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Gwen Smith Ishmael, Sr. Vice President of Insights and Innovation at Decision Analyst in Arlington, TX, has led marketing and new product development activities in the CPG and technology industries since 1986. She also conceived and developed ground-breaking Web-based promotional vehicles, two of which are patent pending. Gwen holds an MBA in Marketing and is a featured speaker on insights and innovation around the world. Her writings have been featured in international text books, most recently in Managing 4 Ps of Marketing FMCG Sector, and Product Innovation: A Strategic Tool for Growth, by ICFAI Publications, 2006 and 2007, respectively.

Founding Author

Renee Hopkins Callahan Renee Hopkins Callahan started IdeaFlow and serves as chief blog-wrangler. She is Director of Innovation Services at Decision Analyst in Arlington, Texas, is a former journalist who worked as an editor and reporter for The Dallas Morning News and the Nashville Tennessean, and was managing editor of D, the Dallas city magazine. She has a master's degree in rhetoric and has also taught college-level English and informal logic.
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November 10, 2005

Bipolar children more creative than other kids

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Posted by Renee Hopkins Callahan

More evidence of a link between creativity and mental illness: "Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have shown for the first time that a sample of children who either have or are at high risk for bipolar disorder score higher on a creativity index than healthy children."

I've written about this kind of thing before. It fascinates me because my personal experience has been that there's sometimes a fine line between creativity and mood states that most professionals would call disordered. The line can be so fine that it's down to whether the expressions are positive or negative -- if positive, call it creativity; if negative, call it personality disorder. Although there are also positive and negative manifestations of creativity traits.

There has long been a link between bipolar and creativity -- the manic stage of bipolar can result in binges of creativity (positive) instead of binges of shopping or sex (negative, depending on budget and marital status/choice of partner[s]!). This is the first study that has shown a link between creativity and children whose parents are bipolar (who are thus themselves at risk of becoming bipolar, which has a genetic component).

Study co-author Terence Ketter, MD, said he believes "bipolar patients’ creativity stems from their mobilizing energy that results from negative emotion to initiate some sort of solution to their problems. 'In this case, discontent is the mother of invention,' he said."

The researchers also found a link between the length of a bipolar child’s illness and creativity: the longer a child was sick or manic, the lower the creativity score. It makes sense, said Kiki Chang, MD, a study coauthor, that this illness could, over time, erode one’s creativity. 'After awhile you aren’t able to function and you can’t access your creativity,' he explained.

Creativity scores on the study's test instrument, the Barron-Welsh Art Scale, tend to decrease with age even in healthy individuals, so more research is needed, Ketter said.

A couple of years ago I posted on a study that said people whose brains are more open to stimuli from the outside environment will either be:

1. Creative, because their openness to new possibilities and stimuli gives them more, and more various, information with which to make connections and have new ideas, or
2. Psychotic, because their openness to new possibilities and stimuli leads to overload and mental illness.

It's not possible to correlate these two studies scientifically, given the little information I have about each (and the fact that I'm not a scientist). Still, I wonder if some of the same positive/negative correlation might be happening here? And if children who have been bipolar for a longer period of time aren't as creative, perhaps that signals that the longer they live with the condition of being more open to outside stimuli, the more difficult it becomes for them to handle it.

I also wonder if specific training in creativity skills might help bipolar people whose symptoms don't currently manifest themselves as the more positive creative traits. Perhaps if they knew what to do with their innate creativity, these folks would be able to live more on the positive than the negative side of creativity.

Comments (24) | Category: Brain Chemistry & Creativity


COMMENTS

1. Douglas Eby on November 10, 2005 7:09 PM writes...

A fascinating topic - and children do become adults, also perhaps both bipolar and creative. One example being Psychiatrist Kay Redfield Jamison, author of the book Touched With Fire : Manic Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament - she has commented, "I honestly believe that as a result of it I have felt more things, more deeply; had more experiences, more intensely; loved more, and have been more loved; laughed more often for having cried more often; appreciated more the springs, for all the winters..."

more on my Talent Development Resources site, on the page bipolar disorder
http://talentdevelop.com/bipolar.html

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2. clivado on November 17, 2005 10:18 AM writes...

I read your blog for a long time Renee. Keep a good work.

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3. Timothy Chase on December 16, 2005 8:27 AM writes...

