Mental Health Articles

Robin Williams: Intensity Is Not Pathology – Part 2

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

[Continued from Part 1]

Robin WilliamsAs Dr. Webb explains “Existential depression is a depression that arises when an individual confronts certain basic issues of existence… (or ‘ultimate concerns’) – death, freedom, isolation and meaninglessness.”

[Gifted, Sensitive, In Need Of Meaning: Existential Depression.]

His related book: Searching for Meaning: Idealism, Bright Minds, Disillusionment, and Hope.

Webb has written extensively about how characteristics of giftedness that are a part of so many people – including well-known artists such as Robin Williams – are often misdiagnosed.


Robin Williams: Intensity Is Not Pathology

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Robin Williams in What Dreams May ComeThe tone of a number of responses to the suicide of Robin Williams seem based in the insidious “Crazy Artist” mythology: that artistic creativity depends on mental disorder.

A number of people have expressed the idea that his brilliance and creative comic energy were fueled by his “demons” including addiction and bipolar depression.

One example was columnist Meghan Daum, who wrote: “As an actor and a comic, his emotional pendulum swung in a wide arc between manic ebullience and almost Zen-like sincerity.

“And the ease with which he occupied both realms…must surely be a kind of bipolar magic.”


Photography: Art and Healing

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

A Story of a Girl and a HorsePhotographic images can be a powerful form of expression for creative people, and also a tool for therapists and anyone to help explore our inner selves.

This image by artist Jennifer Moon is titled “A Story of a Girl and a Horse: The Search for Courage.”

A news article about an installation of her photographs, sculpture and text-based works at UCLA Hammer Museum’s “Made in L.A. 2014″ biennial, describes the piece as a “self-portrait, a chromogenic digital photo [that] depicts Moon on a chocolate brown horse, leaping over a bed of clouds shot through with electricity, as if she were riding a flying Unicorn.”


Feeling Pressured To Create

Saturday, July 26th, 2014

Chuck CloseOne kind of pressure is feeling an intense urge to create; it is probably an inherent part of being a creative person.

But other pressures can lead to stress and overwhelm, and being pulled away from the joys of creating.

Annemarie Roeper (founder of the Roeper School and The Roeper Review, a professional journal on the gifted) wrote about this intense inner pressure to create as a characteristic of high ability people – but you may experience this even if you are not “technically” gifted:

“Gifted adults may be overwhelmed by the pressure of their own creativity. The gifted derive enormous satisfaction from the creative process.


Can People With ADHD Be More Creative?

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

A number of psychologists note that many personality traits connected with ADD and ADHD are also associated with highly creative people.

Lisa Ling - brain-graphicThis is a topic I have addressed in previous Creative Mind posts, but here are some new perspectives, inspired by a documentary by Lisa Ling who was diagnosed with ADD during the course of her research for the project.

She commented, “As a journalist, when I’m immersed in a story, then I feel like I can laser-focus. But if I’m not working, my mind goes in every direction but where it’s supposed to go. I’ve been like that since I was a kid.”


Patrick Stewart, Trauma and Creative Work

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Most of us experience some kind of trauma in life.

Patrick StewartHow does it impact creative people, and how can creative expression help?

Acclaimed actor Patrick Stewart is one of many artists who have been deeply impacted by trauma in early life.

An interview article notes he “was for decades a man plagued by fear and stifled by rage. The roots of his struggle go back to a difficult childhood, marked by poverty and abuse that took him years to understand.”


Do Impostor Feelings Dampen Your Creativity?

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

Even very talented people may experience fraud or impostor feelings, which can lead to insecurity about their abilities, despite their accomplishments.

Jodie Foster holding her Sherry Lansing Leadership Award“I always feel like something of an impostor. I don’t know what I’m doing.”

Jodie Foster made that comment in her acceptance speech as recipient of the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award several years ago.

A highly accomplished actor, director and producer, Foster also said, “I suppose that’s my one little secret, the secret of my success.”

From my article: Jodie Foster on impostor feelings and faking it.


Painter Robert Genn on Art and Happiness

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

Robert GennIn an issue of his newsletter, artist Robert Genn notes that in his book “Against Happiness” writer Eric Wilson “disparages our current love affair with putting on a happy face.”

Wilson thinks that with our “feel good” culture and the “widespread use of happy drugs, everybody’s trying to be cheerful and there are no decent dollops of melancholy and sadness. When this happens, art becomes bland, unchallenging and redundant.”

Genn notes, “Dr. Thomas Svolos of the department of Psychiatry at Creighton University School of Medicine thinks Wilson is right. ‘When you’re melancholy, you tend to step back and examine your life,’ he says. ‘That kind of questioning is essential for creativity.’


Creative People, Trauma, Addiction: Colin Farrell

Monday, February 17th, 2014

“Basically, I’d been fairly drunk or high since I was 14.” Colin Farrell

Colin FarrellWhy do so many creative people use and abuse drugs, often to the point of addiction?

There is of course no easy answer, but one of the factors for many people may be childhood trauma.

In his article Emotional Trauma: An Often Overlooked Root of Addiction, David Sack, M.D. writes, “A history of childhood neglect or sexual, physical or emotional abuse is common among people undergoing treatment for alcoholism and may be a factor in the development of alcohol use disorders…

“Trauma has been associated not only with drug addiction but also overeating, compulsive sexual behavior and other types of addictions.”

Another article notes, “Children who have a history of abuse, neglect, or trauma may exhibit oppositional behavior as a response to their experiences. Experiencing any kind of traumatic event increases a child’s likelihood of acting out, as they must cope with challenging feelings, thoughts, and memories.”


Sensitivity and Creativity: Cheryl Richardson and Alanis Morissette

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

Self-Care for the Creative Soul“The more you become your own best champion, supporter, cheerleader, and trusted confidant, the better able you’ll be to fully and joyfully express your blessed creativity.

“That’s when your art becomes more and more successful in the world. It begins with treating yourself with love, respect, kindness, and compassion.”

Those quotes by coach and author Cheryl Richardson relate to her extensive writing and teaching on self-care for creative and highly sensitive people.

She is presenting “Self-Care for the Creative Soul” with Alanis Morissette – a retreat March 2-6, 2014, at Miraval Resort in Tucson, Arizona.


 

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