Free Research Paper About All The World’s A Stage

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Life, Disorders, Bipolar Disorder, Experience, Art, Love, Human, Emotions

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/11/13

Life is a creation of opposites. Without failure, success could never be so rewarding. Without loss, the present moment would never be as precious. And without pain, pleasure would mean nothing. Indeed, to feel every spectrum of the emotional gamut is a gift that we get to experience as sentient and intelligent human beings. For some, however, this polar nature of existence is exaggerated to the point where others recognize something different in their personality. For them, life’s emotional poles are magnified within a small time span, and often result in exhausting and debilitating episodes that affect not only their lives but also those around them. Delving deeper into this supposed disorder, however, one may witness the gift that lies hidden within the condition that could easily be dismissed as a troublesome and destructive aberration. Individuals who undergo such extremes of mood, thought and personality may actually be privileged—and even intended—to experience segments of the vast spectrum of emotion that supposed normal people dare not touch; as a result, these individuals offer gifts of truth and beauty that may otherwise remain buried and unseen.
According to Marohn (2011), 5.7 million Americans (or about 2.6 percent of the U.S. population) aged 18 and older have bipolar disorder. In addition, an estimated 1 million children under the age of 18 in the United States have bipolar disorder. Most importantly, as many as 1 in 5 people with bipolar disorder will commit suicide. The far-reaching consequences of this disorder demand the attention of those who would dismiss the condition as the flamboyant outbursts of a delusionary artist or merely the mental deviation of an otherwise normal individual. Furthermore, there may be a link that too often goes unnoticed between the highly misunderstood condition and life itself. Bipolar patients and their close family members frequently “do not recognize and associate between life events inside or outside the family and the onset of an illness episode” (Miklowitz, 2008, pg. 11). Consequently, there may be connections that lend poignant truth to the reason for its existence as well as perhaps even the ironic necessity of such personality conditions as bipolar disorder.
Bloch and Naser (2006) write that gifted people often seem more sensitive or high-strung. They often report feeling somehow “different” (Bloch and Naser, 2006, pg. 49). This extra-sensitivity lends to a more poignant notion of their deeply emotive personalities. Individuals with the prescribed bipolar disorder are perhaps merely individuals whose hearts are capable of feeling every bit of emotion that others are either born unable to feel or grown accustomed to not acknowledge according to environment. According to Marohn (2011), mania is characterized by boundless energy, heightened mood, a grander sense of self, flippancy and recklessness. These symptoms may actually point to an energized sense of reality that is otherwise deadened by the mundaneness of life. When feeling manic, the individual feels a clearer vision of existence as well as his or her intractable power over reality and creation. While the volatile nature of their personalities can cause imbalance and disharmony in their relationships—even the relationship with him or her self—there is more to his or her seeming dysfunction than mere disequilibrium. If used within the unlimited medium of art, the individual can express “deep feeling and insight into the human experience” (Bloch and Naser, 2006, pg. 49). Art is the most powerful when it enables the viewer or listener to feel connected to the artist, to feel understood and one with his or her experience. Authenticity is the crucial component of a piece of art that genuinely moves the soul. Suffering, in effect, authenticates the art. The piece of work therefore goes beyond merely form, and transcends into something invisible yet tangible to the soul.
The cost of such mesmerizing art is admittedly high. The other side of mania is depression—crippling and unforgiving depression. According to Marohn (2001), episodes of depression are characterized by unremitting sadness, a negative outlook, difficulty with focus and concentration, restlessness, indecisiveness, and immobilizing lethargy. Furthermore, the suicide rate among artists is likewise about “ten times as high as the general population, with bipolar disorder being a prime cause of these untimely deaths” (Bloch and Naser, 2006, pg. 50). The penetrating effects of such depression have severe consequences on one’s ability to love him or her self, and consequently, to love those around him or her. Such extreme shifts in energy would naturally result in vacillating thoughts about one’s identity and the world at large. At one end, a person may believe he is the greatest person who ever lived, only to fall into the pit of self-loathing and self-pity. According to Miklowitz (2008), researchers are finding that the depressive pole of the disorder is “much more persistent and harder to treat than the manic pole” (pg. 23). Yet this may simply be the price for the gifts that their souls offer when in their manic state. Bipolar disorder may offer an unlikely treasure for creativity because “its sufferers experience the world through emotional prisms of its many and shifting moods” (Miklowitz, 2008, pg. 15). As a result, what they produce speaks of the human heart of existence that transcends time, and therefore becomes timeless while reaching beyond their individual life spans. Furthermore, their often untimely deaths, particularly those due to suicide, may be a deeply existential admission of having fulfilled their purpose for life in that particular form through the meaningful contribution of their art.
“Shakespeare wrote, “All the world’s a stage / And all the men and women are merely players.” In the metaphysical sense, if we are spirit embodied in human form, then this experience is a human one, rather than a spiritual one—for spirit is what we are underneath the personality. Therefore, perhaps there is a lesson in these individuals who experience exaggerated examples of what we all undergo in our lives. They are the daring players who live life experiencing what others are maybe too rigid, too afraid, or too apprehensive to experience for themselves—all the while reminding anyone who is open enough to receive their message to follow suit and experience life in its entirety. The world is one, and those who we point to in self-righteous separation to those with bipolar disorder are actually unwittingly pointing to the dark and hidden corners of their own psyche. What we would more conveniently dismiss as a lack of self-control or biological malfunction may actually be a part of our own minds that is begging to not only be unveiled and recognized, but also fully appreciated and embraced.


Miklowitz, D. (2008). Bipolar Disorder a Family-Focused Treatment Approach. (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Publications.
Marohn, S. (2011). The Natural Medicine Guide to Bipolar Disorder New Revised Edition.Newburyport: Hampton Roads Publishing.
Bloch, J., & Naser, J. (2006). The Everything Health Guide to Adult Bipolar Disorder: Reassuring Advice to Help You Cope. Avon, Mass.: Adams Media.

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