Neuroscience, Psychology

A First Rate Madness

Some creative people have a hyperthymic temperament… It is not a disorder.

A First Rate Madness via “Everyone Needs Therapy

Hyperthymic temperament or hyperthymia (from the Ancient Greek θυμός for “spiritedness”) is characterized by a personality style or set of personality traits that, according to Wikipedia, include:

  • increased energy and productivity
  • short sleep patterns
  • vividness, activity extroversion
  • self-assurance, self-confidence
  • strong will
  • extreme talkativeness
  • tendency to repeat oneself
  • risk-taking/sensation seeking
  • breaking social norms
  • very strong libido
  • love of attention
  • low threshold for boredom
  • generosity and tendency to overspend
  • emotion sensitivity
  • cheerfulness and joviality
  • unusual warmth
  • expansiveness
  • tirelessness
  • irrepressible, infectious quality

Sometimes in this business you are called upon to treat a madman, or a madwoman, someone seemingly psychotic, talking way over your head, out there, but still oriented times three (person, place, time).   You sense genius. You feel that this person is smarter than you are, or at least as smart.

You recognize, right away, undeniable talent and intellect. He is a song-writer, a one-hit wonder. She is an artist. He is a poet; she directs a television show. He is a computer programmer; she is a doctor. And you’re humble. You go home and think, why in the world see me?
But you know why.  The patient needs your particular genius, because his madness is getting in the way. Others are complaining, complaining so loudly, you can hear them and they’re not in the room, not even in the building.  You suspect mental illness.

And it usually is.  But Nassir Ghaemi, author of A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness, is of the opinion that it isn’t always so bad.  Indeed, some creative people have a hyperthymic temperament.  They rarely need therapy, not unless no one else will listen to them It is not a disorder.

— therapydoc is at gmaildotcom
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