First I thought all the lists of bipolar celebrities and artists and composers and so on were great. They made me feel a bit better about the diagnosis, some sort of reflected shine. Then I began to wonder about the dead ones.
I read a decent rebuttal, but in the final paragraph, it screwed up completely.
Many famous figures like Beethoven and Hemmingway are said to have had bipolar disorder. However, modern diagnosis of bipolar was not available until the 20th century so these claims are estimates.
If you don’t get it, read it again.
Anyway it’s correct in essence; the post mortem diagnoses are guesses. End of.
There’s a bipolar mafia somewhere, sitting round a boardroom table. Every so often, someone mentions a name. Napoleon? The others nod gleefully, citing manic this and depressed that and they add him to the list. Jesus? Beethoven? Santa? Yeah, that bastard is hypomanic at Christmas and sulks for the rest of the year. Bipolar 2 without a doubt. People even describe the weather as bipolar these days.
You’re bipolar! You’re bipolar! Everybody gets to be BIPOLARRRRRRR!
Oh man it’s so exciting and now we’re all part of the disturbed genius tortured artist club and it’s just great and … wait … oh fuck … that’s a delusion of grandeur right there. But yeah, identify with that and then go swallow your pills and take all that edge away and … oh great, another crash, juuust what bipolar people need.
If you’re willing to accept creativity without drama, read this. And then have a little think about the creative world of the 21st century. By and large, the artists and writers and musicians and so on who are doing well and making money are the ones who are shrewd business people and marketeers. There’s a van Gogh pun there somewhere.
Nobody is going to discover your genius on the streets; Warhol and Basquiat are dead. You have to pimp yourself harder than ever now, the Internet is seething with competition and everybody got their 15 minutes.
If you want immortality rather than fame and acclaim, you may as well chop your ear off and paint your madness. What is the sense in making Kurt Cobain into a bipolar icon, if you’re then saying don’t be like Kurt, take these nice meds?
We have enough bipolar celebs to idolise if that’s your thing, to advocate for us if that’s their thing. There are fantastic bipolar authors teaching us stuff and we have the internet so we can
overthrow the regime and take over the world talk to each other and figure stuff out.
All the speculation about dead manic depressives can be fun, but take your goddamn meds and be yourself, mkay?