Some common causes of delusions of grandeur are stupidity, narcissism, mood disorders, psychosis and drugs, such as amphetamines. Stupidity shortens the odds of someone being ludicrously overconfident but not everyone with delusions of grandeur is remotely stupid. Every narcissist has grandiose delusions but not everyone with grandiose delusions is unusually narcissistic
I have been known to overestimate the significance of my words but not myself. The belief that every member of the human race is of equal importance is deeply ingrained in me. My delusions of grandeur were triggered by the manic phase of bipolar disorder. At times, being in a socially isolated bubble caused me to overestimate the standard of my writing but not to the extent bipolar mania did.
Manic episodes are times of unnatural intensity during which colors are unbelievably vivid, music is more beautiful than ever and lame jokes trigger explosive laughter. The world of someone in the grips of a manic episode is surreal. Cyclones of symbolism soar from scenes more mundane than a geological age of cleaning toilets. Every observation, every moment of contemplation, is blended with such extreme feelings of profundity it’s impossible to avoid the belief you’re expressing paradigm shattering wisdom, with every flourish of the pen.
The reasonably realistic self assessments of the recent past could be replaced by the belief you’re destined to be mentioned in the same sentence as Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes and Samuel Coleridge. As your fingers dance across the keyboard, launching a riot of rubbish on to the screen, your sense of accomplishment could be akin to Jimi Hendrix’s, when his magic hands reinvented rock and roll. The most boring and garbled statements you’ve ever uttered feel so overladen with wisdom, that if tangible they’d surely drag an air craft carrier to Davy Jones locker.
Eventually you plunge back to reality, sometimes rapidly enough to make Icarus and his detached wings look like they’re still rising. What looked like the makings of a best seller looks more like word salad soon enough.
One in three hundred thousand people make a living from fiction writing. When I’m sane, which is most of the time, I’m not an aspiring full time writer. I prefer to perform repetitive tasks for a living. They’re a means of meditation, of recharging the creative batteries; especially if you work in forests like I do. Building sediment fences and injecting herbicide into weed trees is unlikely to land anyone on the cover of Time Magazine but it does improve biodiversity and can lead to a vibrant, tranquil state of mind.
Probably all of us have met people whose delusions of grandeur are a regular feature of their personality, like wannabe singers who’ve never hit a note in their life, yet their belief they are the king of karaoke is as unwavering as a base jumper’s thirst for adrenaline. Sometimes the same people who think they’re destined to be the next Frank Sinatra are also convinced they should be the C.E.O of a major company, despite being fired from every lowly position they’ve ever attempted to fill. How terrible it would be to spend one’s entire life lost in self glorifying fiction. I’m glad that my delusions of grandeur were a symptom of an episodic illness which can be suppressed with medication.
The majority of those with bipolar disorder experience delusions of grandeur and about half of those with schizophrenia do. While someone with bipolar mania is likely to overrate one or more of their abilities and might feel more important than usual, they’re not as likely to think they’re Jesus Christ, a C.I.A operative or a wizard as someone suffering from Schizophrenia.
Unfortunately the pharmaceutical treatments for schizophrenia and schizo-effective disorder (a combination of schizophrenia and bipolar symptoms) tend to be less effective and more hazardous than pharmaceutical treatments for bipolar disorder.
For detailed information on the classification of, symptoms of and treatments for bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizo-affective disorder and other mental illnesses, I recommend using the following link https://www.sane.org/
(posted by Amanda Rakenwith, on the 12th of June 2015)