I personally believe that the boundary between differences in personality and personality disorders is somewhat blurred. However, as someone who suffers from bipolar disorder (heaven to hell every twenty-four hours and three hours sleep a night for two weeks at one point) -- and who has had all the bells-and-whistles during another episode (vivid colors, lights so bright that on an overcast day, it hurt to keep my eyes open, loud sounds, entities and patterns standing out more from their background, increased introception and hunger, etc.), I definitely regard it as an illness.

My wife has friends who have gone much further down that rabbit hole, and one of them got into writing non-stop something which seemed terribly important to her, like something that might save the world or something, but looking back, coherence had completely broken down at the level of sentences. As for myself, during the manic phase of the rapid cycling, I entirely lost my ability to think self-critically. Delusional seems an apt term, even though there was some basis for the thoughts that I was having, they were highly exaggerated, and I took every thought to be "insight" which was so clearly an "insight" given the intensity of my certitude that I quite literally couldn't examine these "insights" self-critically. The mania was worse -- more out of touch with reality -- than the depression.

Left untreated bipolar just gets worse -- and at the end of the road, mixed mania can give way to a psychosis similar to extreme schizophrenic psychosis, except you have all this energy combined with the negative thoughts of severe depression. Congratulations! Now you are a real danger to yourself and anyone you meet.

If someone is bipolar, they should treat the illness, longterm. Bipolar medication will tend to lift your general mood as well (outside of the mania and depression). Oh, and incidentally, if left untreated not only are you drawing closer to the mixed mania and psychosis, but there is a good chance that you are doing real physical damage to your brain. (Swiss cheese, comparable to ecstasy brain damage I suppose, but the mania itself probably resembles a cocaine high -- some people pay good money for this sort of thing, and your brain does it all on its own!) Ah, but bipolars typically prefer not to get medicated -- because even at the price of the depression, they want to have the manic highs -- and the "creativity" and "productivity" associated with them.

(No doubt some of the creativity is real -- as you suggest -- but creativity is something one can learn to do without the aid of the mania. As for the productivity, not quite sure what can replace being able to be full of energy like having been touched by God after three hours of sleep a night day after day. But I guess I would just prefer to be in touch with reality. Besides, I am generally more happy.)

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4. jinjee on December 30, 2005 1:01 AM writes...

Wow! I just stumbled across this article and I'm amazed. I'm just a lay person but I have noticed that all the people I've met who are bi-polar are also very creative. I myself am a creative type and when the moon is waxing I am increasingly high energy and when it wanes I am increasingly low energy. When I have a lot of energy right around and just before the full moon I'll often stay up all night and do something I've been wanting to do like write a story or do two weeks worth of filing. Often I'll do something creative. And then my energy starts to wane. Its only natural as I've "borrowed" energy from my future self by staying up all night.

Before I realized that I was tuned in to the moon I used to get depressed because at my high point I would think "wow I'm finally getting it together" and I felt like I'd always have energy and then the next day my energy would already be going downhill. Sometimes I would get depressed about that. These days I know it is just a natural cycle that some creative-and-in-tune-with-nature-people have. And when I go into my low-energy phase I look at it as being peaceful. I'm just "doing nothing" because as Betty Edwards says in "Drawing on the Right Side of The Brain" there is a germination phase of creativity when you can't see anything going on because it is going on underground. I think that looking at it like this coupled with a raw vegan diet has helped me to feel more even-keel emotionally. These days I also make myself go to sleep by 2:00 AM (I've only pulled a couple of all-nighters this year) and I think that getting enough sleep regularly plays a huge part in being more emotionally stable.

Maybe I'm depriving the world of some great film or book but I actually feel more creative in my day to day life. Maybe one day when my four young children are grown up I'll indulge my artistic nature once again!

Anyway it was nice to find this article talking about concepts close to my heart!

Thank you for your work!
Jinjee

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5. Melissa Frost on January 16, 2006 12:43 PM writes...

