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Bipolar and Creativity

Throughout the ages, many famous artists of all kinds have also battled mental illness. I found a very interesting article I recommend reading about it,

Here’s an excerpt; “

Is there a link between bipolar disorder and creativity?

There may now be a scientific explanation as to why many creative people have bipolar disorder. Several recent studies have showed that people who are genetically predisposed to bipolar disorder are more likely than others to show high levels of creativity, particularly in artistic fields where strong verbal skills are helpful.

In one study from 2015, researchers took the IQ of almost 2,000 8-year-old children, and then assessed them at ages 22 or 23 for manic traits. They found that high childhood IQ was linked with symptoms of bipolar disorder later in life. For this reason, the researchers believe the genetic features associated with bipolar disorder can be helpful in the sense that they also may produce beneficial traits.

Other researchers have also found a connection between genetics, bipolar disorder, and creativity. In another study in 2015Trusted Source, researchers analyzed the DNA of more than 86,000 people to look for genes that increase the risks of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. They also noted whether the individuals worked in or were associated with creative fields, such as dancing, acting, music, and writing. They found that creative individuals are up to 25 percent more likely than noncreative people to carry genes that are associated with bipolar and schizophrenia.

Not all people with bipolar disorder are creative, and not all creative people have bipolar disorder. However, there does appear to be a connection between the genes that lead to bipolar disorder and a person’s creativity.

Here’s a link to the article to read all of it:

https://www.healthline.com/health/bipolar-disorder/famous-creative-people

I’m also including some of my own original artwork.

If you’re bipolar and are also creative, what’s your outlet?

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Bipolar and Opiates… Pills, Pills and more Pills!

I’m surrounded by bottles of pills and nutritional supplements. My body and brain are comprised of a myriad of difficult medical conditions. Being bipolar and having an anxiety disorder is no walk in the park, that’s for sure. Additionally, I suffer from stage 4 arthritis, degenerative disc disease, a torn right rotator cuff and three torn tendons in my right arm. I DONT recommend any of these conditions. They hurt like hell.

So here’s my morning meditation list:

Morphine, Percocet, Magnesium, Propranolol, Celexa and a Ritalin, followed by copious amounts of coffee to clear the lingering fog of the powerful bedtime pills.

My name is Jennifer. I’m tired. Tired of pills, pills, pills…. Except the Percocet. Those are rather nice.

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My Journey With Bipolar Started Young

I was surrounded by it relentlessly, her delusional ravings keeping me up all night. She’d made me start sleeping and spending all my time in her room to keep me safe from the rest of the family, who she believed weren’t really them anymore. “”They are duplicates now with evil spirits inhabiting our loved ones bodies,” Mom explained, “they weren’t really them anymore.”

My mom continued to talk about her psychotic delusions all hours of the day and night. She had stopped me from going to school for a while. She wouldn’t allow any family members to see me, eventually she wouldn’t let them in the house at all. I had no respite. There was no one who could help me yet. I was trapped with her and on my own. My father had already committed suicide by then.

Armageddon had come, she claimed, and by some mistake we were left behind. With the duplicates. Nobody was really “ them” anymore according to her. All our loved ones were in Heaven. By some mistake of the Lord, she said, we had been left behind. Eventually, she would tell this to a doctor at a hospital we were taken to for her to be evaluated after creating a scene in a bank. She asked the doctor to give us both lethal injections. But that’s another story for another time….

I learned the hard way to go along with my Mother’s psychotic beliefs and to not challenge her or show any fear. One night, she came into her bedroom and was angry that I wasn’t asleep yet. I’d suffered from insomnia ever since I could remember and she used to drug me with NyQuil which contained alcohol back then to make me sleep so trying to sleep in the midst of this chaos was especially challenging. She was angry and beat me with a tennis racket and I showed fear on my face. I was only 8 years old, scared and crying. That was a big mistake.

“You want to be afraid? I’ll give you something to be afraid of!”, Mom screamed as she ripped my teddy bear out of my arms, lit it on fire and held it inches from my face. That was the day I learned how to hide my thoughts and feelings. I don’t remember the rest of the night, I must have mentally blocked it out but I can still see it all in my mind like a movie. A horror movie. I can even remember how the room smelled. The king size waterbed in her room has sprung a small leak and the room smelled musty and like mildew.

The year was 1982 and my childhood was destroyed. I don’t remember how long she kept me trapped in that room, at least a week, maybe two until one morning the SWAT team busted our front door in to rescue me. They brought a social worker with them. I remember sitting on her lap and seeing my Mother hog tied and carried out of the house. I didn’t cry. Suppressing my emotions had kept me alive and became a life long problem. I couldn’t cry, so I vomited instead.

