A Flood of Ideas

Last night the idea flood-gate broke and I found myself jumping out of bed periodically in an attempt to catch each idea, put it in a jar, and label it for later.

I don’t know if I believe that bipolar disorder makes me more creative, because it feels more like someone is constantly spinning a big old Wheel of Fortune wheel in my body and the mood Pat Sajak lands on is the one I will experience until the wheel is spun again. Some of those pieces that get landed on make for a better environment for creativity than others, so I don’t know if these ideas are produced all at once, like if those juices have been stored up, unused, and then suddenly spring into action, or if there is a log-jam of awesome ideas that only spill out at certain times.

I like to imagine, though, that if it were medieval times that these floods of ideas (which of course, I would not be able to keep to myself) would either make me a very important person, or I’d be burned as a witch. 21st century corporate America is, unfortunately, no time for a wizard with a lot of ideas to be living in. Unless that wizard has the backing of several other rich wizards or a king of some kind.

I want to know where this key mood (assuming there is a mood that is a platform for this activity) begins and ends. Is it elevated? Do I find it when I am coming back up from depression? When I’m coming back down from being elevated? Is it somewhere near the area of being stable? At what point exactly does this dam break?

Is this perfect space a zone? Or is it more like a tendril? Is it erratic or does it always occur in a certain pathway?

I’d liken it to a combination lock, the dials have to be set just right for it to occur.

I suppose I don’t have a big story or message today, just a flood of ideas. Racing-thought’s good looking, more brilliant cousin.

And 20 minutes before I have to run out the door to catch a bus to see my doctor. I have a lot of heavy things weighing on my mind lately, and I know they are things I will return to soon. In the mean time, though, I’ll just leave you with this brief pondering.

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11 responses to “A Flood of Ideas

  1. SchizoTomasz

    I’ve had these bursts many times. They usually come after a period of stress or little sleep for me. An exciting day meeting new people or making great progress on something can trigger it. Or if I anticipate the next day to have those things I get this good feeling. It seems like some sort of mania. I feel full of energy even though I should be exhausted. The notebook I keep beside my bed gets filled up with ideas for whatever project I’m working on or I churn out a few thousands words on my laptop after that sleepless night. The main drawback is that I miss sleep and that affects me the next day.

    • Sarah @ bi[polar] curious

      I don’t know that I feel energized in my body, but I definitely feel awake and energetic in my brain. It definitely can effect my sleep as well…

      I like the idea of what you said here about positive experiences triggering this sort of behavior, that is really interesting. Thanks for your input!

  2. struggling with bipolar

    I often have bursts like this when I’m hypomanic or manic. Sometimes, I have more ideas when I return to my equilibrium after a period of depression and I find that sometimes my ideas are just normal but seem odd after my mind being slowed.

    • Sarah @ bi[polar] curious

      You know, I was thinking about this phenomenon happening during a return to normalcy from depression, but I really like your explanation (of just not being used to ideas at that point) about why these ideas are overwhelming. Good theory!

      • struggling with bipolar

        Thanks! I hope that’s what’s going on for you. It’s nice to see stability, even if it’s only short-lived.

  3. Good questions, but I don’t really know. I never paid enough attention to the surroundings. Maybe with the tracking, I’ll get a better idea. Those bursts can be exhausting sometimes!

    • Sarah @ bi[polar] curious

      Absolutely! And I don’t know if my brain is exhausted from thinking too much or my body is exhausted from not sleeping because I was thinking too much! Or both! Haha, thanks!

  4. I’m with you in the notion that these thoughts don’t appear all of a sudden one day. I also think they are there all the time. After all, I know for a fact I still have vivid dreams every single night regardless of what “state” I am in, and I think that creativity and eureka moments arise from the same place that dreams are made.
    I just think that, when I am depressed, I am consumed by the dullness, and I am not in the mood to act upon or recognise new thoughts; and when I am in an upswing, my mind is too busy and scatterbrained to pay attention to anything for more than a few milliseconds.
    That said, I also don’t think, certainly in my case, that these types of thoughts take centre stage when I am “normal,” because I know that “normal” offers a very short window of opportunity, and I have to get the “normal” things done in my life. So, even then, creativity and billion dollar ideas have to remain on the back burner.
    For me, I think the “flood” occurs when I am a little above normal on the manic side – when I am not so concerned with day to day “normal” duties. When I have increased energy, but I am oblivious to my daily duties; disinterested in my life as it stands, and I want something more. This is usually the time I feel liberated and refreshed, and the creative thoughts are most appealing and viable. And this is when they tend to come tumbling out.
    Just my tuppence worth …

    • Sarah @ bi[polar] curious

      Very interesting Alice! Thanks for your comment, this is definitely a theory I can get behind.

      I have been experimenting lately with pinpointing what specific things happen on which parts of my mood-scale, and the hypomania I experience when this flood of ideas occurs is usually only about a .5 out of 5 (5 being completely manic). There aren’t a whole lot of other hypomanic symptoms present, but enough to be distracting (in a good way) as you described.

      Great observations/thoughts, thanks again for sharing!

  5. you mentioned you had some heavy stuff on your mind. these flights of ideas and creativity surges come at lightening speed when I am stressed about stuff (even if I am not consciously aware that I am stressed.) For the last two weeks, I have been what I though was hypomanic but after talking with doc, we concluded it was anxiety. For me, anxiety presents as 4 or more project/creative ideas vying for attention in my mind, but my body is too exhausted to excute any of them. My focus and concentration are crap so I just end up excessively cleaning or repainting the walls in my house – something that doesn’t take any creative thought but that keeps me distracted from whatever I am anxious about. When I am hypomanic however, I am very creative in my writing, canvas paintings, photography, etc. and my body needs less sleep and I am filled with exhilerating physical energy.

    • Sarah @ bi[polar] curious

      I can definitely identify with distracting tasks, that helps me with anxiety too. For me, though, my anxiety usually takes the form of intense sort of OCD symptoms where my thoughts keep coming back to the same point over and over again. It isn’t terrible feeling unless I am also hypomanic or in a mixed state, because then the thoughts are both racing and circular. It makes me feel like my brain is going to explode.

      Also, I’ve been stressed the point lately that my body has had trouble functioning, and usually when that happens everything locks up and I have trouble thinking at all. The creative portions I’ve had the last few days have been happening when this stress has been letting up, almost like water evaporating and finding pearls at the bottom!

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