“Filled with energy… flooded with ideas… driven, restless, and unable to keep still… often works on little sleep… feels brilliant, special, chosen, perhaps even destined to change the world… can be euphoric… becomes easily irritated by minor obstacles… is a risk taker…”
That list is from the book The Hypomanic Edge : The Link Between (A Little) Craziness and (A Lot of) Success in America, by John D. Gartner, Ph.D. and probably applies to many in the huge community of creative minds in entertainment fields.
[Also see his article The Hypomanic Edge.]
A former entertainment lawyer (whose clients included Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones), Terri Cheney suffered for years from bipolar disorder, and has commented, “Hollywood is an industry of extremes. It is feast or famine, euphoria or despair. Everything has got to be faster, bigger, more, and right now! In a way, you need to be manic to survive.”
In a news story about Cheney’s book “Manic: A Memoir,” Hilary MacGregor wrote, “Set in a glamorous world saturated with money and celebrity, the book not only describes Cheney’s individual struggle against this disease — which afflicts 5.7 million adult Americans of every age, gender and social class — it also provides an apt metaphor for the bizarre psychological terrain of Hollywood.”
“The up and down nature of Hollywood life, Cheney suggests, makes it easier for those who suffer to conceal their mental illness here. Bipolar may go undiagnosed in many communities, but in Hollywood, manic traits are not only overlooked, they are celebrated.”
She also thinks “It’s an incredible time to be bipolar. There is so much awareness. There are so many medications. There is so much unexpected compassion.”
Continued in article: Bipolar Explorer, by Hilary MacGregor.
Terri Cheney was named a member of the board of the California Bipolar Foundation and the Community Advisory Board of the UCLA Mood Disorders Research Program.
But is the creativity – mood disorder association “hogwash”?
Dr. Judith Schlesinger writes: “To be a genius means to suffer—if not the chronic paralysis of depression, then surely the emotional whiplash of bipolar disorder…. This is the heart of the ‘mad genius’ myth that has been integral to Western culture for centuries.
“It is also hogwash. The fact is…there’s still no concrete, empirical proof that highly creative people are any more likely to be mood-disordered than any other group.”
See more quotes in my post Madness and creativity: do we need to be crazy?
[Photo: Dick (Jim Carrey, who has talked about suffering from bipolar) feeling exuberantly self-assured after getting a promotion, and singing “I Believe I Can Fly”, in the movie Fun with Dick and Jane (2005). See video in my post Facing the Enemies Within – Courage and Fear.]
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Last reviewed: 20 Feb 2011