Darts For The Self-Identified “Bipolar” Author

In the litter-y world kiss ass praise keeps the balloon of the ego afloat. Anybody got a spare safety pin? I’d like to puncture a few of those balloons that have met with a little more turbulence than usual every now and then.

NPR just released a story on the debate raging over the next DSM with the heading What’s A Mental Disorder? Even Experts Can’t Agree. This post has nothing to do with that article but everything to do with that heading that, frankly, says it all.

Mark Vonnegut, the son of Kurt, has a new book out. Oregonlive.com published a review of this book recently Nonfiction Review: ‘Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So’ by Mark Vonnegut.

“What did you say?” Yes, that’s probably the right reaction to have to this sort of thing. This title reminds me a little of Through The Looking Glass but, of course, that book would have targeted children as it’s primary readership.

The relationship between creativity and bipolar disorder is real and has been the subject of many books, Kay Redfield Jamison’s “Touched with Fire” being one of best. Mark Vonnegut embraces it and defends it in a few eloquent sentences:

“If you don’t have flights of ideas, why bother to think at all? I don’t see how people without loose associations and flights of ideas get much done.”

Kay Redfield Jamison is another one of my favorite errant self-proclaimed mad author targets of derision. She’s a shrink, too, to further confuse matters, and just in case you didn’t know. (No, I don’t consider Lord George Gordon Byron a classical bipolar disorder sufferer. I tend to think of him rather as a romantic era poet instead.)

I understand when kids have problems that result in doctors getting carried away in the labeling department. Smart ass, wise guy, juvenile delinquent, wacko, ADHD, etc., it goes on and on. It mushrooms.

The transition from adolescence to adulthood can be rocky, and it can come at a price, if it comes at all. I imagine when this transition gets rockier than it does at other times and places, when doctors are called in, it can leave some young adults with labels like “bipolar” or “schizophrenic” that can be as hard to shake off as scraps of paper wet with superglue.

What am I trying to say here? I am trying to say that after 20-30 years of a sickness in the head charade, it gets stale, not to mention boring. Get over it! “Get over it” is another way of saying recover. Once you recover, it’s past tense, as in recovered. (Oriented as opposed to disoriented.) Others have done so, and it’s not such a difficult thing to pull off really. I got over my early troubles and turmoil. Now get over your’s, and no excuses. The “mental illness” excuse doesn’t work with me.

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