5 weeks then getting home to my husband. This was a few yrs back.

Bipolar will either get our mind or our body if untreated. I taught preschool in a number of places for 25 years, I am a professional writer now, I have just as much or more creativity with seroquel and lithium as without it...without meds I was creative all right but grandiose in personality and disorganized in personal life and finances went to hell. To any bipolar or a person who is depressed. Take the emeds do what you know to, let the dr figure it out and adjust of add eds to your regime.. Lets remember that without Medications bipolar is equal to true insanity, it is a brilliant madness.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Hang in and try to find

Hang in and try to find happiness in the present with the guy. Don't let your fear of being abandoned spoil your present. No one ever knows whether a relationship will work or not at the beginning.
I've been cyclothymic my whole life - now in 60's. I used my brain to learn to be diplomatic but I now find that I'm more and more blunt because I'm at the age where I don't give a damn. I just try to not say negative things much at all. But when someone is irritating enough to actually deserve a put down -- wham.
For me, Remeron takes enough edge off the racing that when I'm in an upswing I can function much better than I could without it. So I'm not taking it as an AD so much as a stabilizer. Tried other meds had horrid reactions.
While alcohol does help, temporarily, as it wears off it metabolizes into a stimulant that makes the nervousness worse. Also it can be habit forming and physically very debilitating. Pot helped years ago but I was afraid to use it too often and haven't touched it for decades.
I found that meditation helped for many years but I got away from it.
Your ADHD diagnosis may be erroneous - in a manic phase ADHD traits are prominent.
Hang in there. Get as much education as you can. If you can find something that you are good at it will really help.

Charles A. Bowsher's picture

Reply to "Brokenwings"

I read your post and while I can't offer any definite solution, I can say that I care about you and I hope you are able to find someone to talk to and make some sense out of what you face. You are not alone, I battle many of the same difficulties. Hang in there.

Madan's picture

Spiritual Anarchy

Spiritual Anarchy

Dancing and singing with arms upraised
through the streets of London, Washington
and Rome, Spiritual Anarchy brings the
happy ending to a story that began so
very long ago, no-one knows quite when.

I want to tell it straight, how I love
to go where we're generally not allowed
within the crippling constraints of the
Left Brain Logic world, where everything
needs to be ordered, ranked and defined
for the LBL authorities to maintain the
illusory safe feeling of absolute control.

I'm a Right Brain Refugee who found the
other world where I could feel free
when this one wore me out and made me feel
excluded for the crime of wanting to claim
what's rightfully mine, not only my sanity
but my true identity as a fully-connected
spiritual being whose eternal nature is to
taste joy through spontaneous expressions
of creativity born from the desire to give
pleasure to my fellow beings and God Almighty,
who's nowhere near as limited and controlling
as the LBL authorities make Him out to be,
and definitely not a fearsome old patriarch.

Left Brain governs the right side of the body
and I surely can’t be the first to notice
that when I'm in my Right Brain Refugee
mode of spontaneous creativity a whole new
world of possibilities opens up, which
sometimes scares the hell out of people
who don't believe there's life beyond
the LBL prison walls, not least because
Right Brain spontaneity jump-starts the
heart and redefines the parameters of love
beyond the rigid conventions of mere attraction
and attachment to partners, friends and family
on the level of body and mind, but way beyond
into full-blown life experience through
connection to my true self, the soul within,
enthroned in the palace of my heart
side by side with the Soul of souls,
the King of kings who's just waiting patiently,
a silent witness accompanying me throughout
my journey of self-discovery to that point
of recognition of the true beauty of divinity,
whose merest glimpse redefines reality.

Bipolar's not a crime to be punished
by labelling, exclusion and medication
that constrains behaviour and creativity,
but a symptom of radically changing times
when the youngest children of a dysfunctional
human family can't find the words but
can only act out what they need to say
by crossing the line into the forbidden zone
as Right Brain Refugees embracing the need for
a revolution in creative spontaneity
and calling out from high places with what
seems like crazy, random notions expressed in
music, dancing, art, performance and poetry
that carries one clear and consistent message:

There's a whole other world within, just waiting
for us to enter fearlessly and dive right in,
where truth is the sole authority and He,
in all His wisdom, introduces us gradually
to all His friends and those He loves so much
He wants to protect them from the madness
of Left Brain Logic that denies outright
the existence of God Almighty and a higher world
where we can be ourselves, our true selves
freed from the shackles of body and mind identity,
a logic that asserts defiance in the name of science
and kills millions in the name of religion,
all the time fiercely denying what's plain as day,
that unconditional love is the only way
to really progress and discover what we want to know,
based on faith and trust in the Creator
of this Universe, which clearly didn't happen
by accident or appear randomly from nowhere.

