Edit 6/22/17: I made this edit purely to correct the record.
I was diagnosed as bipolar II, which means I spend more time hypomanic or depressed than manic. No one had told me that being so irritable I lost vision at the drop of a hat was a symptom of mania. I always had to be way too busy in order to function (full-time, high pressure job, classes at three different institutions, band, bellydance, burlesque, suddenly buying a car and getting LASIK, getting married, etc. all at the same time!) I'd always suspected I was bipolar, but hey - I'm not a doctor!
Initially, I was a bit worried that medication would dampen my creativity. I was also in such dire straits that I decided I'd worry about that after I wasn't feeling so many sudden destructive urges. Happily, lithium and lamotrigine worked and continue to work for me. They help me feel like I can move through the world with full access to myself rather than scrambling behind a bunch of b.s. just to get to my actual self.
Over the summer, I borrowed "Marbles", by Ellen Forney, from a friend. (Thanks, Faith! I read it! Completely! My brain could follow her combination of text and artwork!) Forney is a local cartoonist whom I've admired pretty much since I moved to Seattle and first saw her work in The Stranger. "Marbles" is Forney's own personal account of coping as an artist who was diagnosed as bipolar right before she turned 30. I adore her work. Go look at it.
Here's a helpful page from the book:
Don't let "mild mania" fool you. It still feels incredibly wackadoo. I do experience full-blown mania, just not very often. Mixed states and rapid cycling are also barnacles of mine. We have so much "fun" together!
My bipolar is currently pretty stable and I still have access to my artisticness. I sure do like it that way.