Bipolar Creativity through the Ages

by Marlies ter Borg available from amazon books Vincent van Gogh is a bipolar icon. High starry nights and low sorrow are depicted on the front cover. In the back cover his therapist Dr. Gachet. Inside the book we listen to the conversation between Vincent and brother Theo, they both suffered tragically from melancholy. This term is traced to the Greek philosopher Aristotle, who linked bipolar melancholy to exceptional creativity. His surprising views on symptoms and medication are elaborated. He lists outstanding melancholics/bipolars, including Ajax. Here the hero is preparing to commit suicide. The same fate befell Virginia Woolf, pictured on the back cover in a new bipolar portrait by Christiaan Tonnis. The book traces bipolar poetry through the ages. We hear poets expressing their swing from depression to (hypo) mania. We listen to David and Solomon, Seneca and Dante, Goethe, Emily Dickinson, Baudelaire, Pushkin and Sylvia Plath. And of course Virginia Woof. This is comparative literature with a difference. Well known verses obtain a new and moving meaning. Placed in an original way according to the phase of the mood swing these verses from three millennia give and empathetic look into the bipolar soul - very recognizable for who, like the author have been there. This well documented and accessible book gives new insights into bipolar creativity through the ages. Aristotle's view on the creativity of bipolar melancholics is well known. Less familiar are the lists of characteristics of low/cold and high/warm melancholy. Not known is the philosopher's plea for medication, and therapeutic training to avoid extremes. Unknown is list of famous bipolars provided by van Gogh's doctor, which includes Rembrandt, Jesus and Mohammed. A list Theo and Vincent made fun of, whilst they too were fated to be famous bipolars. The author is a Dutch bipolar philosopher marliesterborg@gmail.com

Vincent and Theo van Gogh

Left by Zadkine in Zundert shows the brothers supporting each other in difficulties. Right Frans van der Ven shows the inspiration of Vincent and how Theo supported him in his creative proces. These are the only two statues of the two brothers. They express the opposing moods, dark and light, that both played a role in their turbulent lives, and in their wonderful art. marliesterborg@gmail.com ....

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Aristotle and DSM on Bipolar Melancholy

left Ajax preparing for suicide. Above Hercules murdering his family.Both melancholics according to Aristotle View of Aristotle and DSM on 'Bipolar' Melancholy: Symptoms, Medication, Link to Creativity. https://esmed.org/MRA/mra/article/view/2441/193545842 Medical Research Archives May 2021 volume 9 issue 5. Abstract That Aristotle connected excellence, creativity to (bipolar) melancholy is known. This article adds depth and detail by distilling from his work characteristics ofhot and cold melancholy, placing them in pairs of opposites, and comparing them with the diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder in DSM. The Greek warned against extreme mood. He named two examples of mythical persons who suffered the tragic consequences; Ajax' suicide and Hercules' manic destruction of his wife and children. More recent examples are Vincent van Gogh, who committed suicide and his brother Theo who attacked his wife and child, was interned and finally succumbed from the consequences of extreme mania. Aristotle urged melancholics to temper their mood. For it was only from mild melancholy that sustained creativity could be expected. He advocated hellebore as medicine. His general ethical advice to strive towards the opposite extreme is especially relevant for melancholics. Aristotle's work on excellence and bipolar melancholy can inspire those confronted with bipolar disorder today to temper their mood. The examples of famous melancholics throughout the ages bring comfort and a sense of belonging. The author, who is stabilized on lithium, holds up the example of the van Gogh family who, lacking the effective the medicine available today, communicated openly with each other about their disorder. With the new 20thcentury medication, perfected in our own time, it is from increased openness that the major advances in mental health are now to be expected. Keywords: Bipolar melancholy, Aristotle, medication, Vincent van Gogh, Theo van Gogh, creativity ....

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