According to this article by the Psychiatric Times, and multiple other sites and books that I’ve read on the subject over the years, there’s definitely a connection between creativity and Bipolar Disorder or as this presumably eminent scholar put it, “it remains the case that there may be a common genetic component to both creativity and psychopathology”, but less of a link in the scientific community.
Many gifted musicians, painters, and writers had Bipolar Disorder including Vincent Van Gogh. Perhaps lists of bloggers and Youtube stars will be ranked among the geniuses someday, but somehow I doubt Chris Crocker will reach quite the same status. The gift of Bipolar Disorder is half a blessing and half a curse. Getting “gifts” of insight and creativity and incredible highs have to balance out the drops to what feels like nothingness and the numbness of depression. Would Van Gogh have preferred to have no mental illness, but no artistic life in order to avoid the hospitalization in an insane asylum? Surely, he would have lived a longer life without the illness and it is almost unbelievable to assume that his quality of life would not have improved.
Many of today’s artists (and geniuses like me) have other options that the Bipolar sufferers of the past did not. While I’m not a huge fan of the pharmaceutical industry in general, much of the medication available now works effectively enough to get the job done without totally crushing creativity. Even recent developments have improved the lives of those with Bipolar Disorder. A family member of mine who was later diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder was put into a mental hospital for nearly a year’s time in 1970 and put on the heavy anti-psychotic drug Thorazine. While I complained about my own treatment facility, his actual facility was the one “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” was modeled on.
I’d like to hear any of your ideas and experiences about how Bipolar Disorder has affected your own creativity and what you think of your own special kind of “genius”.