Much has been written and said about a potential link between the hypomanias of Bipolar Disorder and creativity. Last month’s Webinar, Igniting The Creative Fire: The Neurobiology Of Creativity In Bipolar Disorder With Dr. Mohammad Alsuwaidan, explored the link with more scholarly insight than I am able to do, but I wanted to weigh in on the subject, from my own experience.
In my mind, there is little doubt that I become hyper creative and hyper productive during hypomanias. To paraphrase Kay Redfield-Jamison; the right words (thoughts and behaviors) come! Here’s the catch: I am successfully medicated and try to avoid mood swings, which means hypomanias are few and far between. Therefore, I have to work harder to tap into my creativity. How do I do this?
•Setting a schedule for writing (my creative outlet) is of enormous help. I started with small chunks of research time and added writing time (an hour or so in the beginning).
•Be accountable for your writing/drawing/playing… schedule. I show my boyfriend my accomplishments daily/weekly. Be accountable to someone who understands your barriers and is flexible.
•Journaling. Whether you write or draw or paint or play music or whatever your creative outlet is: journal your progress & thoughts (and highlight your successes).
•Meet-Ups. Get together with people who share your passion and feed their (and feed off their) creativity!
During depressive episodes I am still creative when able, but my writing often takes on a darker Tone (much of which I discard or file under “remembering the dark dayz”). On down days, I limit myself to poetry and journaling (because they are less time-consuming) and set lower expectations for myself. I also lean more heavily on Meet-Ups during this time, to keep me motivated.
Here is a partial list of famous creative people who inspire me (for a comprehensive list see Wikipedia or Google Search):
1.Vincent Van Gogh
4.Kurt Cobain (Nirvana)
5.Catherine Zeta Jones
9.Carrie Fisher (“Princess Leia”)
11.Linda Hamilton (from Terminator)
12.Vivien Leigh (“Scarlett O’Hara)
13.Jean Claud Van Damme
14.Jane Pauly (Today Show)
23.Justin Furstenfeld (Blue October)
26.Jack Irons (Red Hot Chili Peppers/Pearl Jam)
27.Patrick J Kennedy
31.Ron Artest/Metta World Peace
I hope you will explore this topic more by viewing the Webinar mentioned above and by reading Kay Redfield Jamison’s (my heroine) book (1993, Touched With Fire: Manic Depressive Illness and The Artistic Temperament, NY, The Free Press). Happy art creation!