Bipolar Disorder: My Creativity’s Muse

on May 25, 2016   |    1 Comment

personal stories

Bipolar Disorder: My Creativity’s Muse

I’m not a musician, a singer, an artist in the traditional sense of the word. However, somehow I’ve become known to be a “creative person” over the past two decades. I became passionate about creative writing in 1993. I had already published a reasonable number of articles in professional social work journals. But suddenly in 1993, at the tender age of 49, I felt compelled to begin writing poetry and creative prose, and I loved sharing my creations with my relatives and friends.

Since then, I’ve wondered what propelled me towards the art of writing. As the saying goes, “hindsight is usually 20/20”. It was a couple of years after my third severe manic episode, in 1998, I that realized that the onset of my bipolar disorder (BD) in the early 90s may have been a major cause of the outpouring of my creative juices.

During the early 90s, I was under a considerable amount of stress. Being a fairly conscientious and self-driven person by nature, I overextended myself. (At the time, I was not aware of my genetic predisposition to BD.) I felt drained but still managed to function quite well given my healthy lifestyle. By the summer of 1993, I felt a sudden burst of incredible energy. I thought I was going through a spiritual experience. It was during this time that I started to write poetry at an almost uncontrollable pace.

My compulsion to write incessantly accelerated during my second manic episode of 1995. My BD symptoms became much more evident during this period. In addition to my family history of BD, as a result of my upbringing, I assumed the persona of perfectionist, saviour, and protector; trying my hardest to please others to the point of neglecting my own basic needs in the process. I hadn’t yet mastered the art of giving and receiving, of loving and being loved, and of nurturing a healthy balance between self-care and care of others. And when I entered my most severe manic episode in 1998, my BD controlled my daily life to the point that my “creative juices” were smothered by the erratic and suffocating symptoms of my condition. I was treated in hospital at this point. Shortly after my discharge, my desire to write returned. However, this time, considering that my condition was being treated properly and that the majority of emotional stressors I had experienced during the 90s had lost their powerful grip on me, I resumed practicing my art in a more pleasurable and disciplined manner. It was no longer an uncontrollable compulsion. It became a positive, growth-inducing outlet where I felt valued and free; a “labour of love”.

Thanks to the additional “surge of energy” and “audacity” I experienced during the appearance of my BD and when I regained my emotional stability during my recovery phase, I believe I’ve become a more artistic, creative, and productive person. I’m thankful that over the years, proper calming and relaxation techniques such as meditation, breathing, mindfulness, exercise, good nutrition and visualization have helped me cope. Since receiving and sticking to a BD treatment regime that works for me, my creative writings have continued to be extremely beneficial to my mental health. They have become my voice of inner freedom and self-healing.

What a blessing for me to have crossed paths with CREST.BD in May 2015! I will forever remain grateful for CREST.BD having helped me to recognize some of my BD early warning signs and to have provided me with an array of evidence-based tools (like their Quality of Life tool) to cope with these symptoms if they arise.

Finally, BD has become, and continues to be a wonderful traveling companion; a holistic teacher of life. And now that her major storms seem to have subsided (I haven’t had any significant recurring symptoms since 1998) and we have become mutually caring and respectful lifelong partners, I wish to thank her for helping me to be the creative person I’ve become.

CREATIVE WRITINGS

Catch your breath of life and reflect upon the mysteries of your world.
Really listen to the lovely music of Mother Earth – this is her world!
Each one of her amazing creations exists to ensure your survival.
As God gave her fruits, you discovered that they were plentiful.
Treat yourself; the tree of Life still grows to give sustenance.
It gives you love and peace; it does so in great abundance.
Value all creations. They’re your God’s gratuitous gifts.
Embrace life with all your might; don’t nurture rifts.

Words and languages exist to connect you with all creations.
Really, plants and trees also have ways of sharing their passions.
In alertly listening to them, you’ll understand the universe’s mysteries.
Teachings from your Elders will strengthen your spirit; listen to their stories.
Inspire yourself from the lively beat of the drum; it’s the sound of your inner voice.
Now is the time to express in words what your heart wishes to share. It’s your sole choice.
God and Mother Nature gave you the inspiration; it’s your turn to let yourself be humbly heard.
Silence will always invite your soul in his home. He is your soul mate and the rich soil of your words.

Raymond D. Tremblay © May 15, 2010

RaymondTremblay


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