A couple of masturbations ago, I wrote about how creative people are highly prone to mental breakdown - Creative people & Mental breakdown
I mentioned briefly about Elizabeth Gilbert’s pep-talk on how creative people should deal with stress, and also asked whether bipolar disorder causes an increase in creativity or whether those who have exceptional levels of creativity are prone to developing bipolar disorder.
(And if my opening line “A couple of masturbations ago” is still lingering at the back of your head and bothering you, relax. It’s just a test to see if you are able to concentrate on a topic or not - something that many people suffering from manic depression are unable to do so.)
I came across this site “All about Life” while I was researching on this topic. What is downright scary is that I have all the symptoms for Manic Depression listed on that site!
But then again, just like horoscopes where every predictions apply to just about anybody regardless of whether the person belongs to a particular sun sign or not, such medical symptoms too apply to many people who DO NOT suffer from that particular disease.
Given below are the symptoms of Manic depression:
1. Increased energy, activity, and restlessness
YES. I am usually in an extremely restless mode. This has been much more prominent ever since I joined this industry. When I spend the weekends at my friends’ places, they all tell me the same thing, that I am highly hyperactive throughout the day & night, and warn me that it will be tough for me to find a life partner because she will find it difficult keeping up with all the things that I do!
2. Excessively ‘high,’ overly good, euphoric mood
YES. Our former Branch Head officially announced that “I was high on Life”! As soon as I wake up early in the morning, I can listen to my favorite Heavy Metal song and head-bang all the way to work. Put me in the center of a party and I will create the loudest noise. “Do you ever get tired?” is the question I hear the most.
3. Distractibility, can’t concentrate well
YES. Especially if there is a you-know-who wearing a you-wish-none inside my head. Apart from that, I have the habit of zoning out completely while I am in the middle of something else. There I was suddenly watching the ants crawling on the wall and mindlessly staring at them and wondering who the leader among those ants was and if they had individual names, mesmerized by the rhythm and pattern of their tiny feet movement which were almost hypnotic and taking me through a psychedelic trance, when suddenly the missus screamed out, “Are you done yet?”
4. Racing thoughts and talking very fast
YES. YES. YES. Many times I end up blabbering because my tongue cannot keep up with the words that flood my head. Sometimes I skip total sentences on the phone, so while it makes perfect sense to me, the other person on the line is completely lost! (To my dear friend somewhere out there: When I said “I wonder what you’re wearing in the middle of the night”, I actually meant to say “I wonder what the church has to say about the fact that you’re practicing voodoo while wearing those weird cult dresses in the middle of the night”.)
5. Jumping from one idea to another
YES. And in my line of work, this is a necessity sometimes. Open your mind and think out of the box. Build up one idea from the other until you create a giant idea - A killer concept.
6. Little sleep needed
YES!!! People are often shocked when they find out I sleep just 4-5 hours a day, and sometimes even less. I always thought it was a habit, after all I used to be a sportsperson back in school & college and sleep was a luxury I couldn’t afford because I wanted to perform well in academics while taking part in tournaments at the same time.
7. Increased sexual drive
Sexual drive? YES! After all, I am only human just like everybody else (including my neighbor’s dog that just won’t stop humping the poor telephone pole). Increased sexual drive? Hmmm… that’s difficult to say. As the saying goes, “It takes two to tango and conclude if the other person’s sexual drive has increased or not.” Ok I just made the last part up, but you catch my drift right?
8. Spending sprees
YES oh YES! One of my many weaknesses, because… confession time: I love shopping! I may be one of the very few guys who love to shop, although I shop like how typical guys shop “Look – Love – Buy - Leave”. I hate bargaining or looking around for better items, but nevertheless I always hit the mall twice or thrice a week.
9. Poor judgment
YES. I’ve always judged my relationships to be true and ever-lasting, and that I’ve finally met THE ONE. But in the end I’m always proven wrong, usually with a broken heart or a broken arm, or both.
10. Unrealistic beliefs in one’s abilities and powers
YES. I’ve always dreamt of flying and saving damsels in distress by the hundreds, even today, like a modern day Superman (not so much the cross-dressing part though). Back when I was a child, I used to fantasize about being either Flash Gordon or Conan the Barbarian. Loved those two characters and I still do even today! I’d give anything to be in their shoes (or Conan’s huge furry & smelly boots for that matter).
11. Extreme irritability
YES. And I kinda blame the Industry I’m in for this. There is nothing more irritating than coming up with a brilliant pitch/campaign and everybody loves it including your harshest critics and even the people you know from competing advertising agencies love it and you are damn sure this will definitely sell so you slog your ass off day in and night out to make it absolutely perfect… BUT in the end, dear client simply cannot see the logic behind it and rejects the proposal. Aaaaarghhh!
12. Provocative, intrusive, or aggressive behavior
YES …sometimes. I can control my temper now, pretty well. Back in college, I held the dubious distinction of being ejected from a basketball match the most number of times. Seldom was a match played where I was inside till the very last second! But then, those were the days I could dunk, and just like how I cannot even jump 1 feet above the ground now, my anger is nowhere to be seen today.
13. Abuse of drugs, particularly cocaine, alcohol, and sleeping medications
YES. And I need not elaborate on this.
14. Denial that anything is wrong
YES, so says my mother, every time she wants to win an argument
Now wait a minute… yeah even all my ex’es used to say the same thing!
“Something is wrong with our relationship!”
“No darling, nothing is wrong.”
One week later…
“Kim, I am going to Darjeeling for the weekend with… John.”
“Sure honey, there is nothing wrong in that. Enjoy.”
One month later…
“Kima, I’m pregnant. With John’s child.”
“That’s lovely, sweetheart. See, there is nothing wrong with our relationship!”
15. Lasting period of behavior that is different from usual
YES. Like how my closest friends say about me, I am definitely not predictable. In fact one of my ex-girlfriends told me I was boring because my unpredictability is so predictable! (Women - who will ever understand them?) I get bored easily with anything that I do (which should not be mistaken for “I lose interest”) Hence I do other things, a lot of other things, and get back to the first thing only later. Like that I keep rotating things around me so as not to slip into insanity.
There you have it on paper. I’m manic depressive according to the website, although I’m sure many of you would have said YES to most of the points as well.
So, how about you?
If you are extremely stressed with work, do the above test and let me know how you fare. How many NOs and YESes do you have for the above 15 points? Would love to hear your elaboration too.