The book market is awash with publications linking hypomania to creativity and listing the significant historical and modern day individuals who share success with bi-polar.
I also wanted to talk about the public’s perception that bi-polar is great because it makes you creative and that to take medication dulls that creativity. Apparently after Stephen Fry’s documentary on bi-polar there was a surge of patients hitting the doctors with their bi-polar symptoms all printed out from the web. This is not good. Bi-polar is very serious and not at all to be envied. In fact I would not say that I am creative at all and certainly my bi-polar journey without medication is unbearable for me and those around me.
There are lists upon lists of those artists and writers who experienced the glorious highs and lethargic lows of bipolar illness. Virginia Woolf, John Berryman, and Robert Lowell are just a few on a long list of well-known writers; Tchaikovsky, van Gogh, and Pollock add composers and painters to the list of bipolar sufferers. This extensive documentation of writers’ own experiences with mood fluctuation is highly convincing of the link between bipolar illness and a creative temperament. Combine those writings with the overwhelming results of studies that find a far greater incidence of manic depression among artists and writers than among the general population, and the link is as well-established as a scientific truth can ever be.
This conclusion, however, leaves us with a few very pressing questions…