Two weeks ago, popular Furious Seasons blogger Philip was in Florida giving a talk about bipolar disorder. He was asked a question he couldn’t get into the kind of answer he felt the question deserved at the time, so he posted his answer today on his blog. The question itself was thought-provoking:

My question was, how do you feel about the presence of bipolar? Have you felt that it is, in the terminology of Icarus [Project], a ‘dangerous gift,’ something to be cultivated and learned from (a personality trait for which this culture marginalizes you?), or is it an invasive agent to be kept at bay?

Interesting, because the definition of mental illness has never been as clean and as clear-cut as something like diabetes. It has been shaped as much by societal norms and conventions as it is by science itself. (Many of the outrageous behaviors we take for granted as commonplace today would have been considered signs of a seriously diseased person even just 150 years ago.) Society determines what is and isn’t worthy of the “crazy” label, and from time to time, we change the playing field a bit.

Philip’s response is long, so be forewarned, but worth the read, because it has intriguing nuggets of possibilities, like this one:

I know I am going out on a limb here that someone will likely chop off for me, but I believe that much of what we call bipolar disorder is in fact a personality disorder or constellation of behavioral issues. […]

I regard bipolar disorder as more of weird gift than anything.

Indeed, there are so many possibilities of what some people live with for so long to be thought of as so many different things. And I find it heartening to hear someone call what they lived with for so long a “gift.”

PS – While you’re visiting Furious Seasons, please consider donating a few bucks so Philip can make his next rent payment. Thanks…

Read the full entry: Once Diagnosed, Never Undiagnosed