Illegal Drugs vs. Mentally Ill

by lackofsolidity on October 14, 2010

The mentally ill mind often goes through the same experiences that a “regular” mind would on illegal drugs. Then those deemed “ill” are given legal drugs to quell this effect. But if others are paying good money and taxing their bodies in order to obtain these experiences, illegally, is being mentally ill really all that bad?

I say yes, it is bad in that we have little control in how our mind flows. We cannot measure the extent or time period of our next manic episode, nor can we plan for a safe, relaxing environment to become catatonic in. Not being able to manually quash the effect is torturous.
But yet it is also not bad. Statistics of bipolar disorder show that it is positively correlated with higher IQs. Hypomania can bring about increased productivity and innovative genius. Mania can be fun, enthralling, and addictive. We’ve taken our minds to more extreme, multifarious perspectives than the majority of the population will ever be exposed to.

I’m suggesting there are two ways one can look at bipolar illness:
It’s a blessing that we can have such rare, often sought after mind-altering experiences, naturally. And we bring variety and creativity to the world.
But it is also a curse. Our cycles can be detrimental to our health, family, friends, and career. Having little to no control over our episodes makes it very hard for us to trust ourselves and make commitments. And when our mind is in combat mode with itself, we’ll inevitably be in combat mode with the world around us.

It’s a taboo subject. But I wouldn’t change my diagnoses. In the words of Kay Redfield Jamison from An Unquiet Mind, “I honestly believe that as a result of it bipolar disorder] I have felt more things, more deeply; had more experiences, more intensely; loved more, and been more loved; laughed more often for having cried more often; […] seen the finest and most terrible in people, and slowly learned the values of caring, loyalty, and seeing things through. I have seen the breadth and depth and width of my mind and heart and seen how frail they both are, and how ultimately unknowable they both are. […] But normal or manic, I have run faster, thought faster, and loved faster than most I know. And I think much of this is related to my illness – the intensity it gives to things and the perspective it forces on me. I think it has made me test the limits of my mind […]” (pg. 218)