We need a bipolar president…article of interest from 2011

We Need a Bipolar President

A Bipolar Solution To Our Bipolar Economy
Published on August 8, 2011 by Tom Wootton in Bipolar Advantage
In recent months, discussions about the boom and bust cycles of our economy going back to the Great Depression have been the focus of many news stories. During boom cycles, too many of us experience periods of inflated feelings of power or delusions of grandeur, characterized by excessive risk taking and out of control spending. During bust cycles, many of us experience periods of indecisiveness, black and white thinking, loss of energy and fatigue, even feelings of worthlessness and suicidal thoughts. These reactions are classic symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Companies can and do prosper during times of economic turmoil. What do GE, Disney, HP, Microsoft, and Apple have in common? They were all startups during steep declines in the U.S. economy. GE started during the panic of 1873, Disney started during the recession of 1923-24, HP began during the Great Depression, and Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft during the recession of 1975. Even today, while the economy is in the worst down period since the Great Depression, Apple is thriving. All these companies realized that they had an advantage by adopting a different mindset, a different way of seeing the crisis. Instead of succumbing to the situation, they saw it as an opportunity to innovate and grow.

Those of us who have changed our mental condition from bipolar disorder to bipolar IN order have something important to share. We have found strength in what was at one time a debilitating weakness. We have learned how to function in all states, including the extremes of mania and depression. The insights we have and the tools that we use can help our companies to function better in both boom and bust times. We can inspire everyone to move forward instead of being crippled by fear and doubt.

It is times like these that call for a different kind of leader. We need someone who understands bipolar and can inspire us all. We need a bipolar president.
Dr. Nassir Ghaemi is a professor of psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine and the director of the Mood Disorders Program at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. He serves on the faculty of Harvard University’s Medical School, and has degrees in history, philosophy and public health. His new book comes to the same conclusion.

In A FIRST-RATE MADNESS: Uncovering the Links Between Leadershipand Mental Illness, Dr. Ghaemi argues that the very qualities associated with mood disorders have produced brilliant leadership under the toughest circumstances. He focuses on those leading during very turbulent periods and he identifies four key elements essential to crisis leadership: realism, empathycreativity, and resilience. All, he posits, can be directly enhanced by mental illness: empathy and realism by depression, creativity by mania, and resilience by both.
Dr. Ghaemi looks at the careers and personal plights of figures like Sherman, Lincoln, Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr,. What Ghaemi uncovers is that our great heroes were neither “normal” nor were they special in the sense of being better, or more perfect, than the rest of us. They often suffered from mental illness, but these afflictions actually proved beneficial by boosting the very traits they needed to excel as leaders during hard times. In the case of Lincoln and Winston Churchill, depressive realism and empathy helped these men tackle both personal and tremendous national challenges. For General Sherman and Ted Turner, mania proved a catalyst for the design and execution of some of their most creative and successful strategies. Depression built resilience in King and Gandhi.

Expanding on his thesis, Dr. Ghaemi also explains why exceedingly sane men like General George McClellan and Neville Chamberlain failed to rise to the challenges of their times. Though many considered these men were excellent peacetime leaders, during crises – when empathy, creativity, realism and resilience are called for – their mental health proved a severe liability. A lifetime without the cyclical troubles of mood disorders, Ghaemi explains, can leave one ill equipped to endure dire straits. He also clarifies which kinds of insanity – like psychosis – make for despotism and ineptitude, sometimes on a grand scale.

Similar to my own work with Bipolar Advantage, Dr. Ghaemi encourages us to rethink our view of mental illness as a purely negative phenomenon.Those of us who have done the work to change our bipolar condition from disorder to IN order can be tremendous assets to society instead of burdens. We may also hold the key for turning this mess around. As Dr. Ghaemi concludes, “We should not be seeking leaders who are like us – our leaders should be different from the norm and posses the qualities that come naturally to those persons with mental illnesses.”

*Once again, I’m not endorsing or promoting any person or product. Just providing information for your pleasure. What do you think about this commentator’s opinion? Tell us below in the comments!


Sorting through my feelings

I’m a bit down tonight, and haven’t quite figured out why. Things at home are going well, the kids are healthy, the husband is healthy, and I’m stable. My blog and facebook page are exceeding my wildest dreams for interest and participation from people. And maybe that’s what is tripping me up. I am terrified of failure, it’s why I so rarely step out of my comfort zone and try new things…but I’m petrified of success as well, and if I manage to create a successful blog, then wow!, that would mean I can do things and be successful, and trying to believe that would be a huge paradigm shift for me.

How do I overcome these feelings of inadequacy? It’s something I’m working on in therapy, but right now it’s got me tripped up. I’m looking at my blog and thinking to myself, “This doesn’t matter in the least to anyone, I’m not helping change the world view with my little blog.” Hell, I’m not even on the radar for changing the world view and helping decrease the stigma of bipolar disorder. But, and this is what my therapist keeps challenging me with…what if I’m wrong? What if there are actually people reading this and coming away feeling more hope, more power, or more edified? If you are one of those people, please…at least acknowledge it somewhere on my blog, lol. Rate a reaction, leave a comment, even become a subscriber because if I’ve impacted you, I’d love to know it.

Speaking of people who impact our lives, I think what’s got me down today is one of my best friends lost her daughter earlier this week. I’m just devastated over the pain my friend is going through and the fact that I can’t take it away. And she’s so intricately tied to my advocacy role for mental illness, because this is the friend that pushed and finally convinced me that what I had to say WAS important, and that my story could help somebody, somewhere. She said I had the power in me to not only write a great book, but to become a public speaker for the mentally ill, that I could proudly be a face for bipolar disorder. She inspired me so much that I started going to the NAMI groups, joined the NAMI board in my county, and I started taking classes to become a certified NAMI instructor.

She did so much for me in just that year’s time (we’re both so busy, we only manage to get together a couple times a year), and now when she needs help the most, I cant give it to her. I hate feeling so impotent and weak when there should be *something* I can do. I feel trapped and helpless watching her go through this loss.

If you’ve stuck around to this point and are of a prayerful sort, send out a prayer to my dear friend Tomi, that she may be comforted during this time of trial in her life, and I think you’ll be blessed for it.

I know this is my most rambling post yet, but I had some emotions I needed to sort through, and I want to share what I go through with the world so you too can see what the inner working of a bipolar patient’s mind looks like at times. Hopefully you weren’t bored to tears by this post, and hopefully I’ll be over this writer’s block soon and can start adding interesting posts again soon!