Monday, October 23, 2006

Our passions, high and low

In an effort to answer Dream Writer's question as to why we bipolars tend to be such a creative lot, I thought I would reprint something here that I wrote for the chapter on Creativity in my book, Riding the Roller Coaster. (Pages 144-145) I don't think anyone has all the answer to this question, but this was my attempt to partially answer it. (Please note that this is copyrighted material, but if you wish to quote and use my name and Riding the Roller Coaster as the source, that would be ok.)

The passionate moods that result from our illness and cause us so much suffering can actually be beneficial if we use what we learn from them to express ourselves creatively. Throughout history artists have used the feelings they have as a source of inspiration for their work. The feelings we experience are extreme: the depths of depression for those with a unipolar disorder and the alternating lows and highs for those with bipolar disorder.

The frequent presence of these moods makes us a very sensitive group of people. When depressed we sense the depths of the world's sorrows more keenly - feelings most people filter out. Although the sun is shining, the world seems dark and without meaning. Those of us who experience highs know what it is to be transported to what seems like heavenly flights of joy - even if the source of this joy may be as simple as poppies blowing in the wind. We cry in mourning for the realities of injustice, poverty, and sickness we see around us; and we dance to celebrate the truths of love and beauty.

The strong emotions we experience make life more difficult; but they can also make life richer for us. In a way it is good to feel strongly; sensitivity is an aspect of humanity that sets us apart from much of the animal kingdom. Our expansive capacity for passion gives us the inspiration which makes artists out of many of us. We have a need to express and share our feelings with others. Creative activity is our way of venting the contents of our hearts; there's too much to keep shut up inside. By mastering the techniques of our chosen medium, we learn to apply the discipline needed to harness our emotions and steer them into workable pieces of art. The result is an abundance of satisfaction and sense of fulfilllment for the artist - and often a healing of the soul.

But what about those of us who don't feel we are creative?
There may be more of the artist in us than we think. We can let go of our emotions through song and dance, through laughter and the healing of tears, and even through simply talking with others about our feelings. To reveal to others how we experience life is to share the rich tapestry of our inner self in all its colors. This kind of sharing by others, not unlike us, has left us a great legacy of paintings, sculpture, music, and literature. If we can use our passions effectively they will be a rich source of joy, not just for us, but also for those around us.

5 comments:

jumpinginpuddles said...

good blog and well said

chalexa said...

You have been so positive, Marja. I really look to you and see an inspiring lady who i can learn so much from. I really liked your last blog as well when you described yourself...

Anonymous said...

marja, i love it!! i am a committed Christian also. i am struggling to keep up with anything right now...i am tired. but i still believe in Jesus. i am going to add your blogsite to my links...

thank you for inspiring me!

Dream Writer said...

Great Post! And very well written.

Thank you!!

marja said...

Thank you everyone for your comments. There's nothing like receiving positive reaction to keep a person feeling positive.

I love you all.