This is not only important information; it is also a gentle call to action.
Image: David Plays for King Saul (Ernst Josephson, 1878), public domain
What does Judaism have to offer on the subject of bipolar disorder?
I’ve already written about the general topic of Judaism and Mental Illness, as well as Judaism and Depression. Today I’m going to look at Judaism’s take on bipolar disorder, also sometimes known as manic-depressive disorder.
Just as there are examples in Jewish scripture of depression (e.g. Psalm 38), there is also an example of bipolar disorder. No less an authority than the British Journal of Psychiatry has suggested that perhaps that was what was troubling King Saul in the Book of Samuel. King Saul was sometimes terribly sad and withdrawn, and his servants regarded it as an “evil spirit” come upon him. (1 Samuel 16) Saul’s illness increased, so that he was plagued with both depression and with bursts of energy (1 Samuel 18).
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