It’s been six years since I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder (type 2). The negatives for me nearly always outweigh the positives, but I think there are some positives, so wanted to list some of these:
A Different Thought Process
I’ve kinda always known that I think a bit differently. I was a “boffin” in school because I could do things like look at a piece of prose and comprehend it quite quickly, or I could come up with a multitude of ideas in quick succession.
During my career this has also been useful, I can analyse existing processes and see new ways of doing them. For example, I was a very early adopter of technology and easily imagined ways that they could be used. Even now I can often be found staring into space whilst ruminating on things to help me or my colleagues in our roles.
With my stand-up comedy it is useful to be able to look at a situation and ‘find the funny’ as they say. When talking to people, everything they say sets off my mind which instantaneously analyses what they have said and then extrapolating that into something I find funny. Sometimes those thoughts become the basis of my response, or tuck themselves away for future use.
I am also quite good at remembering things, not everything and definitely not in stressful situations (exams, for example). Before the Internet Movie Database, my brother would often phone at all times of day and night with a variation of the following, “Who’s that guy in the film on ITV?”. I would switch the TV on, could recognise the person and recall enough of their back catalogue to find the exact film my brother was looking for. It helped that I have always been a massive film geek.
Knowing when my brain needs a rest
Due to the therapy I have undertaken, I now recognise the importance of giving my brain a break. It’s the same as knowing when there is a need to rest your body. I can do that, but for my brain. The only difference is that there is no way to not use your brain, you can try (and I do through exercises such as mindfulness), but it is a vital piece of our bodies and controls absolutely everything.
So, some days I just need to try and use it less. This normally means a duvet day with films and TV.
I have always been “sensitive”. A label used about me by everyone from my parents to teachers and so forth. For years I took it as an insult, thinking it meant that I was “soft” (whatever that is) as I’ve been known to shed a tear at films most people wouldn’t (the end of Backdraft, for example), but I think what they meant was that I am empathetic.
I find it easy to look at things from other people’s point of view or to imagine myself in their shoes. This is a good thing, it means I take into account the feelings or situations of others when making decisions. There is a downside in that I can often put others’ well-being above my own (but this is a positive post so I’ll come back to that another day).
I have always been creative, from making up stories when I was younger to involving myself in film productions to doing photography to now performing stand-up comedy. I think this comes back to my brain thinking differently and is also aided by being empathetic. I can imagine other people and therefore find it easy to create characters and their lives.
For many years I suppressed my creativity due to crippling self-doubt and low self-esteem. I am only now finding myself in a place where I am starting to allow myself to do it again (this blog for example). And I love it.
Finishing something of your creation and being proud and having ownership and seeing other people’s reactions to it, is such a wonderful feeling.
So, there are positives (I think so anyway), so let’s just look at those today because if there was ever a day to celebrate them it is World Bipolar Day.
PS – A couple of weeks ago I had some tabloid adventures 🙂
PPS – I now have a Facebook page for my comedy