Parapsychology Journalism: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics
Bi-Polar disorder (a.k.a. manic-depressive) is an unusual mental issue. While nearly all other mental disorders involve having a severely limited ability to express real emotions, bi-polar people express too much. Their emotions get away from them and they cannot hold them back. This can interfere with people’s lives because high emotions distort our ability to think and reason, often allowing our irrational fears to take hold and run the show. The travails of Mel Gibson, who had the misfortune of having his problems exposed to the entire world, are a perfect example of this.
The Mayo Clinic has the following list of symptoms:
Manic phase of bipolar disorder
Signs and symptoms of the manic or hypomanic phase of bipolar disorder can include:
- Euphoria, Extreme optimism, Inflated self-esteem, Poor judgment, Rapid speech, Racing thoughts
- Aggressive behavior, Agitation or irritation, Increased physical activity, Risky behavior, Spending sprees or unwise financial choices
- Increased drive to perform or achieve goals, Increased sex drive, Decreased need for sleep, Inability to concentrate, Careless or dangerous use of drugs or alcohol
- Frequent absences from work or school, Delusions or a break from reality (psychosis), Poor performance at work or school
Depressive phase of bipolar disorder
Signs and symptoms of the depressive phase of bipolar disorder can include:
- Sadness, Hopelessness, Suicidal thoughts or behavior, Anxiety, Guilt
- Sleep problems, Low appetite or increased appetite, Fatigue, Loss of interest in daily activities
- Problems concentrating, Irritability, Chronic pain without a known cause
- Frequent absences from work or school, Poor performance at work or school
The first thing that strikes me about this is that you probably have to be a highly sensitive person to have bi-polar disorder. This only makes sense. For a person to have wild emotional swings, they have to have wild emotions. There is apparently no scholarly research on this connection, but I am not the first to think of this. On a help site for highly sensitive people, one man writes:
Is it possible that being “highly sensitive” is an illness brought about by a chemical imbalance similar to bipolar disorder ?
I lived with bipolar disorder and have had periods of deep depression. I was born with a heightened senses as was my mother and her mother as well. they both had symptoms of bipolar disorder. It has occurred to me that my being HSP may be why I was open to bipolar disorder and related depression.
The second thing is that bipolar disorder is strongly linked to creativity in the manic phase.
Memory and creativity are related to mania. Clinical studies have shown that those in a manic state will rhyme, find synonyms and use alliteration more than controls. This mental fluidity could contribute to an increase in creativity. Moreover mania creates increases in productivity and energy. Those in a manic state are more emotionally sensitive and show less inhibition about attitudes, which could create greater expression ((3)). Studies performed at Harvard looked into the amount of original thinking in solving creative tasks. Bipolar individuals, whose disorder was not severe, tended to show greater degrees of creativity ((5)).
So here we have people who are highly sensitive and creative, which are strong attributes of psychic people. Is is really so very much of a stretch to imagine that psychic ability is somewhere nearby? No. And surprisingly, for a change, I am not the first person to think of this. A website I ran into basically states the same thing:
The most common psychiatric diagnosis among experients of psychical phenomena is Bipolar Disorder. Also known as manic depression, manic-depressive disorder and bipolar affective disorder, this diagnosis describes a category of mood disorders.
And treating people with this disorder as though they were psychic would probably do a lot for their mental health. Let me explain:
Once you know you are psychic, a number of things can be dealt with:
If you are not dealing with these things they will catch up with you. And it just might be that the people who are most vulnerable are highly sensitive, creative types that have not learned the first thing about dealing with the psychic onslaught of the world and are trying to pretend that they’re normal when they aren’t. This can push people to the brink.
I can speak from personal experience here. The more comfortable I’ve become with being psychic, the calmer I’ve been and my emotions have been much more steady. I’m not as prone to depression or simply malaise. It’s easier to shake out of it. Not because of anything I’m doing psychically, I’m just more comfortable in my own skin.
It seems to me that having emotions go through such intense cycles is a symptom of suppression. That is to say, the individual is trying hard to repress something about themselves and failing at it. That something may be their psychic awareness. Those of us who have been through this know how difficult it is to hold back spirit. (for lack of a better word.) I can easily imagine the psychological demolition derby resulting from someone trying too hard to adopt the “rational” mindset when it doesn’t suit them. (It’s in quotations because people are often far less rational than they think they are.)
I don’t have any answers here, it’s just something to think about. If bi-polar people were taught to embrace their psychic side and understand it, would that help them? I think it’s a good question.