I agree with this article 100 percent. I myself suffer from Bipolar disorder, along with other various Mental Illnesses since I was 12. I've met my share of kids and teenagers with bipolar and believe very strongly that those who suffer do have a higher intelligence and creativity skill. Our brains work different than the average person. Our minds just don't think in one state. We think very complex. (Did that make since?) My brain is always thinking. The more I think, the more I can think of the plan on what to do with a certain project. Basically what I'm trying to get to is those with a mental illness use a lot more of their brain than the average. I think this is because we have certain chemicals out of wack which makes us focus on not just a tiny part of our brain but other parts others have yet to explore. My apologies, I haven't been very good at expressing my self lately. Also pardon my self on grammar mistakes, I'm only 17.:/

Take care.

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6. Heather Rainwater on May 9, 2006 2:39 PM writes...

I'm afraid that I disagree. I think that personality disorders, such as bipolar, may score a false positive for creativity. The mania of not being able to think straight, possibly for weeks on end, may seem like creativity. This type of "creativity" is merely the random placement of certain pieces of information that a normally functioning brain would instantly recognize as incorrect, and therefore disregard. Such randomness due to mania should be controlled for, and the study in question didn't have any indication that such controls were used.

Unfortunately, the previous poster, Melissa Frost, has demonstrated this very clearly in her entirely unclear post. If she were a non-native English-speaker, or 9 years old, the difficulty of reading her paragraph would be acceptable. However, she makes claims she cannot possibly back up, such as the idea that the mentally ill use more of their brain than the mentally sane. Additionally, at near-adulthood, she writes with all the linguistic acuity of a child. Perhaps if she had not had to suffer her mental illnesses, she would have advanced more normally.

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7. Benjamin Padman on May 24, 2006 12:23 AM writes...

I believe that Bipolar Disorder is an illness. However, being a person "touched by the fire" so to speak, i believe the cognitive uniqueness and flexibility it brings me far surpasses the emotional deficits (as long as the maintenance medication is continued).

I am an undergraduate scientist studying nanotechnology, and despite being in a course dominated by the search for logic, i find solace in the chaos of quantum mechanics.

In my oppinion, a huge proportion of my cognitive abilities are derived from the right hemisphere, as my problem solving is chaotic, my ideas are creatively inspired, and my solutions seem to sometimes "come from nowhere" from the pespective of people bound to the inflexible bars of logic.

is it not possible that it is our definition of creativity that may need some re-evaluation? not the connection between the tempest and the mind?
It may simply be a case of distinguishing the people with chaotic minds who can harness it, and the people who cant.

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8. cc on May 29, 2006 12:35 PM writes...

I attended a presentation by Drs. Ketter and Schatzberg addressed bipolar and creativity in adults. They focused on known artists, actors, musicians et al and actually had graphs proving the link between bipolar and creativity.

Apparentlyh the moral dilemma the mediacl community faces is 'if we eliminate bipolar, where will we get the future Michelangelo's who give us the artistry civilization craves....'

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9. Marty on June 6, 2006 8:42 PM writes...

After reading all the comments I have come to the realization that mental illness is just that. No pun intended but I can put a donkey in a suit but it is still a donkey never the less. I also subscribe to the theory that one thing has nothing to do with another. We are all human and products of our past experiences and surroundings. I also believe these are the two most important qualities responsible for our plight in life. Because we are all human, perfection is out of reach for all of us. None of us are without personality defects. With that being said who is to say what normal is?

We live in a society where we find ourselves rationalizing every thing that we do.
(Statement)
"I hit him because he looked at me a certain way"
( NO! You hit because thats what you wanted to do )
"I cheated on her because she naggs me all the time"
( NO! You cheated because thats what you wanted to do )
"I'm a genius because I am mentally ill"
( NO! You are a genius because of your past experiences and surroundings. )

As far as the mental illness that is responsible for creating the painter/genius? I think it has more to do with the way this genius was introduced to color and the impact that it had on him/her. The way in which the painter was introduced to paint and the profound effect that it had on him/her. I dont think the painter was painting while having a bipolar episode, Anxiety attack, Panic Attack, or Borderline Personality Disorder. There is no need to rationalize this illness. Just dont forget to take your meds.

You are who you are inspite of, not because of. Maybe we all should cut funding for mental illness because it creates geniuses. Remember a pig is a pig earrings or not! One more thing (Just My Opinion).

Be Blessed

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10. genevieve on June 7, 2006 6:39 PM writes...

Thanks for this post Rene, and for the link in your earlier post to the article - saves me messing around in a database! While I realise you wrote the other post some time ago, the questions posed there, and also here, are very interesting.

