I will admit from the beginning that I am not a trained Mental Therapist, Psychologist, Social Worker, etc. However, I am a philosopher by interest. Therefore, I felt that maybe I should share my views on using your mental disorders if you are so gifted with them.
Some of you who are affected with them may recoil in horror at what I am suggesting. Others, well, others will agree and may even try to do what I'm suggesting. First, I'd like to start off with three key points.
1. Homo Sapiens have been dealing with mental disorders since we climbed down out of the trees. Our society has seen fit to create different professions to deal with these disorders because those afflicted are seen as abnormal and society's main function has always been to establish and keep the norm. Mental disorders have been seen as evil spirits trapped in your body, dysfunctions caused by sexual repression, to our current understanding of them as diseases. Now, we're beginning to view them as faulty genes.
2. Drugs, such as prozac, ritalin, paxel, zoloft, etc. only medicate and repress the mental disorder. They DO NOT CURE it. This is a fact. In some cases, they may help the patient permanantly supress the disorder, but it will still be there, waiting in the recesses of the mind.
3. The only person who can really ever learn to cope with a mental disorder is the person who has it. The therapist can't. The 12 Step Program can't. Only the patient can.
I myself am borderline schizophrenic (delusional/megalomanic). If I was ever to be diagnosed, I would be kicked out of the Army. Well, since I can't seek professional help, I've decided to cope with my disorder on my own. I have such great dreams that border on insanity. I sometimes feel like the master of reality. But I know that these periods of delusion will pass. So, I've learned to use my imagination, coupled with my affliction, and put it to good work. I'm writing three books at once just by drawing on my delusions and adding a spark of imagination to them.
You see, you can use your mental disorders or you can let them use you. If you are manic depressive, take some time to analyze the roots of you depression. Then, use that knowledge to fight your depression; it's like watching a forest fire begin to learn what not to do to start one again. Go through your depression and conquer it. Then, use that little pit of darkness to good purpose. Write a depressing play, story, poem, etc. Express it and draw on that to fuel your work.
What I'm basically saying is, you can use disorders to good purpose. My friend has ADD and is unable to concentrate on just one thing. But, he has four computer systems hooked up in his room and can work on all four computers at once, writing code in four programming languages. It's almost beautiful to see someone do that. It's up to the person, though, to figure out how they can use their mental disorder. And, be warned, it is not for everyone.