Bipolar and Creativity

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Date Joined May 2007
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   Posted 1/4/2009 8:20 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm reading this book right now called "Finding your Bipolar Muse" by Lana Castle. It's about the possible link between mood disorders and heightened creativity, and how to channel that creativity productively. Obviously, being bipolar, those of us who are creative have ebbs and flows of creative inspiration and productivity, (just like anyone who's creative, but moreso) and the book talks about how to deal with that. It's really good so far. I'm only about a 1/3 of the way in, but it's interesting and spiking me to do some writing, which was the intent. I'm having a long, dry spell.

Anyway, I wondered what you all thought about a possible link between bipolar and extra creativity? Are you creative? Do you feel flushed with ideas when you're manic/hypomanic? Do they dry up when you're depressed or do you do your best work then?

Castle certainly isn't the first person to make the link; there's a lot of people who've researched the topic. But good old Kay Redfield Jamison, who wrote the classic An Unquiet Mind, also wrote a book called Touched with Fire, which examines the connection between bipolar disorder and genius.

Lots of very smart, very creative people were bipolar...

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Bipolar II

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Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 369
   Posted 1/4/2009 10:27 PM (GMT -7)   

I agree with the assertions that a lot of bipolar sufferers were geniuses in their own right, or wonderfully creative.  I have never had the urge to write, but when I have to I have no problem.  I am a photographer, and love it.  Although I shoot people, my love is landscapes and wildlife.  I have won a few I guess that is where my creative outlet is.

Sometimes in a more manic mood I feel my photographic "vision" works better (if that makes sense)   :)

"Just because you're in the driver's seat, doesn't mean
you have to run people over." ~ Fred Pausch

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Date Joined Mar 2007
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   Posted 1/5/2009 5:26 PM (GMT -7)   
I am very creative//  for 15 years I made dried and silk floral designs.. I sold all of them... It was the best time of my  life loving to be creative every day... I do thnk that  "bipolars are creative.
hugs, Caren
Bipolar 1

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Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 125
   Posted 1/6/2009 7:45 AM (GMT -7)   
I wrote extensively when I was manic. Most of it was reams of garbage, but all my friends thought I was a genius. My papers were highly appreciated by professors and other students. Ever since I have been on medication, I have lost the urge to be creative. I feel drowsy, depressed and sedated most of the time. I think hypomania is to a large extent responsible for the creative output.

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Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 175
   Posted 1/7/2009 12:26 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm trying to get my husband to do something with having a creative outlet. He's an amazing drawing. He is afraid if he starts drawing what will come out as he has a lot of anger. He says that what he draws might scare me b/c of how dark his thoughts are. I told him that I never need to see it. That way he can draw out what he is feeling without ever worrying about what anyone thinks of the drawings. Maybe when he's done he can destroy the drawing as a type of symbolism of getting rid of the anger? It was an idea. He's afraid to do new things.

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Date Joined Oct 2008
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   Posted 1/24/2009 8:05 PM (GMT -7)   
I find it depends. I have little artistic talent, but when I am in hypomania I have a greater level of creativity in my work environment. When I'm depressed I tend to be able to express myself more in writing... I've also heard the mood disorders are related to the way that people perceive their environment (i.e. they see more detail than average which results in higher intelligence at a cost of greater difficulty in controlling their mood)

happy bill
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   Posted 1/25/2009 5:09 PM (GMT -7)   


   I do miss my manic episodes, however i dont miss the havoc it brought to my life. SO i have to learn to live down here with the "common" folk. LOL LOL 

   Boy i created a lot of good stuff when i was manic. My model railroad just exploded with me working on it 3-7 hours at a time. 

  Yes i miss my muse. But i dont miss the bad stuff. And in the end it was more and more bad stuff. Anytime i get to missing my manic side to much i come here and read about how much pain bipolar causes those we love. That keeps me on the straight and narrow another day.


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Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 223
   Posted 1/26/2009 5:08 PM (GMT -7)   
I talked about this same thing once to my therapist, and she told me to go on google and type in (famous bipolars).  I could not believe all the most creative and talented people there were.  If you get a chance look up that on google and you will be blown away.