It is remarkable that so many questions we ask when reading this kind of material fall outside scientific lines of inquiry, isn't it? Probably just as well, though - there are dangers in labelling creativity too strictly when so many other factors can influence its development.

I'm thinking here of the role of stress in early development for starters - an overdiscriminating child is very vulnerable to difficult parents, for example. There is a terrific fictionalisation of the life of such a child in Australian writer M.J. Hyland's second novel, Carry Me Down. This kid is not quite mad, not just yet - IMHO he just doesn't really have enough to engage with and is not being taught to manage his creativity. At points in the novel we see him drawn to possible mentors or help - and pulled away again by circumstance. It's a very thought-provoking book.

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11. Lance on June 7, 2006 11:48 PM writes...


I haven't had a problem with bipolar disorder in several years. I was recently doing some research on the subject as I like to stay current, and came up with some fascinating articles on how mercury poisoning and bipolar disorder could be related.

After stumbling upon some interesting articles that google turned up, I realized that I first started having problems with this disorder after a crown slipped off a mercury filling I recieved for a root canal at seventeen. I stopped having problems about four years ago, and I never put it all together until I realized that when I stopped having problems was when my exposed mercury filling came out while eating a milk dud at a movie, of all things.

Anybody with this problem, look up the info. There's a whole bunch of research out there about how mercury amalgam fillings can possibly trigger bipolar disorder. I would suggest to anyone with bipolar disorder to look it up and get those fillings removed.

I also found it interesting that some doctors have given bipolar patients Omega 3 fish oil to combat their deppresion, and that fish oil is also one of the prime ingredients used for mercury chaleation, (removal of mercury from the system.)

I'd heard of mercury fillings causing allergies and other health problems, but until I recently researched it online, i never made the bipolar connection.

Also, look at the symptoms of bipolar disorder versus the symptoms of mercury poisoning, they are very similiar in a lot of ways.

I'm sure there's a genetic component to bipolar disorder, but I'd bet my eye teeth that mercury fillings exacerbate this disease.

Best,

Lance

And by the way, I'm highly creative whether I'm manic or not. It is only in the most extreme stages of mania that your brain can't keep up with your thoughts. Then, when depression comes, well, that's when the creativity really goes.

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12. Lily on August 16, 2006 12:24 PM writes...

I don't know if anyone is checking this site anymore, but I really wanted to say my part: some people are good at coming up with original ideas and some are not. It's like leaders and followers. A correlation between the two is nothing really. It doesn't take a disfunctional brain to come up with something creative. However, I am creative and Bipolar. I can tell you this about myself; I have been to such depths of depression that my surroundings were darker than the blackest black. You don't want to go there. Most people, I believe, will never ever see that world. But they misunderstand the people who have experienced or are experiencing it. I feel that I express this notion through any outlet I can to get the message across to people, whether it be art, writing, music or dancing. Any creative medium is like a bridge to a new mode of communication. To show the darkness that others will never feel for themselves, but can perhaps glimps through a tourbus window if you touch them enough. I believe that Van Gogh, Kurt Cobain and lots of others out there were trying to reach people, not to collect fame or fortune. You could be lost in depression or mania and not be expressing it because you aren't very creative. I just think it is a choice. Call out to the world and stand proudly by your insanity. Why be ashamed of it? It makes you unique and stronger if you fight it. I try so hard that nobody can ever know. Many people I know would never guess I wasn't "normal" while others can see that I have that potential to be one of those psychos you watch out for. My current boyfriend after a year and a half has finally seen what I warned him about. I had a manic spell and he broke up with me because I was too much to deal with and when I got angry with him and smacked him he saw the look in my eyes " you are crazy..you are totally crazy," he said. I had been stable before out of hard work, but when I got manic anyway, I still went through a bad fight because he can't ever understand why I do the things I do and act the way I act. I just wish there was a way for people to get it without having to be ill with it. That's why I try to bend the limits of communication. I'm a linguistics major and I study Russian and Chinese because they are so far from English that it forces me to bend my thoughts, which I can do because I think differently than most people. So I don't think that 17 year old who could't write a grammatically correct paragraph was so far off. I think she's right...just maybe carrying the theory a little far with using more of our brain and stuff...