I was eight years old and this was just the beginning, folks! Buckle in for a very rough ride down my memory lane.

Manic Shopping Sprees

This symptom, spending an excess of money, during a manic or hypomanic episode can be associated with the poor judgement evident during a bipolar episode. All self control goes out the window and I find that I experience shopping “phases”. Each phase reflects my current obsession or interest. For example, when I was in bed most of the time for about 5 years, I spent a lot of money on craft supplies, journal’s and books to help me pass countless hours making art, reading or writing.

Sometimes I go on a book spending spree. I have literally filled my bookshelf and need another one if I don’t stop buying physical books. I’m transitioning to ebooks so I can borrow books from the library and have access to hundreds of free classics in the Apple book store.

Even medicated, I have to try and exercise self control to stop spending money. Now that I’m physically. getting better and getting out of bed daily, I found myself consumed with desire to buy clothes and shoes. I bought a handful of VERY reasonably priced dresses at Ross and splurged on some accessories.

I also have to admit that I was raised by two shopaholics. We went shopping EVERY weekend of my childhood. So, I have a shopping problem period, that intensifies when I cycle.

So what do I do about this problem? First of all I pay ALL my bills when when I get my social security. I also give money and credit cards to a trusted family hold for me when I know I need help financially and have to be frugal.

Why It’s Important To Take Care of Yourself First

Taking care of yourself is essential to maintain bipolar stability. This post list fives ways you can do better. | #MentalHealth #MentalIllness #…

Why It’s Important To Take Care of Yourself First

Highly recommend reading this excellent, brilliant article.

Manic Remorse

When a person with bipolar has a manic or a hypomanic episode, in my experience, judgement becomes impaired and the individual is in danger of making some very bad decisions that end up hurting their loved ones and perhaps themselves as well.

One common side effect of mania/hypomania is extreme irritability which can lead to angry outbursts, fights, screaming, cursing or causing a scene in public. I personally have been through this so much and almost destroyed my marriage during my last cycle. I can be cold, cruel and so hurtful that I leave wounds in the ones I love. After the episode is over, I become full of remorse, shame and apologies. The remorse and guilt I feel afterwards is overwhelming and sometimes it takes quite sometime to gain forgiveness and trust back from my loved ones. When I am manic and cruel, it is truly NOT me talking and fighting, it’s my illness talking. I’m usually a loving, caring and understanding person but when I’m manic I feel like a dark, hidden evil side of me emerges that is disliked by all.

The cruel things I say or do when I’m unstable I don’t truly mean and it’s a challenge to get others to believe that once I’m stable again. So, I become filled with that shame and remorse and try to hard to earn forgiveness from the people I hurt with my cruelty. There have been times when it takes a couple of months to smooth things out with my husband who unfortunately frequently becomes my “target “ for my rage when I’m manic. No marriage is easy but being married to somebody who is mentally I’ll is especially challenging.

I’ve always been a bookworm and a writer and I’ve found that writing long loving emails expressing my feelings and remorse and explaining that I didn’t even mean any of the horrible things I’ve said or done is helpful. Talking about it helps immensely also.

I used to consider my anxiety disorder and bipolar illness my best kept secrets. Only my family and a handful of friends know I struggle with mental illness. Writing this blog is my way of erasing the shame and embarrassment I had about being mentally ill. Now, I’m literally sharing it with the world for a few reasons.

Number one, I have finally realized that being mentally ill is nothing to be ashamed of. There is already such a stigma about it, and by sharing my story with the world I hope to inspire and help others who suffer from anxiety and bipolar (or any mental illness) and encourage others to be open about their illness.

Number two, I hope to offer comfort to others fighting the same battles I do. If I can survive and learn different ways to help stabilize myself, so can my readers.

Number three, I want to personally support any of my readers who choose to share any of their experiences and emotions by commenting on my posts. I will reply to every single one.

You are not alone! How do you handle the remorse you feel after a cycle? I could love to hear from YOU. I want this blog to be a safe place for nonjudgmental and encouraging dialogue.

Living With A Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder can have a negative impact on a person’s aspirations and relationships. Sufferers, however, can develop coping skills and techniques…

Living With A Bipolar Disorder

Leave The Past In The Past

My original intentions in writing this blog was to share all my stories and experiences with mental illness which began when I was 8 years old and my bipolar Mother had her first psychotic episode. But I quickly realized that dredging up all those horror stories were not healthy for me and were causing a flood of unpleasant memories and emotions. So, I chose to start therapy and move forward in a positive way instead of dwelling on past trauma.

