Bipolar disorder affects one out of every 83 individuals in the United States. Considered a neurological mood disorder, the symptoms of bipolar disorder are often debilitating and can often lead to an impairment in daily living activities, affect familial relationships and job performance and even impair the bipolar sufferer to such an extent that physical health is affected. However, in some cases of bipolar disorder, the outcome may be positive and lead to such a degree of creativity so as to allow the individual to make a significant impact on the world around them. Bipolar disorder crosses all genders, races, creeds and colors with examples of individuals who made an impact on society through the exhibition of their bipolar symptoms:
Robert Downey, Jr:
Born in 1965, to celebrity parents, Robert Downey, Jr. and worked in a variety of television and movie debuts including “Saturday Night Live”. Robert Downey, Jr. suffers from bipolar symptoms which attribute to a historical use of alcohol and drugs.
Born in 1952, Robin Williams began his early career on the television show “Mork and Mindy”. Most notably considered a comedian full of excitable energy. Although not openly acknowledged, Robin Willliams is believed to be a sufferer of bipolar disorder as exhibited through his creativity and impulsivity. In this scenario, bipolar disorder may attribute to what we call a positive side effect as it has allowed Robin Williams to function in society and make a significant contribution in terms of comedic and improvisation.
Born in 1965, to parents who also suffered from bipolar disorder, Ben Still is a well known for many movie debuts including, “Meet the Fockers” and “Along Came Polly”. Openly acknowledges bipolar disorder has affected his life with episodes of angry outbursts leading to conflict and media attention.
Considered one of the most prominent composers in history, Ludwig van Beethoven is a key figure in the relationship between bipolar disorder and the intense creativity characteristic. A sufferer of deafness, Beethoven composed significant musical history still heard today. His bipolar disorder symptoms, while impacted the world for years, may have attributed to his death through his abuse of alcohol which ultimately resulted in his demise.
Born in 1835, Mark Twain was both a writer as well as a lecturist. Suffering signfiicant personal loss in his life, Mark Twain also suffered professional loss with the demise of his publishing business. While bipolar symptoms are believed to have impacted his later life, Mark Twain is an example of a positive impact bipolar disorder had on the creativity of one individual.
When suffering from bipolar disorder, it is important to be mindful that not all symptoms and side effects are negative. As seen with these prominent figures, bipolar disorder provides creativity and, when channeled appropriately, can make a significant impact on society and future generations.