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Bipolar and Related Disorders Discussion Responses

Bipolar and Related Disorders Discussion Responses

Responding to Whitney

Hello Whitney,

This is a great post. I hold a similar view on what Josh Walters, in his TED Talk, is trying to say. From a similar observation, regardless of the social take on the “normal” and “abnormal” behaviours and their relationships in determining mental wellness, we all have a mental issue. The difference, as Josh puts it, is the degree it affects our functioning. Our mental status is what gives us an edge to use to be competitive, creative, or interpret our reality. As per the views presented by Josh Walters, regardless of a diagnosis of a mental illness, each mental status has its own uniqueness and presents the individual with unique abilities that other people do not have. Having a mental health issue means having a state of social functioning. Having an awareness of the mental issue is the first step towards the management of associated emotions and feelings and adapting to becoming socially functional (Eslinger et al., 2021). As per his own experience, his diagnosed bipolar mental health status with frequent manic episodes was an empowering experience. It helps him be a better performer.


Eslinger, P. J., Anders, S., Ballarini, T., Boutros, S., Krach, S., Mayer, A. V., Moll, J., Newton, T. L., Schroeter, M. L., de Oliveira-Souza, R., Raber, J., Sullivan, G. B., Swain, J. E., Lowe, L., & Zahn, R. (2021). The neuroscience of social feelings: mechanisms of adaptive social functioning. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 128, 592–620.

Responding to Fuller

Hello Fuller,

This is an interesting post. Indeed, the last part of Joshua Walters’ presentation, “Maybe mental illness doesn’t mean you’re crazy but more sensitive to what most people can’t see or feel,” was the most iconic part of his TED Talk. It is obviously clear that Joshua attempts to challenge the long-held social perceptions of mental health problems. As per the views he presents, mental illness, as per society’s perspectives, is either an individual falling within the “normal” or “abnormal” state of mind. Mental health outcomes can be viewed as a spectrum based on multiple underlying factors (Mullins & White, 2019). You may not agree or connect with Joshua Walters’ statement that “maybe everyone is just a little bit mad.” However, come to think of it, irrespective of the textbook definition of mental health issues such as bipolar, you can see around you that everyone has a unique mental health status. Understanding his views requires one to go beyond the normal and abnormal notions in view of today’s society.


Mullins, J. T., & White, C. (2019). Temperature and mental health: Evidence from the spectrum of mental health outcomes. Journal of Health Economics, 68, 102240.


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Bipolar and Related Disorders Discussion Responses

Bipolar and Related Disorders Discussion Responses

Discussion 1


Josh Walters’ final statement in his TED talk stated, “So maybe, there’s no such thing as crazy, and being diagnosed with a mental illness doesn’t mean you’re crazy.” He went on to explain that perhaps being diagnosed with a mental illness means you are more sensitive and perceptive to what others can’t see or feel, and maybe everyone is “just a little bit mad.”

I think what Josh Walters is getting at is that we tend to view people in boxes labeled “normal” and “abnormal” when, in reality, we might all exist on one big, continuous spectrum where nothing is “normal.” Instead, we are all different and have different skill sets. Walters describes some of these skill sets as giving people an “edge” towards creativity or competition and suggests that artists like Mozart, Beethoven, and Van Gogh all experienced this.

Walters’ presentation evoked empathy in me. It felt as though he was trying to give us a window into what his world is like and to get us to understand that because society has a stigma with mental health, people immediately want to label people with diagnoses as “crazy” and put them on drugs to eliminate any behaviours that make others uncomfortable. Walters explained that he felt like part of his high school experience was one big nap because he was so tired and out of it from his prescribed medication. The high school years can be a time for connection and learning about oneself, but for him, he spent it in a daze.

Because I have had a lot of close, personal experiences with people diagnosed with mental illnesses, I did not feel like it altered the perceptions that I already had. I am grateful for his perspective and ability to embrace his “mental illness” as opposed to trying to deny his mental illness. I thought that was a beautiful way to reframe his experience into one that benefitted him and that he could capitalize on.


Walters, J. (2011). On being just crazy enough. Joshua Walters: On being just crazy enough | TED Talk.

Discussion 2


I enjoyed the TED talks we watched this week. Two very different perspectives were presented with how people with mental illness choose to cope with their diagnosis.  Looking at Joshua Walters’s last three sentences, he has an interesting take on his diagnosis of bipolar disorder. He states that maybe  “mental illness doesn’t mean you’re crazy but more sensitive to what most people can’t see or feel”. Watching the TED talk right before this one, I don’t believe Elyn Saks would agree with his statement. She did not discuss her diagnosis of schizophrenia in a way that would make someone believe her diagnosis was a blessing or that she was more sensitive to what other people couldn’t see or feel. A friend of mine who suffers from bipolar disorder has never spoken of this diagnosis in a positive way. She actually says that it feels like you’re on a roller coaster, one day at the top, and the next day, you’re crashing to the bottom. She says that it’s like being in a pit and trying to dig your way out but you are never able to reach the surface. I think people deal with things differently. Maybe this reasoning helps Joshua deal with his diagnosis. He also stated that “maybe everyone is just a little bit mad”. This statement caused feelings of disconnect. I did not agree with his statement. The definition in our textbook about bipolar disorder states that it is a “mood disorder” and is associated with major depression to where a person experiences serious functional impairments in all areas of life.

I was also sad when Joshua talked about being medicated and basically sleeping through high school. I think this happens because maybe the illness isn’t completely understood and it takes time to really get a correct diagnosis. In the meantime, doctors are medicating people. This TED talk did not alter my view of mental illness. As Elyn Saks stated in her talk, if she could take a pill and never have to deal with her diagnosis again she would do it. I don’t think anyone would choose to have a mental illness, and I also don’t agree that one would be “lucky” to have a mental illness.

Saks, E.  (June 2012).  A tale of mental illness—from the inside

.  Retrieved from to an external site.

Walters, J.  (May 2011).  On being just crazy enough

.  Retrieved from to an external site.

Corcoran, J., & Walsh, J.M. (2020). Mental health in social work: A casebook on diagnosis and strengths based assessment (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Pearson.

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