Now, I’m focusing on healing and learning healthier ways to express myself and manage my anxiety and bipolar. Dwelling on past trauma is painful and I don’t recommend it to any of my readers.

Using therapy, meditation and journaling are three tools I have chosen to help me heal and make progress psychologically and emotionally. I’ve also started eating healthier and am taking an abundance of high quality vitamin and mineral supplements. The healthier you are psychically, the healthier you will become psychologically and emotionally. I cannot stress enough the importance of a healthy diet as it makes a huge positive impact at a cellular level and helps improve brain function and mood stabilization.

The old adage “we are what we eat” really is true. If you consume a lot of garbage, you feel like garbage. Increasing your intake of organic, fresh fruits and vegetables makes an IMMENSE difference in your energy level and overall physical and mental health. It has also helped me tremendously with the chronic pain I suffer from Stage 4 arthritis and degenerative disc disease.

So, I may share some stories about my past but it will not be the entire focus of this blog. My purpose is the same, however. I strive to help comfort, inspire and HELP my readers that are either battling their own illness or have a loved one that does.

Never give up hope. Never forget that each anxiety attack or bipolar episode is temporary. Sometimes a simple medication adjustment needs to be made that can help the episode pass quicker. Please never give up hope. There IS light at the end of the tunnel.

I would love to hear from you. What helps you with your illness? What helps you when you cycle?

Motivation For Today

Hello everyone! Today I’d like to offer some special motivation for people battling mental illness of any kind. If you are in the darkness, remember that this is temporary and you will soon be back in the light.

Here are a few things I do to lift myself up when I’m struggling with a bipolar episode or anxiety.

1. I search for guided meditations on YouTube that are at least a half hour long and lay in bed to meditate. It’s hard at first to quiet your mind but with practice it gets easier and more beneficial.

2. My Mother, who also battled bipolar, used to always tell me, “When you look better, you feel better.” Even if you’re not going anywhere, taking a shower, putting on some clean clothes and makeup for the ladies is a highly effective method to lift the spirits.

3. If you are religious, prayer and reading the holy book of your religion I assure you makes a huge difference.

4. Repeat positive self-affirmations to yourself like a mantra and even writing them on sticky notes and placing them in areas you will see them is a powerful tool.

5. Be extremely diligent in taking all your psychiatric medications daily. I take two as soon as I wake up and the rest at 9pm so I never miss doses.

6. Journaling and writing about your feelings is a fantastic, healthy outlet that has helped me literally since childhood and all throughout my adult life.

7. Join NAMI for only $40 and have access to online discussion groups and virtual or in person support groups. I highly recommend becoming a member of NAMI as it is chock full of resources for you and your loved ones. I am a member and have benefited greatly from it. The support and education I have received from being a NAMI member is enormous and comforting. Here is a link to their website: https://www.nami.org/Home

8. Take care of yourself and make sure you stay hydrated and eat a lot of healthy, nutritious food.

9. The following vitamin and mineral supplements help support mood stability and have no negative side effects with psychiatric medications. There is plenty of research supporting that the following supplements help mood stabilization in bipolars:magnesium, fish oil, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, E, B1, B12 and folic acid.

10. Create a daily routine and stick with it until it becomes a habit!

Please share any methods you use to help manage your illness!

The Infamous New York Trip

So, if you’ve been reading my blog, this story is a continuation of the blog titled “Psychosis Killed My Hamsters.” which ended with my Mother and I hitchhiking to an Amtrack train station. My Mom bought us tickets to Manhattan since we had relatives in New York and she wanted to know if they were still themselves or were evil duplicates as she said everyone in Florida was.

I was highly upset and trying so hard to act normal. I knew that my hamsters were slowly dying literally at that moment while we waited at the station. I found a cute baby kitten at the train station and it was comforting me. Mom said I could keep it and it soothed me while we waited for a few hours at the station for our train to arrive. My Mom’s bizarre behavior was obvious to everyone and one friendly employee paid a lot of attention to me while we waited. He knew they wouldn’t let the kitty on the train but he was kind and didn’t tell me until our train arrived. He kindly took the kitten from me and promised to give it to his grandchildren. I’ll never forget that man.

So, we boarded our train without any luggage wearing summer clothes appropriate for Florida weather, definitely unprepared for the November winter awaiting us in New York. All I had with me to keep me occupied was a Garfield book. I’ve been a bookworm my whole life.

