Friday, February 01, 2008



cv said...

I love, love, LOVE Robin Williams

He is proof that you can have mental illness and make it work for you.

Bipolars Rock!

STAG said...

I should introduce you to my friend Mike. He dropped in last year after stealing a car from the dealership he was working at, and came up here to purchase a sword to deal with the RCMP who were "just up the road waiting for him".

I suggested mildly that maybe he should start taking his lithium again....
There's more to this story of course, but I am sure you could write the ending.

Nice guy, and but one of those guys who always say "why should I take that medication, there is nothing wrong with me?, then, when he switches back, he is always so amazingly remorseful. A lot of people are really scared of him (including the RCMP) but I think he is kind of neat to have around, in much the same way it is kinda neat but exhausting to have a 200 pound puppy around.

Some manic depressives get really depressed, then swing over to wildly cheerful, but Mike seems step a different dance. His extremes seem to swing between "friend to all the world" to "foe to all the world".
He too feels that his successes are due to his "up" periods, though he is often just as productive in his "down" periods.

I have such interesting friends. I STILL believe that mental illness exists in everyone to a greater or lesser extent, and that a vist to bail court before 7 in the morning would blur the differences quite nicely.

cv said...

There is a school of thought that is kind of whispered around in medical/philosophical/psychological circles that we are cheating-medicating ourselves out of some of our greatest geniuses of this age.

Most of the truly gifted men and women in the past also had a terrible burden of mental illness or some other affliction that went hand-in-hand with their brilliance.

By dulling their senses with modern pharmacology, are we also muting the muse?

Who are we to choose?

I don't think anyone can deny that Leonardo DaVinci was probably ADD, but in this day he would have probably been medicated.

Van Gogh? Lithium for SURE. Maybe even Electro Convulsive Therapy.

Modern Medicine is wonderful, and I am a fan. But there is a cost to everything.

STAG said...

A youngster of my acquaintance and I were listening to a local conservative talk show and the host was going on and on about how we were over-medicating our young poeple. The youngster told me that "Thank God for Ridallin". (sp?) I asked him why, and he said that without it,he could NOT focus, could NOT acomplish anything, could NOT get a night's sleep, and could not actually do anything. His comments to people that say "There's nothing wrong with you, you are just an unfocused kid" were pretty much unprintable. He told me that he knows the difference between "unfocused" and "ADHD", he isn't stupid! And without Ridallin, he would out of school, on the street, and self medicating as much as he could. As he points out, Rid is not a depressant to slow you down, it is actually an upper, and its effects change dramatically with age.
I asked him what was the difference between Rid and pot, and his comments were that a) don't tell mom, and b) pot puts him to sleep, but ridallin brings him alive. I asked him if he knew of any kids who were medicated that didn't need to be, and he said that its hard to tell...the rid makes people normal.

Its kind of interesting to talk with the recipients of our medical system, and find out what "they" think. I don't feel obliged to agree.

Personally I think that the history of famous people is repleat with geniuses which tried more or less unsuccessfully to cope by drug use of various types. What would Oscar Wilde have written without opium? Would Jimmi Hendrix still be rockin', or Janice Joplin? Would Winston Churchill have been able to deal with the Battle of Britain if his emotional state were modified by something other than gin? He called his depressions the "black dog", and would stay drunk during his low periods.

Normal people don't make history!

Although Mr. Williams seems to be working well with what appears to be a manic personality, I have seen him in dramatic roles, where there is little sign of mania of any kind. A good example would be his role in "And the Band Played On", and how he could turn it on and off in "Good Morning Vietnam". In "Peter Pan" he demonstrated none of the mania of his Mork and Mindy personality. Which in my opinion makes him a magnificent actor. Of course, we don't know how many out-takes there were as he climbed the draperies, and good editing can do wonders. (grin)

I love your phrase "are we muting the muse?" Who knows....I had a muse once, but it got burned out of me several years ago. I sort of miss it, but my wife is happy that "hurricane bill" has finally calmed down. Perhaps we can do with fewer wild muses, do without the Hitlers, the Amins, the De-Klerks, the Kaiser Wilhelms, the Pattons, the Capones and Lucianos. The Joseph Smiths, and Charles Mansons. I must paraphrase Nero as he was preparing to kill himself before the mob tore him limb from limb....

Oh what an artist dies in me!

What is rarely known was the answer his "second" made, which was "And about time too!"

cv said...

It is a hard question, which is why modern physicians and psychologists struggle so much with it.

I have a dear nephew who is absolutely BRILLIANT, but is also ADD. He takes a medication to help him focus in school, and it has helped him do better.

I also have my own little affliction, seasonal depression. I have had it for years, and go through down periods in the winter, and a kind of mania in June. My June cycle is one of little sleep, hyperactivity, and abundant creativity.

I watched a show that Robin Williams allowed himself to be filmed while he was on a boat, and went through one of his lows, and he could barely speak or get out of bed. Apparently, the gifted actor and comedian is what the manic side of him does. His hypermania was more fueled by cocaine than bipolar disorder.

I do agree that much poetic and creative product has come from mind-altering substance use/abuse. The song "Inagaddadavida" by Iron Butterfly is actually built on the lead singer trying to say "In The Garden of Eden" while completely stoned out of his mind.

I have had my own years of self medication for a variety of psychological problems, not so much organic as environmental and cause/effect fun. I like my prozac much better. Also, less regrets in the mornings.

Unfortunately, I think the bad 'evil geniuses' will outweigh the good ones, because they won't get treatment. There will be lots of little dark people running around causing havoc......

I have enjoyed this discussion...I need to go take my prozac now.