"It's almost as if it opens up something in the brain that isn't otherwise there, and I see color much more vividly than I used to......So I think that my access to music and art are something for which I'm grateful to bipolar for enhancing. It's almost as if it's a magnifying glass that sits between that and myself."
This is such a thought provoking quote (to me) from an article (Research Explores the Positives of Bipolar Disorder) Science Daily published in May 2012.
It made me think.
Just about every day, I see someone post how proud they are to be Bipolar.
Are you fucking kidding me?
Then I'll dig a little deeper and see what their reasoning might be.
It usually boils down to this: increased perceptual sensitivity, creativity, focus and clarity of thought.
And while that makes sense, not all people who have Bipolar Disorder experience this.
I am one of them.
The sensitivity aspect I can relate to. I was first diagnosed with a mental illness back in 2009. Since then, I have learned about the many faces of mental health. As a result, I don't judge people the way I used to. When I see someone with that fake plastered smile on her face or a child who is acting out in public, I immediately try to diagnose them with some sort of mental health issue. Of course, this isn't always the case, but I have grown to be incredibly sensitive to the possibility.
I know a handful of people with the illness who become extremely creative when on their high (mania/hypomania). I can only recall an experience such as this when I was first placed on a specific drug. I needed very little sleep, and I couldn't stop talking. I blogged until my fingers were bloody. It was nearly impossible to type as fast as the thoughts were processed. I was elated and it was amazing.
Soon after, the drug was pulled from me because that wasn't "normal".
I've since experienced hypomania on a much different level. The level of anger and hostility and incredible sadness.
Am I jealous of all these so-called proud Bipolars? Hell, yes I am! Who wouldn't be? Then I ask myself...Would you rather be a proud Bipolar who is creative and focused, or a regular person without a mental illness? I'll take regular person for $500, Alex! In a freaking heartbeat.
Focus and clarity of thought? I ask, HOW? How on earth are you able to focus and think clearly with this extra baggage always hanging around?
I can't focus on any one thing for more than a few minutes. Just as I'm beginning to catch on to something, my mind has already processed it and moved on to the next thing. I'm left in a heap wondering what the hell happened.
My point here is...just because one person (or a crowd) is proud to be Bipolar, doesn't mean you have to be proud. You're allowed to wish it away. You're allowed to ponder what your life would be like if you didn't have the disorder.
I guarantee you, these "Proud Bipolars" aren't proud 24/7. You can't always be on that special high. What goes up, must come down, right?