One advantage I’ve found in being bipolar is that I never run out of material, whether I’m expressing myself in writing or visual art. Some days I am way too depressed to WANT to paint, but if I can force myself to start, and then let my feelings come out through the process, amazing things can happen on the canvas. Even if they don’t, I feel better for having expressed myself. Simply engaging in a creative act has been a release.
I’ve heard bipolar friends say the same thing about playing musical instruments and singing. There is something amazingly healing about the creative process, whether we are doing it as a profession or not. Keeping a journal, writing poetry, joining a choir or band—all provide a healing release and great pleasure, as well.
A strange thing for me is that others often see joyful, uplifting images in some of the canvasses that I painted when I was depressed and angry. I may feel that I am fighting with the canvas, struggling to bring the elements into a coherent whole. I use red, black and brown in swift, angry gestures. I attack the canvas rather than caressing it. I give myself permission to destroy it, if necessary. There is no point in holding back.
On the other side are the light, playful paintings that come about happily in my hypomanic moods. I work fast, filling the canvas with bright, airy colors and playful shapes. High energy is the keynote of these intense expressions.
Enhanced creativity is one blessing of being bipolar, and expressing ourselves creatively is a healthy way to channel both the highs and the lows.
Share how you express your creativity in the bipolar forums.
Published On: December 06, 2006
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