Creativity-The gift of bipolarity: use it to your advantage

Respectful parenting - 7 movies recommended by psychologists

Accepting emotional ups and downs and harnessing them to develop creative abilities can help you achieve your own unique balance.

Respectful parenting - 7 movies recommended by psychologists

The bipolar person lives subject to mood swings that, at different levels, oscillate between an extreme of hopelessness and depression and another of euphoria. Our culture values ​​emotional balance that translates into stability of character: we admire those who do not abruptly change their moods, do not get carried away by an outburst or passion, are never stunned, and are always presented more or less in the same mood.

However, no balance is achieved directly and instantly: to achieve it, sometimes we have to go through moments of instability in which our organism and our affective world do not necessarily return to the same position.

Curiously, in the face of the social demand for continuity and permanence, the number of people diagnosed as bipolar has not stopped growing in recent years.


Conventional psychiatry considers bipolarity an affective disorder characterized by repeated mood swings ranging from extreme sadness and hopelessness (depression) to euphoria and exaltation (mania).

In the depressive pole, they lose interest in their usual activities; they feel weak, listless, and experience sleep disturbances, loss of appetite and sexual desire, difficulty concentrating and reasoning, feelings of guilt or inability, wishes to die, and even thoughts of suicide.

In pole mania, on the contrary, the euphoric, and sometimes irritable, mood produces an increase in energy: they have less need to sleep, their thoughts jump from one topic to another, they increase sexual activity, they lose the ability to self-control and they show megalomaniacal behaviors (excessive expenses, lavishness …).

Depressive symptoms make the patient descend into a kind of hell in which he feels isolated because his condition is generally not understood by the environment. On the other hand, in the mania stage, he experiences excessive well-being and does not understand that others cannot perceive it.

Most specialists consider that the cause of this affective “seesaw” is an electrochemical imbalance in brain neurotransmitters and direct their efforts to stop the oscillation and stabilize the patient.

Implicitly or explicitly, the bipolar receives the message that oscillating is bad and that he must normalize his moods, a concept that he cannot understand because he lacks that experience and, puzzled, responds with the exact opposite: he becomes even more unstable.


The search for stability is learned as a pattern of behavior from childhood. The bipolar child is constantly ordered: “Be still, don’t move, don’t fly …” And in front of him it is said: “He is a very imaginative boy”, as if this were a misfortune.

This type of approach is based on an insufficient understanding of the discomfort of patients and the meaning of the symptom in its evolutionary process. In addition, they imply a limiting labeling that marks them with a social stigma.

The bipolar is subordinate to the affective moments that he is living, which takes away the ability to include other important aspects of life that the affective tonality that dominates him at that moment does not allow him to see and integrate.


The alternative that I propose is to understand the symptom not so much as a failure to be eradicated, but as a potentiality that travels the wrong paths and that it is possible to posit and develop. It is creativity misdirected, stopped or stifled that goes crazy.

The idea of ​​taking advantage of the patient’s emotional oscillation to develop, among other things, their creative capacity has been corroborated by several studies that show an intimate connection between bipolarity and artistic creativity, united in a supportive structure of psychic organization where misdirected talents, drowned or even repressed, they scream out their anger and disagreement through emotional instability.

And thanks to this oscillation, the patient can regain his creativity; a quality enhanced by his intuitive capacity, by the thought in images and multidimensionality that he possesses, by the curiosity and the spirit of adventure that animate him, and by that particularity of coming into contact with an incomparable fineness of affective nuances that can make him an excellent communicator, an intense creator and an efficient psychotherapist.

I consider bipolarity not as an obstacle but as a path of learning and growth; not as a handicap but as a set of talents that, when well managed, can lead a person to achieve fulfillment thanks precisely to their own oscillating nature, not because they have overcome their “illness”.

The stability that the bipolar needs to achieve does not come from the outside but is the result of an inner reference; it is equivalent to a movement with meaning and proportion, not to a stop or stillness. It is not necessary to pretend that it stops oscillating (oscillation is, precisely, its virtue), but that it heals the disproportion that swallows it in an eternal swing without axis.


The majority of bipolar people have biographies in which the difficulties and misfortunes prevail that have led them to transform the initial helplessness – the inability to meet their basic needs with which every human being comes into the world, and the difficulties of their environment to satisfy them – in belief:

“If they don’t give me what I need, it’s because I don’t deserve it; and if I don’t deserve it, I am unworthy”.

This causes, when they reach adulthood, relational problems that also oscillate between absolute dependence (in the depressive phase) and the denial of all ties and even the pain of loss. But life must not be either dependence or lack of need for others. Between both extremes, freedom is a tool that human beings must build.

As long as the bipolar self cannot assert itself anywhere and lives continuously jumping from euphoria to sadness, from love to heartbreak, from fulfillment to the most complete disappointment, it cannot be cured. You need to integrate the polarities, change the belief that things are necessarily black or white, and assimilate the fact that grays predominate in life, that everything in it is ambivalent.

The well-known Scottish psychiatrist Ronald Laing used to say that the patient, rather than an object to change, is a person to accept. Along the same lines, what is important about our proposal is not the technical aspects but the philosophy that encourages it, which points to non-dependence, autonomy, creativity and freedom of the bipolar patient.

Well, even though the affective deficiency that causes bipolarity may never be covered, it is possible to gradually learn to feel with the body, express affections and be a little freer every day.


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