Creativity & Bipolar Disorder

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What do you think of the link between creativity and mental illness?

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The concept of the creative, troubled genius is not a new one. Many famous artists, from Hemingway to Poe, struggled with their mental health. Some say that their struggles even contributed to the greatness of their artistic works.

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For example, the elevated state of hypomania can lead to greater productivity and a different way of thinking (what some may call ‘creative’ thinking). During my hypomanic states, I am flooded with ideas for writing and drawings at a much higher rate than when I am euthymic… it’s like an artistic flow. However, depression could really impair not only creativity, but the ability to function or work at all [but, also, it could be the inspiration behind really dark works].

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Mood, temperament, behavioral and cognitive factors associated with bipolar illness can, in some people, make them more creative by increasing the fluency and originality of their thinking, as well as by increasing risk-taking, ambition, energy, exuberance and a desire to create meaning from suffering and chaos.

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It must be emphasized that most creative people do not have a mental illness and most people who have mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder, are not unusually creative. It is rather that there is a disproportionate rate of mood disorders, especially bipolar disorder, in creative individuals. –Kay Redfield Jamison on CNN

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What do you think of the mental illness-creativity association? Is there maybe some truth to it, or is that idea just glorifying mental illness?

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