Monday, May 12, 2008

What's In a Name

I read the poem, Penang, by Winfield Townley Scott, and I kept on thinking about it. When he concludes, "Nothing is more than names," I wonder if that's true about bipolarity as well. What if your DSM diagnosis was: Creative Genius, Sensitive Paragon, Thoughtful Humanist? Would you still feel bad, or would you just feel special?
Penang
by Winfield Townley Scott
1
I knew a man who wanted to see Penang
Because of the sound of its name when he was a boy.
And when he was a man he went to Penang
And found it an enchanting, a Malayan place.
He was not at all disappointed, he told me.
2
I myself, who originally came from
Plymouth, Massachusetts--where people visit--
Have once with a most definite satisfaction
Walked in the streets of Springfield, Illinois.
More than names, then? Nothing is more than names.
~Poetry, December, 1962.

* * *
In Winfield Townley Scott's poem, I smiled when I read his concluding statement about the difference between Penang (top of page) and Springfield, Illinois (above), which is "Nothing is more than words."

Of course, that isn't true. And yet, I believe the difference between someone who's named Bipolar and someone who's named a Thoughtful Humanist is everything.

8 comments:

bart said...

hi... i'd agree about the names thing since they're usually nothing more than useful tags to label things with, rather than describing what's really going on...

much of what happens in our lives occurs within large, multi-dimensional spectra where overlaps and similarities are the order of the day and classification so difficult... especially mental problems, where any given set of symptoms can be indicative of any number of disorders or syndromes...

as they say... "what's in a name"...

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Bart,
I couldn't agree more. What particularly stuck me about this poem is that once you think about a name and attach expectations to it, they usually come true. So, if bipolar mood disorder or manic-depression has a bad connotation to you, then you will feel bad that you have it.

Susan

Gianna said...

yay for Creative Genius and your other labels...of course we'd feel different.

I'm anti-label. I'm posting something tomorrow that includes that idea rather strongly...as in I don't really believe in the label bipolar at all....

But I really love your twist on it!

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Gianna,
Glad you like it. I'll link to you tomorrow!

Susan

Charline said...

That is a great insight and true, I think. It is all in how we look at things, how we label things and each other. I wish there were no labels, but there are. But, all we can do is change our own perspective on things. One term is never enough to describe a human being. We are all so much more.

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Dear Charline,
Welcome to my blog. I absolutely agree with you. Thanks for commenting!

Susan

Anonymous said...

'Wonderful writer' describes you best!

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Thank you Duane!