Bipolar Poetry: Lord Byron and the “Awful Chaos”

Taken from Key Redfield Jamison’s book, Touched by Fire.  Written by Lord Byron, who with the retrospective diagnosis of bipolar disorder, wrote about the awful chaos of what is presumably mania and depression.

This should have been a noble creature: he

Hath all the energy which would have made

A goodly frame of glorious elements,

Had they been wisely mingled; as it is,

It is an awful chaos, light and darkness

And mind and dust, and passions and pure thoughts,

Mix’d, and contending without end or order,

All dormant or destructive.

If you haven’t read anything by Jamison, I recommend her autobiography, Unquiet Mind, and Touched by Fire, which covers the propensity for individuals with bipolar disorder to have artistic talent.

Also, read a little about Lord Byron. He had a pet bear he used to take to Oxford because they only had a rule against dogs.

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I’m a budding Marriage and Family Therapist. I’m finishing my degree in counseling after blundering halfway through law school. I work with kids and teenagers, some of which are troubled, and most of which are lost. Each and every single one of them reminds me of a piece or part of my childhood. The job can be heart wrenching, but most of the time, it reminds of the beauty in this world. I’m a husband and a father. I’m married to a lovely woman. She’s a great lady; smart and kind. I have two young kids--crazy, adorable, and ridiculously hilarious boys. I also enjoy putting pen to paper once in awhile.

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