I feel inspired these days! Yes, there is chaos in our world, and yes, I feel the stress of the conflict in Eastern Europe and challenges facing humanity. Yet it is precisely humanity that inspires me. The humanity that is found in everyday interactions, going to the store, the post office, a restaurant, engaging with co-workers – even if it is primarily on zoom. I was inspired by the enthusiasm of a patient I have the privilege of caring for, who expressed her enjoyment of zoom appointments: “Hey! I love it – I don’t have to drive, park, or wait – and at 10:30, you show up in my living room!” She smiled broadly with gratitude. I am inspired by the students who eagerly take on a new project and can’t wait to get more data and figure out how to analyze complicated patterns and offer interpretations on what it means. I am inspired by the psychiatrists in training who engage in discussion and debate about the intricacies of bipolar disorder and their passion for learning how to work with people affected by bipolar disorder. I continue to be inspired by the amazing families and friends of people affected by bipolar. They stand strong with their loved ones, and in the face of extreme difficulties, they find a way forward. I am inspired by the person I spoke with recently. He is recovering from a manic episode and has picked himself up and re-engaged with family, friends, and work; together, they are focused on a future with wellness and fulfillment.
I am inspired by the life of Paul Farmer, a physician with a global vision of health for humanity—who changed the lives of millions and shared his account of the Ebola epidemic in the book Fevers, Feuds, and Diamonds, which I am currently reading.Yet, there are many “downers” that drag on and on in current times. The world conflicts, the pandemic, inflation, and “you name it.” However, I believe it is part of our humanity to find and embrace inspiration. There are dozens of ways to be inspired! Just thinking of a walk in a park does it. Community, books, and literature play a vital role for many, including me. I love books about heroic adventures and people who changed the world.
Perhaps most of all, I am inspired by the vision of the future in the next generation of clinicians and researchers in the Prechter team! There are ever so many reasons to be inspired by them. The passion and energy driving new ideas and directions often simply leaves me breathless!
I feel privileged to be able to experience my feelings of inspiration, and regularly I sit back and simply reflect on how fortunate I am to be in a position that allows me to be inspired.
Dr. McInnis is the director of the Prechter Bipolar Research Program;
Thomas B. and Nancy Upjohn Woodworth Professor of Bipolar Disorder and Depression;
Professor of Psychiatry