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13. Lisa on February 26, 2007 9:49 AM writes...

This is to Melissa Frost's comment on January 16, 2006 12:43 PM

Your grammar is great for a 17 year-old-girl and you have made some pretty bold and agreeable statements. I have always been in the top of my class and people have considered me as a complex thinker with excessive compassion; so much in fact, I have been a vegetarian all my life, due to moral and ethical issues. I don't think this is an "illness" like schizophrenia in which the defective gene identified is the glutamate receptor (GRM3). There is NO gene identified; however, it is found to have a genetic link (like intelligence). In which it seems to repeat itself in one's lineage. Intelligence “AKA bipolar" is genetic. And most patients accept this label when it is thus PROVED to be genetic. In consideration of that statement, this wouldn't be the first time in history that the medical community misdiagnosed normal or depressed people with "mental disorders" and locked them away. Maybe they are more humane now and don't use locks, just sedatives. The government is great, especially when it is in regard to pharmaceutical companies of convincing us to buy more expensive drugs, at doing what is economically right instead of morally right. Case in point, in this article on cnn.com Bush states clearly that we are unable to meet global warming guidelines on the basis of the economic impact (http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2001/globalwarming/).
Your grammar is great for a 17 year-old-girl and you have made some pretty bold and agreeable statements. I have always been in the top of my class and people have considered me as a complex thinker with excessive compassion; so much in fact, I have been a vegetarian all my life, due to moral and ethical issues. I don't think this is an "illness" like schizophrenia in which the defective gene identified is the glutamate receptor (GRM3). There is NO gene identified; however, it is found to have a genetic link (like intelligence). In which it seems to repeat itself in one's lineage. Intelligence “AKA bipolar" is genetic. And most patients accept this label when it is thus PROVED to be genetic. In consideration of that statement, this wouldn't be the first time in history that the medical community misdiagnosed normal or depressed people with "mental disorders" and locked them away. Maybe they are more humane now and don't use locks, just sedatives. The government is great, especially when it is in regard to pharmaceutical companies of convincing us to buy more expensive drugs, at doing what is economically right instead of morally right. Case in point, in this article on cnn.com Bush states clearly that we are unable to meet global warming guidelines on the basis of the economic impact http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2001/globalwarming/.
The terrifying thing is what if Bush wins the arguments and is supported. It will be more devastating when our children are impinging on the full effects of global warming, but right now Bush’s main concern is the economical aspect (lol). Okay, I got a little off topic, but this is just one disturbing examples of how far our government will go to for economics, regardless of have destructive it may be to the people. Furthermore, pharmaceutical companies play a big role in our government and the economics in this country; for example, “Between 2000 and 2004, health insurance, health services and pharmaceutical companies contributed $96,370,907 to candidates for public office—71 percent going to Republicans.” (http://www.tompaine.com/articles/2006/03/01/the_80_billion_medicare_sellout.php) Do you think pharmaceutical companies contribute this much because they care? There are more and more reports of people with "bipolar". Maybe this is genetically “normal” (whoever holds the rights to that decision – lol) in which we are negatively affecting people, by 'labeling' and sedating. Pharmaceutical companies would have more money if they could somehow convince the United States that more people are sick – kinda seems like a symbiotic relationship. We need to support and learn from each other about what is going on, not depending on pharmaceuticals. They are right, maybe there is something different about us, but we need to embrace and understand it, not sedate it. Just look at what art has done to history, what would have happened if we didn’t have it because the artists were all sedated!!!

-Lisa

Thanks you for reading this and if you have any feedback in response please email me at Lisaanderson4@hotmail.com. I would love to hear it!

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14. April on March 7, 2007 6:43 PM writes...

Thank you for your artical; I found it very interesting. I have suffered from depression and mania since I was 10--I'm now 36. I was offically diagnosed less than a year ago.

I have always been creative and have always thought that I was more creative than most people. I have an ability to think outside the box and sometimes see what becomes obvious but cannot be seen by most because it is too simple. I am a creative business owner and an Interior Designer. I am able to see things in a space that most cannot see. Now I would like to say that there are many Interior Designers that are great and not bipolar. I think the point is that people with this disorder have a propensity to think outside the box, not that we are any more special than those who don't have this disorder and I think alot of us get pretty crazy with "thinking outside the box".