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Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 60
   Posted 2/1/2009 5:04 AM (GMT -7)   
I now know Y I keep going off my bipolar meds now  thank you so much for this post cause i just was wondering y I did shuch a thing all the time and then waited till I went on a shopping spree to get back on them   I wish I had some kind of warning it was gonna happen becasue that is my problem with the meds they take away my creativity and I know someone who is super bipolar and he doesnt take anything just for the same reasonexcept its really a good reason becasuse he is the bread winner and he needs his creativity for the job he does (is i forgot what.)His wife doesnt like it but she lives with it  She has her son and she siad she wont have any more no matter what her husband says cause he wont take his meds and she said her kids need a stable father.  Well I don't blame her for not wantent any more kids with this man.

not on a positive trip
New Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
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   Posted 3/22/2009 4:24 AM (GMT -7)   
I signed up yesterday seeking answers to just this topic, amongst others. I feel that my medication has a direct effect on my level of creativity. When I was on Depakote it was really low. Now that I am on Trileptal I have it back for the most part but my mania is squeaking through and so is my anger and short temper. I have a friend who is a comedian who doesnt take his Wellbutrin because it affects his show and ability to write new material. I have another friend who is a web programmer and he says the meds have a similair effect on him. This is a real sticking point for me as a designer. I dont want to settle for a lower level because it will limit me professionally. I would like to see the medical community look into this issue more closely because its a real problem for some people. It seems my daughter has much of my wiring. She is due to go to an evaluation for BP ADD etc. When I looked over her 10 page parent evaluation form I would have rated myself on many of the same things. She is a drawing machine, thats all she does and its good. She draws things, cuts out elements and puts them together with tape and staples to make something more elaborate. I fear that she will end up with some of the same struggles I have and had. I know about an Unquiet Mind and Touched by Fire. This Finding Your Muse and the other books, are they worth the read? Has anyone been able to put things into practical actions with measurable results? I dont know if the fix is in a pill or in a book or if its just collateral damage. Please share more of youre experiences, I need to get to the bottom of this. Regards.

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Date Joined May 2007
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   Posted 3/23/2009 8:22 AM (GMT -7)   
I have still had trouble working on my writing, but I don't know if it's my meds or my bipolar. It's 6 of one half-dozen of the other, I suppose. When the meds don't slow me down, depression does. I just prefer to be stable, I guess. I did like Finding Your Muse, but I haven't been real disciplined, and I think that's part of the key. A regular discipline and some structure would probably help my creativity a lot. Instead I find myself thinking about a hundred other things.
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Bipolar II

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Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 44
   Posted 3/24/2009 10:39 AM (GMT -7)   
I have often wondered if Bipolar Disorder and Autism were related some how. It is just a theory I have.
It's almost as if these two diseases shut off part of the brain and then open up the creative parts.

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Date Joined Feb 2003
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   Posted 3/24/2009 11:28 AM (GMT -7)   
When I am feeling good I love working with water colors and oil pastels.  I feel free flowing and love blending all the beautiful colors.
When I'm more irritated it feels so good to work with a black magic marker to get my thoughts across.
In either case it feels good to express myself.  I feel much better doing it.  smilewinkgrin

 Bipolar - 2004
     Crohns disease - 1995 
Arthritis & Fibromyalgia 
Leo Buscaglia

Post Edited (sukay) : 3/24/2009 1:17:47 PM (GMT-6)

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 3/26/2009 8:30 AM (GMT -7)   

Hello everybody,

                      I just joined this forum today. I was diagnosed with bipolar 3years ago. I had to get to an extremely low point before I eventually decided to go to hospital and try and find out what the hell was wrong with me.

When I was in the hospital I was completely blank and devoid of any thoughts whatsoever. I actually thought I was brain damaged. Well that had something to do with the fact that I was messing with solvents for a while in the hope that they would kill me. I hated the feelings I was having. All the energy I had at the start of the year had faded and I was like a deflated balloon. It was my second time ever feeling depressed and I felt so desperate that I wanted to end everything coz I thought I would never feel happy again.

But I eventually came round with the help of meds. I'd like to end the meds now coz I feel that they sap me of my natural rhythm and energy. I'm almost always tired but I feel it depends on the weather too. I live in Ireland and it's almost always gloomy. But when I see the sun I feel the change immediatley. It brings my spirits up.

I love the hyper phase coz I have boundless energy and ideas and confidence to boot. I definitely believe there is a link between bipolar and creativity and even certain other types of depressive illnesses. I myself write poetry which is something I haven't done in a while. But when the mood takes me I could sit for hours writing. I love writing in diaries and writing letters. Some of my wackiest ideas come to me when I'm on the lighter side of this illness. When I found out it was Bipolar I wanted to know as much as possible. It turns out my favourite poet Emily Dickinson had it which is probably why I could relate to her poems in school=)

When I'm hyper I find my steps lighter when I walk. I find all these thoughts simply flowing through me.

On the other hand when I feel down... these thoughts turn against me and become negative. I can wear myself out thinking about the same thing over and over. If a person makes a comment about me I will keep thinking about it until I make myself cry. I don't have much energy when I'm down. I find I can't focus on things or concentrate on simple tasks.

Sorry if I've been rambling. I think it may be a hyper phase coming on. Well over due

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