For many years, I struggled trying to cope with the living reality that I had bipolar disorder. Like many people, I made the mistake of letting it start to consume my identity. Rather than, being someone who HAD bipolar disorder, I became bipolar disorder. In a season of deep depression, I stumbled upon a YouTube video on Gary Vaynerchuk’s channel.
In this video, Gary Vee was talking with Ray Dalio and Tim Ferriss, and Mr. Dalio was talking about his son who had bipolar disorder. At the time, I was inspired by this video because these extremely successful people were talking about the illness I struggled with like it was a superpower rather than a debilitating weakness.
At the onset of their conversation, Mr. Dalio says that the first step in dealing with being depressed or having a diagnosis of bipolar disorder is to…
“Realize that, insanity is at the brink of genius… thinking differently, that creativity, it’s a tuning thing.”-Ray Dalio
Ray Dalio’s son, Paul has bi-polar disorder, but is high-functioning and highly creative. He produced a movie about the struggle with bipolar disorder called, Touched with Fire. In the movie, two people struggling with the condition meet at a treatment facility and fall in love. Due to their manic episodes, their love is intense and addictive, but as they walk on the brink of insanity together, they wonder if they’re good/healthy for one another.
Paul Dalio: Thriving With Bipolar
In this interview, Paul goes into some of the stigmas associated with being bipolar and how they fall short of properly conceptualizing what the “disorder” really is. In talking about the effect that transcendental meditation has had on his treatment, Paul goes on to say that it’s the difference between attempting to “crush an illness and trying to support a gift.”
In reframing the illness, the gift of being bipolar is in, “by nature, being meant to feel life deeply” and in submitting to the regimen of simply taking medication as an end all, be all are supposed to “give up life and just witness it happening while they wait for death.” For Paul, transcendental meditation has been a means to feel positive emotions more intensely.
The impact transcendental meditation had on Paul Dalio was so compelling that his doctor (Dr. Rosenthal) performed his own research on the effect that transcendental meditation (TM) has on people/patients that have bipolar disorder. Not being able to overlook the positive benefits that TM has on those with bipolar disorder, Dr. Rosenthal wrote his best-selling book, Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation.
Tim Ferriss: Riding the Manic-Depressive Rollercoaster
Tim Ferriss has been open and honest about his struggle with bipolar depression for some years now. Simply type the search term “bipolar” in the search bar on his uber popular blog and you will have hours upon hours of content to sift through.
I first became aware of his personal stuggles with bipolar when I read his article HERE. Him being someone I admired as an entrepreneur and always seeing him as someone that was the epitomy of productivity, it was inspiring to know that he struggled with the same mental illness that I did.
If he could do it… I could too!
In another post, Tim opens up about his battles while offering some productivity “tricks” for other neurotics, manic-depressives, and “crazy” types like him, while admitting that he’s no “superhero.”
“I’m no superhero. I’m not even a consistent “normal.”-Tim Ferriss
I highly recommend that you take the time to watch his TedTalk from 2017.
I shared this video in another post I wrote about Inversion Thinking. In this TedTalk, Tim shares that he suffers from bipolar-depression and how stoic philosophy has helped him avoid emotional free-fall.
In all of these examples, we can take great courage knowing that there are some high-functioning creatives that have learned how to cope with there mental illness and turn it into a superpower.
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