Well I say hats off to some part of this illness-hats off to thinking outside the box-those without this illness and think that there is no creative component to it perhaps feel threatened on some level as they may be lacking in something and do not want to think that they are at a genetic disadvantage to someone. You no all of us who are bipolar would give love, love to not have this illness--can we at least find something positive about it? Really!

Stay Steady
April

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15. Chris on March 24, 2007 9:18 AM writes...

Renee, what this article fails to mention is that there are different levels of bipolar disorder, and rapid cycling bipolar is more debilitating. The mood swings for rapid cycling bipolar are violent, from extreme highs to extreme lows. In some cases the extreme highs cause, but are not limited to auditory hallucinations, and delusions of grandeur. Then you have literally the polar opposite, where the person rarely reaches a manic episode, but rather is more often in the depressive and hypomania stages. I absolutely agree with you that people with bipolar disorder are more creative and psychiatrists will tell you that all day long. The underlying problem is keeping the person in a "Goldie locks" area. If symptoms are too severe suffers are too debilitated to have the clarity to be brilliant, or maybe mainstream society fails to see the logic in their thinking. Let's keep in mind how many scientists and mathematicians have been shunned, have been called quacks, but they end up proving themselves in the end. Albert Einstein would stay up deprived of sleep for days at a time when working on his theories, and was notoriously moody. If you read any books on Einstein or his writings it clearly reflects that he suffered from bipolar disorder. Another example is Leonardo Davinci, clearly bipolar if you know the symptoms and read anything about him. People, who suffer from bipolar disorder, and other mental illness, definitely have the ability to see out of the box when others fail. All you have to do is visit an art museum to prove that point. Read William Blake, study his art, or do some research. Also clearly bipolar and pointed out in one of his writings that dead stars create new stars. It wasn’t even proven until recently and he wasn’t a scientist. Pretty shocking. As for the person who posted on May 9th, your level of disinformation shocks me. Anyone from a hospital will tell you they see more mental patients based on lunar activity, there have been books written on it, and it dates back B.C. It even effects the oceans movement. If it affects something as big as an ocean, wouldn’t it have the ability to affect a person? Obviously its pull is astronomical. But I guess you would actually have to get out of that box and read all different types books and data to come to a rational conclusion. This woman’s e-mail was completely coherent to me, and just because you lack the ability or willingness to try to understand where she is coming from does not make her at a nine year olds level. If you look at children, they are consistently clearer, open minded, and creative compared to adults, so now I actually think you gave her a compliment. Personal attacks like that are frightening, narrow minded, and fall under the category of Aristotle's "Logical Fallacies". Finally, in defense of the articles writer, you don't have to be a doctor or have a career astrophysics to figure out people with bipolar tend to be bright. All you have to do is be bright enough to pick up all types of books, look at art, and do research.

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16. TerryG on March 27, 2007 6:22 AM writes...

I agree with you and your views. I work very closely with bi-polar challenged persons and I have found they are remarkable in the way they deal with life and their outlook on life. I am a big believer in persons developing skills towards life and this article just confirms my beliefs.
Thank you

TerryG
http://www.psychic-aus.com

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17. pyro on April 4, 2007 4:33 AM writes...

does bipolar disorder account for my lack of revision for about a week now when I really want to succeed evident by how much revision i did prior? it just seems so difficult to do the normal things in life. even now i question whether i am bipolar because people say it is linked with intelligence, but though i am creative sporadically i never feel intelligent. I mean it evens itself out. One day I feel intelligent and the next i feel like everything i hoped for has evaporated either because i don't continue something like revision or because i have lost the inspiration through over thinking about it. It sucks to be me and everyone knows that. my first recollection of being bipolar was when my dad said to me you are either too frivolous or too serious and i was preteen. does that mean by now I've lost all my creativity as I'm 20. should i just give up as i don't want to take drugs for bipolar disorder or is there a possibility that I am not bipolar? I suppose comment like that bring me down all the time more and more regularly. Memories of paste experiences bring me down and people's comments about me when I was fat and hugely unattractive and disliked but more importantly myself.

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18. pyro on April 4, 2007 5:06 AM writes...

