We are all familiar with the story of the “tortured artist” but is there a unique creative force in the mood swings of bipolar disorder?
By the time I was sixteen years old, I had convinced myself that I was a creative genius. I knew nothing yet of bipolar disorder, but the budding manias of my teenage years had flowered into an obsessive pursuit of literary greatness. Inspired by poets like William Blake and Emily Dickinson, I wrote constantly, often into the early morning hours. After writing page after page in my journals, I shoved the pieces of paper into my very own secret box.
When I think about those years, and then the eventual tumultuous years of my early twenties, I often ask myself: Was such intense creativity the result of madness? Or was madness the result of creativity? I ask the same question when I consider the lives and creative contributions made by the many great poets, writers, musicians, and artists who may have had bipolar disorder.
Read the rest of my article at https://www.bphope.com/blog/world-bipolar-day-honoring-van-gogh-are-creativity-and-madness-linked/.
A bipolar mixed episode is a uniquely confusing experience and can result in a state of extreme agitation and despair, but you can prevent this by recognizing early signs of a coming episode.
I sat at dusk, my arms around my knees, at the junction of a turbulent and muddy river and the slow, dark water of an ocean inlet. As I sat at the convergence of two vastly different and yet similar things, my mind, too, found itself at its own convergence. Somehow, two moods-vastly different and yet somehow similar-had merged into something terrifying, feverish, and inexplicably sad.
Hours earlier, when I was overflowing with love and grandiose dreams, I spent several hundred dollars on gourmet cookies and bouquets of roses and lilies to hand out to friends. Later, as day turned into evening, mania and depression blended together into the unique and startling pain of a bipolar mixed episode….
Read more at https://www.bphope.com/blog/agitated-despair-mixed-episodes-and-bipolar-disorder/
Every year, the returning sunlight marks the coming of my most dangerous season, and so begins my preparation for another bipolar spring.
I have my very own bipolar calendar. And it is nearly always the same. Every spring, like clockwork, the sun returns to southern Alaska with an unnecessary force, and with it comes the manic eruptions that signal the end of the comforting darkness of winter.
Read more at https://www.bphope.com/blog/learning-to-set-the-rules-for-your-bipolar-calendar-as-the-seasons-change/
Do you ever trick people into thinking you are OK?
Individuals with bipolar disorder quickly learn how to become tricksters—because the truth is simply not polite.
I leaned to the left in the photograph, laughing as I held a puppy on the bow of a green riverboat. I was smiling my slightly crooked smile, and in the background—in a dark sky above black spruce trees—were two bright arcs of a double rainbow. A puppy, a smile, a rainbow—all three were the unmistakable symbols of pure and perfect happiness.
Little did the photographer, or anyone else, know that it was all a trick. Despite the props in that photograph, despite being surrounded by joy and backlit by rainbows, the sky was still dark.
Read the rest of my article at https://www.bphope.com/blog/the-bipolar-trickster-smiling-in-the-face-of-it/.
My husband could say I am “worth it” despite my bipolar illness, but he does not. Instead, we both say that is a question that should never be asked.
When it is below zero and I am ice fishing on a frozen Alaskan lake, I concentrate all my energy on catching fish. Each time I fish, my husband—who knows I love fishing more than almost anything—immediately goes into support mode.
Read the rest of this article about bipolar disorder and love at https://www.bphope.com/blog/love-bipolar-disorder-and-being-worth-it/.
Remorse after a bipolar episode can cause tremendous pain, but when everybody else says “don’t look back,” I say: “look.”
I once read a book about tracking animals, and when I lived for several months on the edge of the enormous Chugach State Park in Alaska, I tracked a snowshoe hare in the alder thickets along the side of a popular hiking trail.
Read more of my blog article at bphope.com https://www.bphope.com/blog/self-tracking-moving-forward-after-a-bipolar-episode/