Representation Of Bipolar Disorder In Music, Art And Researches

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 4. 5 percent of American adults have bipolar disorder. Bipolar Disorder is a neurological disorder that involves the person having distinct changes between being manic and depressive at least every two weeks. Due to it being very common, many centuries of research has been done on it, even though less than 40 percent of diagnosed people receive “minimally adequate treatment” (NIMA). Bipolar disorder has been talked about many times through songs, research studies throughout time, and art. “About to Crash” and “About to Crash (Reprise)” are two songs by Dream Theater about a girl dealing with Bipolar Disorder.

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The song “About to Crash” details the young girl’s manic episodes, which is a state that is, “marked by an abnormal degree of elation or irritability along with a number of other symptoms, including restlessness, inflated self-confidence, a marked decrease in the need for sleep, rapid and loud speech that is difficult to interrupt, racing thoughts, high distractibility, and a marked increase in certain goal-directed activities such as work or socializing” It details it in the first stanza, stating, “She can’t stop pacing, she never felt so alive, her thoughts are racing, set on overdrive. ” Stanzas five and six signal her depressive state, which the person feels extreme melancholy, and other symptoms like, “loss of interest or enjoyment in most activities; feelings of guilt or worthlessness; insomnia or hypersomnia (sleeping excessively); a noticeable decrease or increase in appetite; fatigue and lack of energy; a marked speeding up or slowing down of physical movement; difficulty in concentrating or decision-making; and a preoccupation with thoughts of death or suicide, and possible suicide attempts. ” (Encyclopædia Britannica 1) Dream Theater details this state by saying, “The perfect girl had lost her mind” and later adding, “Once barely taking a break, now she sleeps the days away, she helplessly stands by, it’s meaningless to try, and all she wants to do is cry. ” In “About to Crash (Reprise)”, it adds the narrative of “About to Crash”. For example, it details the girl after her depressive state in the first stanza, “I’m alive again, darkness far behind me, I’m invincible, despair will never find me. ” The song suddenly shifts in the third stanza to her depressive state, “Still talks to just get by, seems so meaningless to try, when all I want to do is cry. ” In these two songs, Dream theater describes bipolar disorder very well, which many can not do.

Throughout many centuries, people have researched bipolar disorder numerous times, starting at the beginning of the Common Era. Aretaeus of Cappadocia, who lived around 1st-century C. E, made many discoveries and notes of people having manic and depressive states. These, unfortunately, were not really noticed for many centuries. This may have have been due to the fact that people were executed for having disorders because of the population thinking that the devil possessed them. In the 19th century, Theophilus Bonet published a work called Sepuchretum. He said how he conjoined “manico (mania)” and “melas (melancholy)” into one word called “Manico-melancollicus” Being Manic and depressed used to be considered two separate disorders, which was why this was a big step towards diagnosing bipolar disorder. Many doctors in the mid to late 1800’s and 1900’s were starting to study mental illness more, with Jean-Pierre Falret first diagnosing bipolar disorder in 1854. In the present time, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) have done extensive research on bipolar disorder, and many other disorders as well. In 1980, the APA officially coined the term “Bipolar disorder” in their third revision of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

The word “bipolar” means having two extremities, which fit well with the characteristics of the disorder. Organizations and groups are still researching bipolar disorder to this day, even though people have been noting it since the beginning of C. E. Pablo Picasso once said, “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls. ” (BrainyQuote). Many artists who have bipolar disorder like to let it out on their canvases in the form of art. One of them is David Feingold, who said, “My artwork began as personal, self-therapy, to help process my accidental coming out of having bipolar disorder during a manic phase. ” He made an artwork titled, “Love Comes in Many Colors” It shows to headshots of the same girl half blended together. One side is blue and muted which shows the girl’s depressive side, while the other side is colorful and warm to show her manic state. David also has made art about how his friends and family fear him because he has bipolar disorder.

One of his works, titled You See Me As An Alien, which is an abstract and eerie illustration of some sort of creature, reflects this. He also brings attention to the inner struggle of having a mental illness with his painting Glaring Through Bipolar Eyes, which has a man who is sad, but covered up with bright colors. David’s overarching purpose for his art is, “To bring attention to the inner struggle of having a mental illness… I am particularly interested in breaking the stigma of mental illness and bringing attention of the inner struggles and challenges of those with disabilities to public awareness. ” To conclude, Bipolar disorder is a serious issue, which is why people have incorporated it into songs, art, and many different research studies. One thing you could do is talk to other people about it, and if they say something untrue, correct them. You could also celebrate it on World Bipolar Day on March 30, or you could help a friend who has bipolar disorder. They will need all the help they can get since 15 percent of people commit suicide and 80 percent think about it. (Everyday Health).

18 May 2020

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