Bipolar and Creativity

It verges on cliche. Men and women with bipolar disorder have changed the ways in which we all - bp or not - see
and hear the world. Some are famous, and justly so.
Others are not...

Here are works by artists who were diagnosed as bipolar that are not so well known. Some created their work
while living in asylums. Others created theirs while struggling with the day out in the big bad world.

All of them are amazing....


What? More Drugs?

yes, more drugs...
because another one of my dubious fascinations is old drug ads.

why? the graphics are always state of the art, whatever that might have been at the time they were run. the imagery and layouts speak to the way the illnesses/patients were perceived- or more accurately, perhaps, how the drug companies thought the doctors might perceive them.

so too the language that's used- reading them, one can almost hear the hushed erudite tones of a sensitive PBS special on a difficult topic...


More Meds! More Meds! More Meds!

i haven't been posting very much lately. i've been putting a lot of time into making more Check Your Meds comics. what started as a kind of personal challenge and exploration of another way of writing has become something of an obsession.

i know. i was surprised too.


Mania Mania!!!

there's no doubt about it - there is a stigma that comes with a diagnosis of BP in any of its many splendoured ways. but i think there is also a degree of envy in some people.

i'd go so far as to say are a lot of bipolar wannabees out there, which might be funny if it wasn't so sad and stupid, and predictable.

is it ironic that so many cultures, including the one i live in, have what one could call a schizophrenic relationship with the whole idea of madness and with the day to day of it and (naturally) with the diagnosed themselves.

case in point - the Mania Mania

it seems to be almost intrinsic to fishing...

and i guess if you're already god-happy,
mania is not such a big step.

and i always had my suspicions about drum majorettes
which i think may have had something to do with my own psycho-girlfriend issues.

... and you knew something like this
was inevitable, didn't you....


Poppa's Got a Brand New Meme

well, it's new to me, but that doesn't mean it hasn't been around for years. decades, maybe.

my first thought was "well, at least it's not a goddamn polar bear". since i was a kid, i've always thought there was something wonderful strange about these owls.

their faces are singular, and striking, alien in a way in a way that rewards the respect of really looking at something, something not like you but clearly intelligent, and beautiful at rest or in motion.

i read all the ones i found, and to my eyes many have been created by people whose understanding of la vida medicado doesn't just come from books. 

is it a good thing for the bipolar "brand"?

think you might want to make one or ten yourself?

you can interact here.

this is my contribution...


well, new to me is more like it.

You Know You're Bipolar When...

This thread came up recently in an online group i'm part of, and i was so struck by the candor and humour in the responses that i thought it worth a wider sharing...

You Know You're Bipolar When...

- on your way to cancelling the recently paid off credit card, it becomes mysteriously maxed out.

- You go to the shop for a pint of milk and come home
with a new car.

- You bring your own research to the doctor’s.

- ... when you know more about a medication than
the pharmacist dispensing it to you.

- You spend as much in co-pays as some people do on cable.

- when you try to keep track of your moods and stress levels in preparation for your pdoc's visit only to not remember the day of the visit.

- When you sit with a group of people at an event
and you say something you do that seems perfectly OK and they look at you in a strange way.

- wen u clean maniacally throughout the night or decide to make a cake early hours of the morning

- Feeling on top of the world usually ends in a hospital admission

- When you are feeling great. Feeling fine. Feeling on top of the world. As someone in uniform is asking you to please put on the straight-jacket for the ride to the hospital.

- ... you are in a good mood and you worry you're getting high.

- You're taking eight pills every night and four in the morning.

- There is never enough room on the form at a doctors office when they are asking what medication you are taking.

- wen ur life consists of appointments with different mental health professionals

- When boys say that you're attractive because you're mysterious and you just laugh because they have nooooooo idea.

- when you get so depressed you can't write anymore,
but can write beautiful elegies when manic.

- When your teenage kids tell you the music is way too loud.


what is bipolar for "happy"?

what is bipolar for "happy"?

these days the clinical term for a brain like mine is 'bipolar'.

in the old days, we used to be called 'manic-depressive',
which even though it has fallen into disuse, is still pretty accurate...

from what i've read - and lived -  more time is spent in a depressed state than a manic one and it's while one is on the dark side that one is less functional , more likely to harm ones' self and probably be unpleasant to be around.

to some degree then it makes sense that so much time is spent discussing and treating that side of our existence...

on the manic side, it seems the emphasis is very much
on the negative possibilities and the need to eliminate mania. like most BP people, i've had manic experiences where my decisions were perhaps not the wisest and i'm not interested in, or advocating for some kind of manic license...

but sometimes it seems like the 'fear of manic' leads to a situation where any kind of feeling better something to get worried about... that is, it could be a sign of incipient mania!

lions and tigers and bears!!!

if one is taking one's meds and other steps (diet, exercise, therapy, etc) to keep from going the all the way into the dark side and one is not to go getting all manic, then how is one supposed to feel?

what's the goal? what is the 'ideal state' or even the ideal range of feeling and thinking and being?

the bipolar experience is one of extremes. being diagnosed alerts one to the possibilities and dangers that come with, and everything else from meds to self-education is meant to help one get a handle on those possibilities and help keep one from going too far down the road to either extreme...

but again, what's the goal?
what is the 'ideal state'?

is it to be 'normal'?

i'm not 'normal' and i don't want to be.

don't get me wrong! some of my best friends are normal.
but if aim of any of the meds or other treatments is to make me 'normal',  then they're probably not going to work very well or for very long.

i don't want to spend any more time than i have to on the dark side, but i also don't want to any and all moments of feeling energized, creative and capable to be tainted by anybody's 'fear of mania', including my own...

this is going to take some more thinking.


the Cruelest Month

    April is the cruelest month, breeding
    Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
    Memory and desire, stirring
    Dull roots with spring rain.
               - T. S. Eliot "The Waste Land"

nice, but i think the cruelest month is actually  February,
   and Valentines Day is big part of the why...

the rational part of my brain has never had much
use for Valentines Day... just another one of those stupid greeting card holidays that to me always seemed to be made for people who didn't pay very much attention to people
they cared about ...

it always seemed to me that communicating/expressing
the love one felt for someone else was something one did every day, expressed through one's actions, large and small...

now that seems to be just one more useless truth -
especially being surrounded by the hearts and flowers
and hype about 'this special day' when i'm feeling lonelier than i ever have before.