Creativity and madness

2010-MadhatterWhether a stereotype or not, creatives are known for their erratic, eccentric behaviours; the sudden bursts of brilliance in the middle of the night, the manic journey to birth a creative project.

Creatives have a reputation for being a little unhinged, or crazy. In fact a study over 40 years in Sweden has directly linked bipolar and schizophrenia with artists and scientists.; from dancers and photographers to researchers and authors.

For many this is a barrier for receiving treatment, the fear that they will lose this overflowing source of creativity. I too was afraid of this when I was diagnosed with Depression in 1997 and was recommended medication. I refused point blank to take it. When the diagnosis became Bipolar in 2006 I stopped to reconsider. It is true that my flow of thoughts and creative ideas was stifled somewhat on medication but over the years, I have found a way to tap into this at will instead of being bombarded constantly by these thoughts and ideas.

Gila Lyons, quite eloquently, describes the struggle with managing creativity and mental health issues.

I feared that taking medication to ease my anxiety and panic might destroy my urge or ability to create. I had heard of many artists who had gone mad or suffered from horrible depression, and took the popular prescription of the day, never to write or create again.

Now medicated, my creativity no longer consumes me. I lead a balanced, fulfilling, happy life with great relationships, a career I enjoy and a quiet confidence. Things I could not have achieved without medication.

And now I begin my journey back into creativity…

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