Touched by Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament: A Book Review

The definitive work on the profound and surprising links between manic-depression and creativity, from the bestselling psychologist of bipolar disorders who wrote An Unquiet Mind.

One of the foremost psychologists in America, “Kay Jamison is plainly among the few who have a profound understanding of the relationship that exists between art and madness” (William Styron).

The anguished and volatile intensity associated with the artistic temperament was once thought to be a symptom of genius or eccentricity peculiar to artists, writers, and musicians. Her work, based on her study as a clinical psychologist and researcher in mood disorders, reveals that many artists subject to exalted highs and despairing lows were in fact engaged in a struggle with clinically identifiable manic-depressive illness.

-Goodreads

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Why you shouldn’t do things just to inspire others:

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When you say that people shouldn’t do things to impress others everyone agrees without hesitation, but when you say that you shouldn’t aspire to inspire, you get a little push back. People like being inspirational. Especially who live in modern times because we live in a world where everyone has a window to your life, even complete strangers (this blog, your Instagram- you know what I mean).

I got a little cocky the other day when one of my friends told me that they found my winning fight with something as inspirational. I let it go to my head a little, I was like, hell yes. I am inspirational. And I am, and honestly you are too, we are all inspirational, that’s not in question, it’s about doing things for the purpose of inspiring. It gets a little shady.

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Why it’s okay for people to call mental disorders gifts:

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There was a post going around Tumblr and Facebook recently about Vincent Van Gogh and his mental illness. The post was saying that we shouldn’t say that his artistic mind was a gift from his mental illness. It’s argument was that nothing from a disabling illness (that lead to his death) was a gift, and that he would have completely thrown away his art if he could have a cure for his illness.

Van Gogh is one of my favorites, not only because he is a great artist, but because he was bipolar, just like I am. I wrote a huge research project on him while I was in college, and I got invested in who he was as a person. And I have a problem with posts like these.

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