A myriad of people with bipolar disorder have done incredibly inventive, remarkable things during mania or hypomania.
I believe the allure of this creativity is one of the many reasons it’s so hard for many of us to consistently take meds. Because when symptoms are effectively managed we just don’t reach the same heights of out-of-the-box, abstract thinking that hypomania or mania bring.
During one of my hypomanic episodes right around the time I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder II, I went on an inventing spree. Over the span of a couple of weeks I had invented 4 different baby products and was mocking up prototypes relentlessly. And it snuck up so quickly that one morning my husband went to work and then returned that night to find fabric scattered across the floor and dining room table, me locked in concentration over top of it while the kids and dog ran wild around me. During this period of time, I also visited a welder to have another invention mocked up and it remains in my basement to this day, a stale reminder of that episode.
Luckily for me one of these products stuck and I now have a baby product I’m actually working to get to market. Without my hypomania it’s possible I never would have dreamed it up. BUT, on the other hand, without my meds and other management tools I’d never have the stability, diligence, and patience required to follow through on the idea and actually get it developed or to market.
So it’s really a double-edged sword. On the one hand, some great things have come out of hypomania or mania but then, of course, there’s the rather substantial benefit of taking meds so as not to spin your life into a whirlwind of unorganized high-stress energy, money-spending sprees, neglect for all other priorities, and driving those we love to new heights of frustration – to name just a few downfalls.
Even with these very obvious snares, many of us with bipolar disorder still feel a push and pull with medication. We’re pushed towards taking it by our doctors, loved ones, and even our own intellect, but we’re pulled towards the toxic allure of hypomania or mania. It’s a complex and exhausting dance, but I intend to keep my moving my feet.