1888 description of insanity

The description, by Mary Putnam Jacobi, perfectly matches bipolar. She is discussing what kinds of people develop mental illnesses.

The psychic characteristics… The disposition is strikingly irritable and touchy; psychic pain arises for trifling cause; at the least occasion the most vivid emotions are excited. The subjects of this temperament alternate rapidly from one extreme to the other; their sympathies and antipathies alike are intense; their entire life is passed between periods of exaltation and depression, leaving scarcely any room for healthy indifference. (184)

from Essays on Hysteria, Brain-tumor, and Some Other Cases of Nervous Disease.

Of course, then she goes on to describe the savant and other mental illnesses, all under the same heading… So while it is accurate, it isn’t a useful description because it includes too many other descriptions.