Many successful people throughout history have been labeled bipolar. For instance, Vincent Van Gogh, Emily Dickinson, Kurt Cobain, Ernest Hemingway and Mel Gibson, to name a few. Does Jesus Christ belong on this list as well? The truth is we’ll never know but we do have theories, so here’s mine:
If there were psychiatrists around when Jesus Christ was alive, he’d be diagnosed Bipolar I disorder with psychotic symptoms and put on heavy medication.
Given that psychology is such a young and underdeveloped area of study, it’s difficult to accept any findings as the truth. It is, however, obvious that there are many similarities between these successful artists, Jesus Christ and the rest of the bipolar population. I believe we are all the sons and daughters of whatever it is that created this universe. I refuse to follow a particular religion, but what I am sure of the fact that creativity is somehow linked in the notion of God. The link between creativity and bipolar disorder is widely accepted as fact. Maybe the truth behind Jesus’ stories are simply false delusions from his psychosis, but on the other hand, maybe Jesus’ stories are true from his psychosis.
Signature traits of hypomania and mania include:
(1) delusions of grandeur and
(2) religiosity, believing you’re the son of God and your mother is a virgin may fall under these categories.
(3) Hypersexuality, Mary Magdalene, a prostitute, is notorious for being one of Jesus’ most important disciples, perhaps he was initially drawn to her because of his extreme passionate and sexual traits.
(4) Pressured speech, which is pretty much a fancy term for talking your face off, might cause preaching to five thousand people and gathering apostles.
(5) Irritability and rage, which could explain why Jesus confronted the moneychangers, also known as the Cleansing of the Temple, causing a riot by over-turning tables and spilling money on the floor.
In many cases, Bipolar I disorder starts with a hypomanic episode, progressing to a manic episode and then landing off in a psychosis. A psychosis is when the person cannot differentiate between reality and their imagination. A manic psychosis may include auditory hallucinations, visual hallucinations and delusional beliefs.
The main delusions are:
(1) Ertomania, the belief that a person of high status is in love with them, in Jesus’ case it was God.
(2) Grandiosity, the belief that they are more powerful, have special abilities, attain unique knowledge or that they’re gifted. No man can enter Heaven but through me is a little grandeur in my view.
(3) Jealousy, the belief that someone is cheating them, like when Judas was believed to have betrayed Jesus.
(4) Persecutory, the belief that they are being persecuted, and sometimes even followed and watched, which I’m sure he was after making such a ruckus in public, and perhaps this belief led him to his death.
(5) Somatic, the belief that something is physically wrong.
Let’s get back to Mary Magdalene. According to the Gospels, she watched as Jesus was crucified (Mark 15:40) and later when in his tomb (15:47.) She kept vigil beside his tomb and when Jesus appeared she wasn’t able to recognize him. Since a vigil implies being up all night, sleep deprivation does cause hallucinations. A key trait of mania is also a decreased need for sleep.
Now let’s talk about the dark lows of bipolar disorder. His submission at the garden of Gethsemane really captivates the emotions of the lows: the longing to throw in the towel and get down on your knees, the disgust with desires and temptations, wanting only to bask in your sorrow. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.“ (Mark 14:32-42)
Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights in the wilderness. During depressive episodes, people tend to isolate themselves, their sleep patterns and appetite are disrupted and they’re haunted with dark visions. Sleep deprivation and not eating right can also cause hallucinations.
Since I have experienced the feelings of religiosity, the feeling that you have a spiritual purpose here on earth, I truly believe Jesus must have felt this way too. I think Bipolar Disorder coupled with an exceptional mind is the exact formula that made Jesus Christ such an exceptional historical figure.