I recently read an outstanding book that made the case FOR mental illness, rather than AGAINST it. Nassir Ghaemi, director of the Mood Disorders Programme at Tufts Medical Center, wrote, A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness.
Gandhi, President Kennedy, Winston Churchill, and Martin Luther King Jr., were examined from Ghaemi’s point of view. He made an excellent case that the mood orders of these leaders actually benefited them–becoming the best leaders the world has ever known in times of crisis.
Isn’t that phenomenal? Think about it. How many times have you felt ashamed of your mind? Ashamed of your thoughts, actions and sensitivity? If you are like me, I bet you would say, “every day.” In Phoenix Rising I wrote about the struggles I have with my mind.
What do we do about it? We attend therapy. We take medication. We hide.
I would like to propose a new way of thinking. After reading this book, I believe we should celebrate our minds. Cracked, bruised, and maybe crazy–I believe our mood disorders make us shine brilliantly–like a diamond.
MY THOUGHTS ON FOUR MOOD DISORDERS AND THEIR POTENTIAL POSITIVE ATTRIBUTES:
Depressed (That’s me): Are in touch with the human experience, and empathetic. Being able to put ourselves in the shoes of another is a beautiful thing. Compassionate and thoughtful, depressives at their best can also make a habit of evaluating themselves. No denial allowed; depressives are realistic. Known to be ace problem solvers, depressives are also trustworthy.
Bipolar (Mild): Thinking out of the box is second nature for the bipolar individual. Creative in song, art, performance, and prose–bipolar tendencies are responsible for much of what we find breathtakingly beautiful in the world.
Anxiety: Observant, attentive and sensitive. Having an anxiety disorder is a shared trait amongst surgeons and bankers. Anxiety makes it’s host alert and vigilant. Not a bad thing, if you look at it like this.
Obsessive Compulsive Personality: (That’s me as well): Get it done, the right way. Conscientious perfectionists, some people with OCP make great leaders in business. Creating order out of chaos is one discerning trait.
I am certainly not suggesting that we thumb our noses to therapy and dump our meds in the trash. I am not suggesting that mental illness is a joke or something that should be taken lightly.
On the contrary, I am suggesting that instead of looking at our glass as half full (like we tend to do) and chalk ourselves off as fuckups–we have an opportunity to celebrate the positive side of our gifts. Even when some might have the audacity to call us crazy let’s remember what we really are. Brilliant, rare, coveted and valuable; Crazy diamonds, that’s us!
Julie Anderson is a fashion survivor, sort of. After spending decades globetrotting wearing her “Supermodel” cape, she is now the Creator and Publisher of Feminine Collective.
Feminine Collective provides a platform for stories that mainstream media often denies. . Writers from around the world: women, teenagers and a few good men have contributed to the site, making it dynamic and diversified. Unlike any other site online.
She collaborates with her dynamic business partner Marla J. Carlton, in a seamless manner. The two women have recently published: Feminine Collective: Raw & Unfiltered Volume 1: Selected Essays and Poems on Relationships with Self and Others. They have also launched the Feminine Collective Foundation, serving at risk women and children.
An entrepreneur, publisher, writer, actress, fashion model and photographer, Julie has a creative vision that has yet to be satiated.
Her personal site: julieandersonofficial.com is the only authorized place on the web that showcases her career, past, present & future.