Entertainer ponders the “creative-edge” of mental illness

Joshua Walters has a different perspective on mental illness. Describing himself as an entertainer and “diagnosed bipolar,” Walters presents the idea that it is the “hypo-manic edge” of mental illness that pushes genius minds such as Vincent Van Gogh, Steve Jobs, and Mozart to their creative heights. He came to this idea after years of vascillating between dealing with his illness and dealing with medications. Illustrating his teenage experience, Walters states that, “The first half of high school was the struggle of the manic episode and the second half was the over-medications of these drugs, where I was sleeping through high school; the second half was one big nap.” In the end, upon reaching legal adulthood, Walters depicts facing the choice of denying his mental illness or embracing his “mental skillness.” In his hypnotic voice, interspersed with brief interludes of dancing, beat-boxing, and messing with his hair, Walters questions, “Maybe there’s no such thing as crazy, and being diagnosed with a mental illness doesn’t mean you’re crazy, but maybe it just means you’re more sensitive to what most people can’t see or feel. Maybe no one’s really ‘crazy’ but everyone’s just a little bit mad.”

More information about Walters and his work regarding mental health advocacy is available on his website.

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Emily Pate is a third-year student at Seattle University interested in Strategic Communications, learning Spanish, and working with non-profits. Her work for Rooted In Rights is focused on discussing current events in the community of people with disabilities. Her experience previous to Rooted In Rights includes writing broadcasts for KBOO radio in Portland, OR, and managing a neighborhood blog in the Seattle community. In addition to work, Emily enjoys drawing, spending time with her friends and family, and backpacking.