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nibblerd

Bipolar and Creativity

  

87 members have voted

  1. 1. Has bipolar disorder influenced your creative drive in a significant way?

    • Yes, bipolar I
      33
    • Yes, bipolar II
      28
    • Yes, schizoaffective (bipolar type)
      2
    • Kinda
      14
    • No
      10


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At age 7 I was taking my family's computers, VCRs, TVs (ouch!) etc apart, repairing them, whatever. Maybe that's not quite creative..

In grade 5 I was extremely excited to be able to join band or orchestra. I couldn't decide which, so I convinced the school to drop P.E. because of my dance stuff and do both.

I was a very creative writer throughout school, always going all-out on any writing assignment or essay and in my spare time I wrote a 587 page Harry Potter fan fiction in grade 7. I took dance classes (ballet, jazz, tap, "hip hop" [it's bullshit]) for four years (10-14) and that was a pretty fun way to burn energy (where I also got to meet cute girls). I also liked doing standup comedy and my family has always said I'm a funny person.

This isn't a scientific study, just a poll of the BP population on the site :)

If you feel more creative, how has it manifested?

Edited by nibblerd

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What makes you think there's any connection between these things and your bipoar disorder?

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I said Yes, However. I already had the creative drive... its just when I'm depressed I don't give a shit about anything enough to actually do it. So my creative drive is gone because I can't act on it. I would have to agree with the posts before me, I would say it doesn't change how creative I am, Just how much I act on it depending on my mood.

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This has been addressed here many, many, MANY times, but I'll say it again. There are a lot of people in the world who are creative without being MI and there are a lot of creative MI people out there and there are a lot of nutters out there who don't have a creative bone in their body.

One doesn't lead to the other. Just as having red hair doesn't make one nasty tempered. It's a stereotype.

edited for clarity

Edited by withing

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How would one tell if the BP influenced ones creative drive?

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I'm not gonna vote, cuz in my docs office here are five or more subspecies of BP........and I've been thru four of them or so. As for creativity.........I agree. Some great artists are not. Some are. Before my dx, I was a creative MF.........working on projects, often to completion.........playing international national theatres and being in indie films......but I am BP.

Now that I'm medded, I can't really say that I'm blinkered and blunted..........I may be thinking slower, and I may plan less projects, but part of my work is showing up for projects and I can usually do that. While - lately- lithium seems to stop the excessive ruminating that keeps me awake? It seldom stops me from ruminating on a project I care about that must be done. I think cases where people feel blunted and ineffectual is a result of improper medding, or medding in cases where its necessary to stop psychotic mania or depression..........which is more important than my latest poem cycle, yanno?

It's necessary to speak to ones doc, if you have to be creative and the drugs make you a zombie. A good reference point is Jamison's An Unquiet Mind, where she found a useably healthy but reduced amount of lith made things possible again.............My doc knows I write for a living, and talks about that........if I came in saying I can't meet deadlines or keep a friggen thought in my head? It's his job to make that problem go away ...usually via meds. While I have had meds slow down my brain, and sometimes? Make my brain go into useless slow motion? I ask what the situation was and what was better? Me writing the great American novel and hanging myself, or me getting thru this week..............but thats me.........

For those of us with BP, creativity is part blessing , and part curse..........but? its up to us and our caregivers to figure out the proper balance. Something BP is vicious with..........our sense of balance.

peace

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Bipolar moods are extremes and they can drive nearly any personal desire. Artistic endeavors are but one thing. Shopping is another. Cleaning closets yet another. Any drives that lasts when the mood state is gone probably have nothing to do with the illness.

