Bipolar disorder (BD) is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out daily responsibilities. If you have been diagnosed with BD, you may experience mania and/or depression, depending on the type of BD you have. Mania is often characterized as having heightened energy, feelings of elatedness, a sense of grandeur and more. Depressive episodes involve extreme fatigue, a sense of hopeless, sadness, and even suicidal ideation. While many people may address the challenges that are associated with BD, there are aspects of this disorder to celebrate: creativity!
BD has long been linked to creativity, but it’s been relatively unknown how this sense of creativity positively impacts those with the disorder. Some past research has taught us that those with BD to a lesser extent have been shown to be more creative than those with severe cases of BD, but many people with the disorder tend to take on creative careers such as those in filmmaking, visual artistry, performing, writing, designing and more. A 2015 study published in Qualitative Health Research conducted focus groups with creative participants who were diagnosed with BD. During the focus groups, the researchers asked several questions, including:
- Do different mood states have different impacts on creativity?
- How does BD add/enhance creativity?
- How does creativity relate to treatment?
- Are there aspects of creativity that might impact treatment?
Several surveys were also administered to help the researchers identify manic and depressive symptoms, quality of life, and creative achievements. They found that manic energy can have both positive and negative effects on creativity; with high energy, some participants found extreme motivation towards creative projects but obsessiveness could easily take those people away from important responsibilities. More than half of the individuals in the study reported feeling as though they had a “magic source” of unlimited creative potential, and this feeling of “super-connectedness” was something that greatly contributed to their creativity.
Overall, creativity was described as a principal component to a person’s identity when it comes to BD – many participants stated that it adds further purpose and meaning to their life, and creativity also served as an important emotional outlet for their recovery. Others found their creativity to be a great vehicle for sending out messages that could dispel some of the stigmas surrounding BD.
If you’ve been diagnosed with BD and you recognize a profound sense of creativity, embrace it! This is a wonderful aspect of yourself that you can cherish and embrace. Utilize it to the best of your abilities and allow it to enhance your quality of life.
Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, contact us today at 888-958-7511 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you.