Da Vinci is known as a creative Genius. Most of us are familiar with his inventions or famous paintings. What some don’t know is that it’s suspected, through research into his innumerable writings and journals, that he was also suffering from Bipolar Disorder.
Was it the mania that fueled Da Vinci’s brilliance? It’s hard not to believe that it didn’t play a role.
Mania is a state that allows for less sleep, a more constant and varied stream of thought and more vivid everything. It’s hard not to want to create in that state of mind. Everything seems possible.
Even in a mixed state, when the torrent of thoughts are dark and swirling, the thoughts come rapidly and there is no choice but to get them out of you. I’ve always connected with Da Vinci’s work because of those states.
So what happens when we take medications to curb our mania? Does the creativity stop?
That terrifying question has haunted me for years. I think I have an answer now and the answer is: no. If I am on the right medication, my creativity is solid and I’m able to express myself in all of the ways I’d like to, without all of the discomfort associated with manic or mixed states.
I can organize my thoughts better. My mind doesn’t fly at a thousand miles an hour and I can stop and think about what I want to produce. Perhaps it is slightly less brilliant in the end, simply due to less options running through my head, but the trade off is ultimately worth it.
Spending thousands on things I don’t need, feeling as though my skin is crawling off, feeling paranoid or hearing voices are not acceptable bargains for my art.
I choose to take medication every day because I choose to be a little more level. A little more sane. Not a little less shiny.