Creativity in Bipolar Disorder

Marcia Purse Health Guide
  • There's no doubt that many highly creative people in history have had bipolar disorder, which is also true today. You only have to look at one of the many lists of famous bipolars (though many have errors) to see a wealth of names - artists, musicians, actors and actresses, writers, poets, playwrights and more.


    But a lot more of us are creative and are not famous. I know highly talented singers/songwriters, landscape designers, writers and more who will never become celebrities.


    I come from a musically talented family. Though there are histories of mental illness on both sides, neither of my brothers has any mental disorder, and one is a talented musician, the other a composer, pianist, singer and songwriter.

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    I, the one with bipolar, wanted to be a famous singer, actress AND novelist. In my life I've done a lot of singing and was, for awhile, a professional actress, and I've written two novels (unpublished, however). But I was never good enough at any of them to achieve the fame I so urgently desired.


    Given my family background, there's no telling whether, or how much, being bipolar has affected my creativity, and yet - perhaps my singer mother and my brothers inherited the creativity but not the depression/bipolar that stretches back at least three generations on her side.


    And I can't help wondering what if... what if I had focused on ONE talent? Would it have made any difference? A piano teacher once told me I could be a concert pianist if I practiced 8 hours a day (which was NOT going to happen). I was too sensitive to rejection to try again after one publisher turned down my second novel. And acting, when I also had a full-time day job, turned out to be so physically draining that I had to stop.


    Yet I have found other ways to be creative. I'll write about those another time.


    What about you? Is creativity in your family? How does yours express itself?

Published On: June 24, 2012