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Joshua Walters: On being just crazy enough



At TED’s Full Spectrum Auditions, comedian Joshua Walters, who’s bipolar, walks the line between mental illness and mental “skillness.” In this funny, thought-provoking talk, he asks: What’s the right balance between medicating craziness away and riding the manic edge of creativity and drive?

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Featured speakers have included Al Gore on climate change, Philippe Starck on design, Jill Bolte Taylor on observing her own stroke, Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop per Child, Jane Goodall on chimpanzees, Bill Gates on malaria and mosquitoes, Pattie Maes on the “Sixth Sense” wearable tech, and “Lost” producer JJ Abrams on the allure of mystery. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, development and the arts. Closed captions and translated subtitles in a variety of languages are now available on TED.com, at

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22 Comments

  1. Thank you for the first time anyone ever put in words what I was thinking every day.

  2. Thank you for sharing. =)

  3. I'm not bipolar, but I've gotten called bipolar several times for speaking out against professional child abuse cover-up behaviors in my area. So I can identify with a lot of this.

  4. Yesss! yes yes!

  5. Im 1 minute & 30 seconds in wondering if this guy is going to pull out a rifle and start blasting the audience

  6. i dont like this talk but i do agree hypomania feels nice

  7. Status 5150 is a rap group that writes exclusively about mental health! Please enjoy our videos! https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7xGSc2zAdeUPDhT3HC9a-TeLeVFhvho-

  8. A big mother's hug to bipolar children of all ages. I love my son unconditionally regardless if manic, depressed, medicated or driving me crazy!

  9. Like his courage. It costs some their lives with it. I hope the medical mafia does not kill him. They are very good at killing you.

  10. I'm bipolar, too, and, from my perspective, the way he describes mental illness as some kind of secret revolutionary blessing is dangerous. Mood episodes of both kinds wreak havoc, not only in the personal life of the sufferer, but also in the patient's brain. I very much understand the creative value he talks about! My two cents here are: Treatment is necessary anyway.

  11. this is the best TED talk I have ever seen…ever1 is little bit mad how much? how luck u r 👌

  12. Fucking hell..i cried with joy after watching this..i was in my depression period and was getting thoughts of killing myself frequently this just made me manic again. I feel like a fucking legend !!!!!!! Ever nasty motherfucker who did something which required balls and who is now remembered as a legend was bipolar. These motherfuckers shaped world history !!!!! I am gonna end world poverty !!!!!!

  13. thank you too sir

  14. he really can see.

  15. The Joker

  16. The bipolar mind is like a very sensitive radio receiver: it can pull in the desired 'signal' but it also pulls in static and noise just as well.

  17. I'm bipolar, and on several meds. I'm as "level" as I've ever been, but I still have spikes up and down. I have noticed that those with bipolar make the best actors and performers. That's because (I think) they're creative. My creativity is limited to sculpting model horses, but because I also have Social Anxiety I stay home and refuse to be in public as much as possible. But I know if I could handle being in public I know I'd make a good actor. I see through a creative eye. I sort of embrace my bipolar disorder, because without it I wouldn't be who I am. WONDERFUL video.

  18. I'm bipolar. I identify with him so much.

  19. This is the best Ted talk I have ever seen…try to be mad hope will get lucky sometime…:)

  20. What would happen if u od on prozak ?

  21. i lost it when he pulled out his curls omg

  22. Excellent

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