It must be tough having a mental health problem but does it come with some advantages? Its hard to think of any until I came across this paper in Molecular Psychiatry. It suggests that bipolar disorder is probably more common in clever people. The authors studied records of > 1 million Swedish men to test the hypothesis that creativity is associated with profound mood swings. Indeed the study found that those blessed with a high IQ are probably prone to pure bipolar disorder.
But is there a real link between genius and bipolar disorder. Indeed a recent suggested a common genetic linkage between genius and bipolar disorder. The Guardian gives a comprehensive analysis of this study which is worth a read.
Does any creative person with bipolar disorder come to mind? Perhaps. A quick look at PubMed brought up a paper that suggested that Virginia Woolf’s creativity is linked to her bipolar disorder.
How many geniuses have we cocooned in psychiatric wards I wonder. Or is Virginia Woolf in good company, roaming free and creating? This Wikipedia list of famous people with bipolar disorder would suggest so.
You may also check my other blog post on this subject titled Autism and creativity.