Since resceiving my diagnosis in 2004, It has always been fascinating to me that many eastern cultures view mental illness differently than medical professionals in the western hemisphere. Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia aren’t viewed so much as psychotic breaks as they are spiritual awakenings.
In Shamanism, those who struggle with these mental illnesses aren’t considered crazy, they’re viewed as people who are more spiritually perceptive, in-tune, and enlightened.
In this post, it isn’t my goal to diminish the downsides of mental illness and glamourize/romanticize them. My goal is to share some of the upsides or positive benefits in having bipolar disorder.
Let me be clear… the negative consequences associated with my first psychotic break in 2005 far outweighed the positive outcomes. With that said, there were some positive outcomes associated with that experience.
The Upside of Being Manic
Over the years, I’ve experienced some extraordinary results in being manic. When I’m manic, I’m able to stretch the horizons of what’s possible by extending the boundaries of what’s known.
These intense bouts with mania have led to some miraculous and supernatural events that I’m confident I wouldn’t have been able to experience otherwise.
When I’m manic, I’m able to stretch my beliefs and expand my worldview quicker than I’m able to when I’m at emotional equilibrium. As a word of caution, I’m not encouraging people who have bipolar disorder to induce mania to try and grow their beliefs.
Outside of growing my beliefs or strengthening my faith, another benefit to being manic is the heightened level of creative output I’m able to acheive.
In my personal experience, being manic has induced some of my most creative ventures.
One of my favorite resources sharing the upside to being bipolar disorder is this one…
For me personally, it has been liberating to draw inspiration from other high-functioning creatives/professionals who also struggle with being bipolar.
In this interview clip, Ray Dalio, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Tim Ferriss, three people I admire, talk about the genius involved with having bipolar disorder.
The Link Between Genius and Madness
“No great genius has ever existed without a touch of madness.”-Aristotle
In having bipolar disorder, it’s easy to succomb to negative mindsets and stigmas surrounding the illness, so bringing a certain amount of dignity to the subject is vital in coping with it.
All things considered, I’ve found it best to not be naive about my conditions and take the necessary medical precautions seriously. I’ve also deemed it necessary to not adopt a “broken” beyond repair mindset in treating my mental illness either.
It’s possible to treat your illness without completely numbing yourself or missing out on the positive aspects related with being bipolar.
There’s a delicate balance that needs to be practiced here.
I also found this video helpful/enlightening…
What science now needs to bare is just how important or effective encouraging creative ventures among those who have a stronger pre-disposition to psycho-pathology is.
For those of us who struggle with psycho-pathology, having ample creative outlets at our disposal seems to have more positive benefits than not having them in our lives. The correlation is well documented and measurable.
If encouraging the mentally ill to harness creative power can improve quality of life and lower rates of suicide, it’s worth it to pour time and resources into those endeavors.
Don’t Be Shy!
Share in the comments below what creative outlets and ventures have helped you cope with mental illness most? If you enjoy this kind of content, subscribe/follow to receive it directly to your inbox.
I’d love to hear from you! If you have questions, would just like to say hi, or have a good joke to share with me, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. When time permits, I personally respond to each and every email I receive.
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