Having bipolar disorder can seem like a blessing and a curse. It can play havoc on your moods, energy, and relationships but it also provides tons of creative energy. In my case, I direct that energy into writing. And, increasingly, I find myself expanding into expressing my creativity through drawing and artwork.
I’m the author of 24 books. The writing process involves both left and right brain tasks. This is convenient since depression puts me in a logical, left-brained state of mind for long periods and mania puts me in an energetic, creative, right-brained state of mind for long periods.
The creative right brain comes up with ideas—too many for me to ever complete. It generates the major concepts, figures out how they relate, and gets the first draft on paper in short order.
The logical left brain is the inner editor, constantly critiquing and evaluating so when I am depressed switch to editing tasks and let my left brain do what it does best. I do have to keep a rein on it or my left brain can tell me it’s all trash and try to convince me to throw it all away. However, I try to tell my left brain that even if the first draft was trash, the left brain is smart enough to make it treasure. A little flattery goes a long way in coaxing the best out of a grumpy editor like Mr. Lefty (as I call him).
Some projects, like the Crossword Bible Studies, are naturally left-brain tasks. When I find myself overwhelmed with depression, I find ways to produce something that is suited to my state of mind.
I think of my mind as a pendulum swinging back and forth between the left and right sides of my brain. Sometimes it is stuck on one side or the other, but I work with the positives of each side as best as I can. And sometimes I can coax the best out of both of them.