This I Believe

This I believe…

That insanity is relative…

And that art and genius are only recognized as such when society designates them so.

For a long time I struggled with issues of sanity and insanity. I felt so taken back when I was told that I was manic-depressive. That it would stay with me forever and that I could manage it with medications and therapy.

Bipolar Disorder? Really?

I mean, I had heard of the illness; had learned about it in high school…

But me? I, was bipolar?

I wasn’t moody and impulsive. I didn’t have any “serious issues”. I was a “good kid,” I was in college.

“Bipolars” were weirdoes. Crazy, strange people. Not normal like me.

How had this happened? No one I knew had this.

For a while afterwards I questioned my ability to reason. I was afraid to trust my judgments—myself.

It then became an issue of:

What would people think of me if they knew I was bipolar? Would they see me the same way?

Everything became a struggle. And when it came to writing, it pained me. I constantly questioned my ability to write, my motivation for doing so, and my tenacity to continue doing it despite my many doubts. I feared some might say that now, that I had had a bout of “that fine madness” I would brand myself as artist.

I didn’t want to think that I was “touched with fire,” but secretly I hoped that maybe what Jamison wrote in her book was true. That mental illness and art were connected. I wanted so badly to create…something meaningful…something beautiful—art.

Now I understand. Insanity is relative, and art and genius do not have to be limited to that. That which resides within the narrow scope of what society designates as such.

I am,

My own society and the designator of my own sanity as well as of my artistic proclivities and genius.

I do not need researchers, doctors, or family to tell me that I will be fine, that I am a worthwhile person… despite my shortcomings.

I do not need to hide, behind ideas about an illness that is part of who I am. That is who I am. My personality; full range.

It is great to trust and accept yourself, simply, as you are.

So when it comes to the question of whether there is a link between the artistic temperament and manic-depressive illness and to what extent it affects me

I want to believe;

That I am a simple artist living out a life, creating works of genius. And that to not admit this to myself and value my attempts to fulfill this desire within me—that would be insanity.

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