Out of curiosity, I did a quick scan of PubMed. At first I thought that prior research concluding no higher incidence of bipolar disorder creativity had been revised. At first blush, it seems to have been. I couldn't find anything that said there was not a propensity for greater creativity. I was surprised. Instead of seeking the results I sought, I started critically reading the results that popped up. There were more studies on PubMed than I read, but the ones I read went like this. A couple studies concluded BP was more creative than Healthy Controls. This study, for example, sounded somewhat convincing until I looked up what a BWAS measure was. There also was this other study that relied on the BWAS, Meyers and Briggs, NEO, and TEMPS. Sounds like impressive testing, but really their conclusion only describes their 22 creative controls. I really don't see how they draw any conclusion about bipolar. While failing to identify the scientific methodology they tout, this study seems to be a self-fulfilling prophecy based on reading some autobiographies and diagnosing some artists posthumously. The universe apparently is famous artists they chose to investigate. So, I said enough of PubMed. Neurotransmitter.net is a site which provides many abstracts on the subject you query. I queried creativity and mental illness. Although nearly all of the abstracts on this page presume something like this, "It has been known for a long time that people with salient social and artistic creativity suffer more frequently from psychiatric illnesses than the average population," none seem to proffer anything to support it other then pointing to some famous artists that presumably had bipolar (Van Gogh, Woolf, etc) or self reports of artists as moody people. Although I am not a scientist and my knowledge is far from complete, I don't recall self-reported moodiness being a defining symptom of bipolar disorder and quite frankly, "moody" does not mean bipolar. There are other issues, too, one being that perhaps moodier artists volunteer for psychiatric testing. I think I am safe in drawing those conclusions, at least. So, from this rather limited search of mine, I am just not seeing anything that compels me to believe that those with bipolar disorder statistically are more creative than the population at large.

ETA:

I forgot to answer your question. Yes, BP 1 has influenced my creativity in that I am more compelled to sit down and draw when I am depressed or manic. It's all consuming at the time. I think I am especially talented, too. In truth, I'm better at it when I routinely draw while stable. Does what I experience in mood states influence my subject? Of course. So to does the play of shadow and light on a random walk in the park. It just means MORE like every mood is more when I am unstable.

Edited by Stacia

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I was just curious if others have the strong urge to create when manic as well. I find myself able to write music about miserable things when depressed, but I usually end up hating whatever I made. I love the hell out of my creations when manic, and they might not be as great as I thought later. mellow.gif

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My experience with full on mania was that the person certainly felt they were more creative but in truth what they were creating was not really that good. Deranged is a word that comes to mind.

I think this just serves to romanticize bipolar.

nf

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"587 page Harry Potter fan fiction in grade 7" = respect

i write stories but more often than not my illness stands in the way. one needs focus and a sober mind for writing.

(edit: can i read the fan fiction?)

Edited by domovoi

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"587 page Harry Potter fan fiction in grade 7" = respect

i write stories but more often than not my illness stands in the way. one needs focus and a sober mind for writing.

(edit: can i read the fan fiction?)

My dad may have a floppy diskette with the doc on it, but I lost any other copies a few years ago in the great hard drive crash of '06. So if he finds the diskette and I find a computer with an actual disk drive, I don't see why not!dunce.gif

Edited by nibblerd

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Some people are just naturally more creative. It doesn't have to be due to Bipolar Disorder unless you were hypomanic or manic all of those years.

Actually there is a link between creativity and bipolar disorder. It's been evidenced scientifically.

"After three decades of research, there is persuasive, if not definitive, evidence linking creativity with bipolar disorders in particular."

"Our bipolar disorder patients (one-quarter of whom were taking lithium) performed better than healthy controls on the BWAS, and similar to healthy controls on three other creativity measures." BWAS = Baron Welsh Art Scale

- Claudia M. Santosaa, Connie M. Stronga, Cecylia Nowakowskaa, Po W. Wanga, Courtney M. Rennickea and Terence A. Ketter. 2007. Enhanced creativity in bipolar disorder patients: A controlled study. Journal of Affective Disorders Volume 100, Issues 1-3, June 2007, Pages 31-39.

I think that the highs and lows one experiences in cases of bipolar moods make it easier to get in touch with your creative side and be inspired by the world around you. Ever since I've been medicated (i.e. on lithium specifically). I've been totally uncreative compared to my former self - I'm still pretty creative but I don't express myself by writing or painting anymore. I'm not surprised that only 1/4 of the patients were taking lithium, if it was more perhaps there would not be a marked difference??

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