Of course, Mom told no one in Florida that we were going to New York so we were repotted missing and Mom’s car was found abandoned at the construction site where she left my hamsters boxed up to die in the brutal heat. Our immediate family in Florida was worried sick, not knowing where we were and fearing for my safety. I was 8 years old at the time.

My Mom’s shoes broke on the train so we arrived in Manhattan late at night, freezing cold with my Mom walking in her bare feet. Before we could go see our relatives in Brooklyn, Mom’s delusional thoughts sent us on a strange errand. She was convinced that her ex-boyfriend bought her tickets to see The Grateful Dead perform at Radio City Music Hall. So we had to go there first. Of course, there were no tickets so we hailed a cab and went to Mom’s Aunts apartment in Brooklyn, arriving in the middle of the night.

Aunt Pat was shocked and relieved to see us. She knew we had been missing for two days. The family in Florida had called her. Unfortunately, my Mom decided that they too were “duplicates” and not really themselves anymore. I fell asleep almost immediately and Aunt Pat called my Grandfather Bob to tell him we arrived and I was safe.

The next morning, we set out to go shopping at Macy’s as she had promised me on the train and we just needed to stop at the bank to get money. In those days, your ATM card only worked at the specific bank you had an account with. Mom went to a bank that she didn’t have an account with and made a huge scene, demanding money. The police were called and we were taken away to a hospital for a psychiatric hospital for an evaluation due to her bizarre behavior.

What she told that doctor right in front of me still haunts me to this day. She explained to the doctor that Armageddon had come and by some mistake of the Lord we were left behind. She requested lethal injections for both of us so we could be reunited with our loved ones in heaven.

I feel nauseous even writing about that horrible day. Mom was admitted to the hospital of course, and I was taken to the local police station to be held until my Grandfather and Grandmother’s flights arrived in New York and I could be released to them.

I waited in the police station for hours and the entire police force treated me like a princess while I waited. They let me sit in one of their offices, brought me coloring books and crayons, sandwiches, drinks and Hershey bars. I felt safe. Finally!

Follow my blog and receive an email every time I post to hear the rest of the story…..

To be continued…..

Psychosis Killed My Hamsters

So, when I was 8 years old, I had an old 60 gallon fish tank in my bedroom that I used to keep my pet hamsters in. I don’t remember how many I had but one female had babies so there were quite a few, perhaps about 10. They were so soft and fluffy and friendly because I gave them a lot of attention and love. The problem was my Mom had her first bipolar episode and was manic, delusional and in a state of psychosis. She became convinced that the hamsters were demons.

If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you may remember that I had been taken away from her and rescued by the SWAT team when her delusions led her to keep me trapped in her bedroom for quite some time. Unfortunately, she had a short stay at a psychiatric hospital and was released, still having full custody of me. So, I already knew I had to play along with her and NEVER show fear.

One morning, I woke up and she was awake as usual, packing up a huge box with my hamsters and everything associated with them. She told me they were possessed by demons and she didn’t want them in the house anymore but she knew a man who wanted them for his son. We were going to meet up with him, she said, and give him the large box containing my hamsters. I didn’t believe her that they were demons. I somehow knew something was wrong with her but had no idea how dangerous she was. I believed we really were going to give them away.

We drove from Margate, Florida to a construction site in Palm Beach County. When we arrived on that Friday afternoon, it was past 5 o’clock and the site was deserted. All the construction workers were gone for the weekend. She told me that he must be running late, dragged the heavy box out of the car and put it down in the dirt, under the stifling hot sun. I asked, “Aren’t we going to wait for him?”, starting to get anxious and scared. She replied, “No, we have a train to catch. He will be here soon I’m sure.”

As we drove away, I looked out the back window of the car and knew that my hamsters had been left to die in the brutal Florida heat. I felt sick to my stomach and struggled to act “ normal”. Now, I knew that my Mother was capable of murder. I was terrified. I was sad but couldn’t shed a tear. I’d already learned that she could be violent with me if I showed any fear or challenged her delusions.

So, my hamsters were left to die and our car got stuck in some sand on the construction site as we attempted to drive off. We left the car there and walked to the main road where we hitchhiked to the nearest train station. Mom bought us two train tickets to Manhattan since we had relatives in Brooklyn and she wanted to know if they were still themselves or were evil, possessed “duplicates” like she claimed our family in Florida was. It was November when we boarded the train to New York, wearing sandals and summer clothes and carrying no luggage with warmer clothes.

I still get sad when I think about that day. The traumatizing trip to New York is a story I”ll share with you soon. Things spiraled downhill after we left the hamsters and got even worse.