I am an artist. I have been one all my life. I am just recently starting to accept my Bipolar I Disorder diagnosis and yet the more I learn about it, the more I wonder how much do I really owe to this disorder as an artist.
I am off medication right now but just for another month. I know now that I need it and I am now willing to give it a try. But before I go back on the drugs I am desperate to find out if those times of extreme and fruitful inspiration where just hypo manic episodes. Even worst, I wonder if all along every time I felt inexplicably inspired I was just being manic instead of gifted.
I personally feel that being an artist defines who I am as a human being. It has determined my personality and my decisions in life greatly. Unfortunately much of my behavior in the last few years has been erratic, self destructive and unproductive. However when it came to art my moods and manic stages only fueled my artistic side. Sometimes I even wonder if it is worth finding out that all these hours I spent furiously creating pieces of art were just manic episodes.
Are there any artists or creative individuals that feel as if their creative process and their artistic drive was somehow the result of their bipolar disorder? Wouldn't this make Bipolar Disorders the artist's muse?
I suffer from a mental illness, such as yours and a artist, I am on medication which keeps me from harm. I too would stop taking my meds because I was feeling better. Yet the damage as a result out weighs the effects. When on meds the illness is still there I still if not more so can create more. My drive to create comes from a clear mind that is still creative.
I as an agnostic trust in sciences medical and mental health. Humanity has found ways of helping our minds. When I was a religious person I was always told to trust in god not in drugs, I trust medicine that is humanity evolving to treat flaws of our minds. Hope this helps you.
Sorry for the fragmentation of my writing or english errors I also deal with a learning disablity which causes my brain to skiip faster then my fingers.
Carmen, I know you wrote this years ago, and may not even any longer be following TA or this discussion, but in case you are, or in the event that someone else might read this, here's some information - in answer to your question - that you might like to know:
CREATIVE MANIC-DEPRESSIVES (BiPolar):
Italian sculptor/painter Michelangelo, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, the poet Rimbaud, French philosopher Rousseau, German writer Goethe, composers Chopin, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Schubert, Beethoven, Rossini, Mozart, Schumann, Franz List, Mussorgsky, and Aaron Copeland; playwright Anton Chekov, Russian author Tolstoy, Sir Issac Newton, Charles Dickens, Vincent Van Gogh, writer Samuel Johnson, Jonathan Swift, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Russian writer Maxim Gorky, Italian poet Torquato Tasso, Gauguin, American philosopher William James, German writer Heinrich von Kleist, Nathaniel Hawthorne, German writer Heinrich von Kleist, French poet Rimbaud, Italian painters Paolo Uccello and Carlo Dolci, English poets Shelley and Keats, French mathematician Lagrange, painter Pablo Picasso, American painter Raphael Soyer, novelist I. B. Singer, Italian painter Annibale Carracci, Russian poet Pushkin, American novelist Thomas Wolfe, Spanish painter Goya, American poet Robert Lowell, Russian writer Lermontov, Italian painter Caravaggio, French mathematician Galois, Dutch painter Pieter Muller, Italian artist Cellini, Flemish painter Rubens, French novelist Balzac, Thomas Edison, English scientist Robert Hooke, Italian painter Raphael, physicist Robert Oppenheimer (director in charge of the completion of the atomic bomb), English poet William Blake, English poets William Cowper, William Collins and Christopher Smart; German mathematician Georg Cantor, French philosopher Comte de Saint-Simon, German philosopher Neitzsche, French painters Daumier and Utrillo, Norwegian painter Edvard Munch, French philosopher Auguste Comte, French writer Guy de Maupassant, French poet Baudelaire, Italian painter Gagliardi, Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, English writers Oliver Goldsmith and Richard Sheridan, German painter Johann Rottenhammer, Dutch painters Brouwer, Molenaer, deWitte, Hals, Vermeer, as well as Rembrant van Rjin; Russian writer Dostoyevsky, French poet de Musset, English playwright Addison, English poet Swinburne, Dutch painter Jongkind, playwright Eugene O’Neill, German playwrights Schiller and Schlegel, American poet Hart Crane, French writer Gautier, writer Thomas de Quincey, Scottish poet Robert Burns, American writer Edgar Allen Poe, English painter Rossetti, German poet Hein, American writer Lafcadio Hearn, Hungarian poet Lenau, Italian painter Gaspare Celio, French novelist Alexander Dumas, Swedish playwright Strindberg, French poet Verlaine, biographer James Boswell, French writer Chateaubriand, French novelist George Sand, English writer Charles Lamb, Italian painter Francisci Bassano, French novelist Victor Hugo, French painter Degas, American molecular chemist Paul Saltman, Italian painter Carlo Dolci, poet Stephen Spender, novelist George Elliot, American mathematician Morris Kline, Italian writer Vittorio Alfieri, writer Arthur Koestler, English writer Charlotte Bronte, Italian painter Vasari, Scottish inventor James Watt, American writer Nathanial Hawthorne, as well as Howard Hughes, Mao Tse-Tung, Joseph Stalin, Adolph Hitler and Napoleon.
What a list
Thats why they sometimes call it BiPolar In-order.
I hear that Steven Fry relapsed a few weeks ago - are you familiar with him?
Yes, uncloseted Gay, admittedly BiPolar, and very funny, but I hadn't heard about a relapse - with all due respect to Steven, at his age, he should know better.
Does relapse mean 'back on the wagon"?
Sorry - I didnt mean it like that - I meant that he attempted suicide again.
Some difference - suicide is to "relapse" as evisceration is to hangnail --
Mental illnesses don't disappear, they are life long. Relapse can happen to anyone, it is not like he did something.
We should be trying to encourage each other instead of question his person. It sounds like a religious group of gossips.