The blog of D Kai Wilson-Viola

Author, advocate, designer, mental health advocate and parent. 

Is your sleep costing you your creativity?

Is your sleep costing you your creativity?

I’m a parent. I know what it feels like to burn the midnight oil, at both ends and then crash and burn.
But recent studies suggest that without a regular sleep pattern, those of us with careers as writers could actually be damaging our writing ability.


Well, apparently, there’s a couple of studies kicking around out there that suggest that if you don’t get optimum sleep, you can’t create, or function at your best.  You over compensate through ’substance’ (caffine) abuse, and end up wrecking your creative ability, sometimes permanently.

I’m a four hour a night girl, or was, until my partner ‘trained’ me to sleep more.  At that point, I started to lose my edge.  I still wrote, but not as well – [email protected] now eight hours and always tired and barely writing.  But did I write more because I was wired, and it wasn’t as good, or is the smaller volume I’m writing now the best I can do?  For that matter, what’s your sleep/creativity quotient?

Explaining our manifesto

Explaining our manifesto

Bi-polarbears has a manifesto, that we use to guide our information sharing.  I’ve been asked recently how I created the manifesto, and what it means to people around me, and you, my readers.

The Manifesto

It’s very easy to look at the list of things we talk about and wonder what we mean, and easier still to misconstrue them (as some comments have highlighted ;) ) so I thought I’d explain what I mean.

Bi-polarbears aims to:

Offer support, and honest, open views on the current state of the global view on mental health.

(we share information that isn’t ‘controlled’ or ‘influenced’ by sponsorship and can be readily translated into slightly more understandable language where possible, and are not geographically limited to what we talk about)

We aim to encourage and empower people to understand that mental health is not a stigma, just another way of relating to people, and that variety is an integral part of being human.

(Not a stigma = there is no shame in the diagnosis we all have – and if you’re doing everything you can to support yourself, no shame in letting others know.  Variety is integral part of humanity = genetically speaking, we can’t all be perfect, and personally speaking, it’s not any-one’s fault ;) )

Offer the understanding and knowledge of when to get help

(A lot of the people I encounter expect to have to cope alone and don’t seek help when they need it – or worse, hide because they think accepting help is a form of weakness – on the flip-side, there are people out there that ‘use’ mental health as an excuse and self diagnose.  Neither is a great way to live, so we offer support for both)
Offer the experiences of others on and off of all forms of medication

Offer a venue of interactivity through essays and posts (blog) and an informal meeting place to discuss anything about mental health (forum)

(the forums are gone now and may never be back because we took so long looking after them that we couldn’t write articles – but we intend to share what we learn in accessible ways and hopefully promote discussion)

Above all though, we’re here for you.

(so, if there’s something you want me to write about or explain, let me know!)

Is your sleep costing you your creativity?

The five most alluring words in the English Language

I don’t remember exactly where I saw this, but the words, quickly, naturally, easily, instantly, and freely have an odd effect on people. They cause them to percieve your copy as both upbeat and ‘honest’ and therefore makes it easier to associate postively with them, which in turn COULD boost your sales message.
(from the random grammar nerd department)

Explaining our manifesto

Are bipolar disorder and schizophrenia genetically related?

Since starting to study psychology at University, I’ve discovered a couple of things about my personality, studies and how though lots of them appear to repeat the same things, over and over again, some do actually pull in information of interest.

I’m going to explain my research process in greater depth in another post, because it works for academic, personal and professional projects, but I have google alert emails daily that post information (news and blog posts mostly) that mention my keywords prominently.  In the ‘bipolar+disorder’ set, I found this link, and wanted to share the underlying idea with you.

The link was called ‘common causes of schizophrenia and Bipolar disorder’ and talks about a study that was undertaken in Sweden and has recently appeared in the Lancet.

What the study found

Though I’ve not seen this study myself (because I can’t access Aleph, the computer’s library from home), it says that there was a statistical link found between those with bipolar disorder and the incidence of schizophrenia, and vice versa.  Net result of the study of 2 million families was interesting, and probably not for the reasons listed in the report.

Of the 2 million studied families, 35,985 (1.7% – or just under 2 in 100) had schizophrenia and 40,487 (2.02%) had bipolar disorder as a confirmed diagnosis.  In total, they amount to less than 4% of the studied group, and yet, they found that there was a link of increased incidence between the two diseases if you have one in your family.

I know how convoluted these studies can be, first hand – and my tutors deliberately teach me to question the information in every study to ensure that it meets both scientific, ethical and common sense standards.  And the question now arises, having looked at the brief abstract, ‘is there an increased or correlatable percentage between the 96% and their chance of developing bipolar disorder?  What diseases make up the ’1 in 4′ percentage that is always so highly vaunted in medical fields, if bipolar and schizophrenia only make up 4% in these studied cases, and most importantly, is there a real world value to this information, other than a statistical link to two diseases that paralyze families?

I’ll let you know what I find out ;)