Believing we're random, accidental beings with
no higher purpose that to train ourselves to be
compliant producers and consumers within an economy
driven by Left Brain Logic leaders of industry who
would reduce us all to mere tradeable commodities
is a far more honest definition of insanity
than simply labelling Right Brain Refugees
as mad when all we're really trying to do,
whether consciously or unconsciously, is balance
and reconnect the two disjointed halves
of our inner world, driven by the same necessity
to reconcile and harmonize Western Left Brain
expertise and technology with Eastern Right Brain
creativity and spirituality to make ourselves whole,
for optimum functionality both as individuals and
one fully reconnected human family under God,
who's clearly calling us all home now, through
any of the 12 gates to the recently revealed
City of Revelation, which has turned up unexpectedly,
in a breathtaking display of divine creativity,
a timeless lotus mandala pattern 20 miles wide
connecting all the ancient sacred sites of London,
in preparation for a threefold Olympic symphony
of sporting excellence, culture and spirituality
expressed in waves of creative spontaneity,
all centred, enigmatically, at the good old BBC,
Broadcasting House, London W1, where lefty liberal
DJs and presenters are already racing furiously
to encourage one of the others to be the first
to 'come out' and say it publicly, that there's
far more to life than the dreary conventions
and formalities prescribed by state and industry
to lock us all within the grey prison walls
of Left Brain Logic and conformity.

The cure for mankind's widespread bipolarity is balancing
two halves as one by reconciling man's achievements
over time with the original beauty of divine design.

The New Earth Olympics 2012 throws open one gate
to the New Jerusalem, the long-awaited City of Revelation,
where we can all finally meet in unconditional love,
regardless of which entrance we eventually choose,
as fellow members of a Spiritually United Nations.

Faithful929's picture

Requesting your insight...

My husband has just been diagnosed with Bipolar II. While reading your post it became clear that you have an understanding about the importance / power of spiritual balance. If possible could I please contact you privately?

anand's picture


Hi, I will not comment on sprituallty having any relation with mania or not. But as you said your husband is diagnosed very recently with Bipolar , i will advice you to make shure that medicines provided by doctor is taken regularly by patient and being most close to the patient it is you who must always monitor the behavioural changes in your husband and should report to doctor immediately in case you find any abnormalities in behaviour. It is better for you and patient to maintain a diary with all experiences as they can be refered in future by you to understand the change. Also make shure to make your husband understand that only cure available for the disease is regular medicine. These medicines will have many side effect but the overall benefit from medicines will be far more than those side effect. medicines if taken regularly under doctor will make the life almost normal and leaving them can really ruin the life. So its better to take this advice and follow rather than experiencing any such mishappening in future that will definetly make you understand the importance of regular medicine , but by that time it may be late as what happened with me .
Best of luck.

Yazan's picture

spiritual balance

Sure, I wouldn't mind.

Madan's picture

Creative Arts in the Olympic Games

I just want to add, as an afterthought to my Spiritual Anarchy poem, that creative arts were included in the Olympic Games until 1954. See Wikipedia entry for Art competitions at the Olympic Games Art_competitions_at_the_Olympic_Games

Otavio Lima's picture

City of Revelation

Hey Madan, first of all, let me congratulate you on a brilliant piece of writing. Also on the online name of "Madan"! I can't figure out if this is an accidental misspeling, a deliberate misspelling, or a test to see if anyone is paying attention. Reminds me of a guy who rearranged the letters on the front grill of his pick up to spell "DORF". I asked him about it, and he told me no one ever noticed!

In any case, the whole piece is a manifesto for a revolution. It is the single most comprehensive analysis of BP, statement of independence, and focus on a spiritual integration I have seen in one place. These categories are not a left brain attempt on my part, to control what you wrote, but an existential appreciation of how clearly you summarize so many attempts at control of BP and mental illness in general, and the adventure of living the reality of an eternal and spiritual world. I find your summary of the City of Revelation specially amazing! I have studied the Book of Revelation for 14 years on and off, partly in Greek, and had to start by retranslating the first four chapters. I found that scholars are lilly livered yellow bellies who give you the formally correct sense of the word, without any appreciation of the context. This is an assinine way of translating anything, and misleading to boot! Your connection of the New Jerusaem, the City of Revelation, and London is also brilliant.

Hope to hear from you! You can also write directly to me:

Madan's picture

More Revelations

Hey Otavio. Madan is Sanskrit for Cupid, btw.
I'm very keen to hear more about your personal translation of the 1st 4 chapters of Revelation.
All is revealed at the New Earth Olympics 2012 website, with links to 'London, City of Revelation'
by C.E.Street. Its a stunning piece of work, divine design written all over it.
You can e-mail this author from there. I hope to hear more from you very soon!

Madan's picture

London, City of Revelation

Hey Otavio. Thanks for your encouragement for my writing. I'd love to discuss more about the City of Revelation, especially. It seems your direct address has been omitted, so let's find a way to communicate without trying to post our private e-mail addresses in a public forum. Any ideas?

Otavio Lima's picture

Private corresondence

Hey Madan,

Go to, register as madan, or whatever you like, and private message skookum. That will reach me privately, and we need not reveal personal e-mails, personal detais, or (something else that rhymes with "ails"). I did try at what I perceived to be a reference to an online messaging forum, but I may have misunderstood, it may not have reached you, or perhaps you did not like my message! I am interested in talking more. Hope to hear from you soon.

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