I think a dangerous classification of bipolar people away from normal people has occurred. A so called normal person does not have the right to analyze a bipolar person because there are much more pushing matters with people that cause harm considered as normal that have not yet been classified as having a disorder due to the lack of scientific advances. I envy people who don't rationalize anything they do because it would be a simpler world if I could do that and a few others could as well, though society would progress even slower as well her unanswered questions that need to be addressed in order for science to advance for all of our sakes.

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19. boyd martin on May 7, 2007 6:09 PM writes...

Bipolars are extremely creative. It´s ashame in our closed-minded society this creativity is not tapped.

avidsaver.com/tqt

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20. Tudor on June 10, 2007 5:35 AM writes...

Thanks Rene. If you judge a post by the quality of its comments, you are up there with the greats. I've missed your earlier posts by will be taking a further look at them.

There's been a shift from the old 'creativity and madness close allied' view over the last decade or so. Eysenck among others have researched and written on the subject. There is still a lot to be done, with advocates of 'positive thinking' for enhancing creativity, and critics still doing battle.

There is another connection which I'm finding interesting, in creativity as it applies to leadership, both positive and 'the dark side'. I'd welcome you and your great discussants to join in.

http://leaderswedeserve.wordpress.com/2007/06/02/what-is-creative-leadership/

Thanks and best wishes

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21. anon on June 11, 2007 8:29 AM writes...

"I also wonder if specific training in creativity skills might help bipolar people whose symptoms don't currently manifest themselves as the more positive creative traits. Perhaps if they knew what to do with their innate creativity, these folks would be able to live more on the positive than the negative side of creativity."

De-mystifying the creative process, removing the fear that the ability to be creative might disappear when stable, broadening ones knowledge - and anchoring it in solid academic ground; these are things that I believe can help. The result is that ideas are better and they can be explained easier by reference to other creatives / creative acts.

Often creative acts are made when communication is difficult - so called outsideer art bears witness to this. Teaching communication skills would help the bi-polar but perhaps reduce their need to produce artifacts which have come to be known as 'artworks.'

The blurring of boundaries between outsider art and the mainstream and the perpetuation of the mad genius myth is in my opinion, not a healthy one.

Being able to gauge you moods, and deal with your own thoughts while being aware of the influence of your mood in your thoughts helps.

RE leaders: Winston Churchill was bi-polar. I am not sure that bi polars make the most best creative leaders: more like the 'i know best' type.

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22. Luke Shetler on June 19, 2007 5:48 PM writes...

"Unfortunately, the previous poster, Melissa Frost, has demonstrated this very clearly in her entirely unclear post. If she were a non-native English-speaker, or 9 years old, the difficulty of reading her paragraph would be acceptable. However, she makes claims she cannot possibly back up, such as the idea that the mentally ill use more of their brain than the mentally sane. Additionally, at near-adulthood, she writes with all the linguistic acuity of a child. Perhaps if she had not had to suffer her mental illnesses, she would have advanced more normally.

"


That's somewhat rude, I suppose. I suffer from a severe form of bipolar disorder, or manic depression. I'm 20, and have had it since I was 12. The negative aspect of the 'disease' being my attendance and inconsistancy during school. Despite doing terrible in high school, and having missed 90 days or so a year due to crippling depression, I still have a top 1% IQ and could easily join Mensa. I constantly formulate economic principles and devise political philosophies, and I'm an exceptional artist.

Mania increases creativity as assuredly as depression limits creativity. They are, after all, opposites. You say mania kills inhibition? Well good, a lack of inhibition is necessary while being creative. Inhibition prevents a direct link between the subconscious and the brush, pen, or instrument. All I can say is that when I'm manic, everything works. I'll draw a figure in 30 seconds that would take me 30 minutes to draw in a depressive state. The mind is receptive to all sorts of possibilities, and the trained mind should be able to work effectively with minimal inhibition.

The moral of the story is: Don't formulate opinions based off of anecdotal evidence. I could give a list of famous authors, poets, composers, and artists with manic depression that would make your head spin, and I fully intend to add myself to the ranks.

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23. Marian on July 12, 2007 8:47 AM writes...

I thought the remarks made by one Heather Rainwater were strangely cold and disturbing. I'm not going to get into the validity or non validity of what she said, but how she said it was revealing.

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24. scarm on August 11, 2007 10:12 AM writes...

Bipolars are really creative but they have many weaknesses also

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