Mental Health Articles

Is Worry Part of Your Creative Life?

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

worrier

Probably most of us experience worry, stress and various kinds of anxiety to some extent, but creative people may be especially vulnerable to these mood and health challenges.

As psychologist and creativity coach Eric Maisel notes, “Life produces stress, the artistic personality produces additional stress, creating produces even more stress, and living the artist’s life is the topper!”


Creative People, Mental Health, Misdiagnosis

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

A full list of talented and creative people who suffer anxiety, depression and other mental health challenges, would, of course, be limitless; being creative, gifted and talented does not exempt any of us from those problems.

Patricia CornwellNovelist Patricia Cornwell is one example of an artist who has experienced mental health issues.

She comments:

“I’ve had my own difficulties. My wiring’s not perfect and there are ways that you can stabilise that. I have certain things that run in my own ancestry.

“It’s not unusual for great artistic people to have bipolar disorder, for example…The diagnosis goes back and forth but I’m pretty sure that I am…I take a mood stabiliser.”


Alan Turing: Exceptional Intellect and Asperger’s

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Alan Turing

British mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, and pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing led a group of other brilliant codebreakers, including Joan Clarke, at Bletchley Park outside London during WWII to crack the German’s Enigma code.

One of his biographers, professor S. Barry Cooper, writes that Turing “was a strange man, who never felt at ease in any place…He randomly adopted some conventions of his class, but rejected with no regret and hesitation most of their habits and ideas.


Creative People With Schizophrenia – Part 2

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Mercury by David Marsh

Elyn Saks (photo at right in Part 1) is a law professor at USC; an adjunct professor of psychiatry at UC San Diego, where she does research about society’s rejection of the mentally ill and how high-functioning schizophrenics cope; and is a recipient of a “genius” grant from the MacArthur Foundation.

An article notes “She kept her schizophrenia hidden while excelling in her academic studies, receiving a philosophy degree from Oxford University and a law degree from Yale University.”

She wrote of her experiences in her memoir, “The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness.”

See more in post: Elyn Saks, Schizophrenia and Creativity.

She has commented, “Ironically, the more I accepted I had a mental illness, the less the illness defined me — at which point the riptide set me free.”


Creative People With Schizophrenia

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

Creative People With Schizophrenia

As devastating as schizophrenia can be, a number of people with the mental illness lead active and creative lives. Some research even indicates the type of thinking that characterizes the disorder can facilitate creativity.


Pushed to Excel

Friday, October 17th, 2014

“I push people beyond what’s expected of them. I believe that is an absolute necessity.”

Whiplash-movieHow much does forceful mentoring help students achieve excellence, and when does it become abusive?

Those issues are part of the movie Whiplash, apparently named after the jazz standard by Hank Levy.

The quote above is by acclaimed teacher Terence Fletcher (JK Simmons) at a music school reputed to be “one of the best in the country,” explaining his teaching approach to one of his star pupils, Andrew (Miles Teller), who idolizes jazz drummer Buddy Rich, and has aspirations to also be “one of the greats.”


Multitalented: So Many Choices

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

college-majorsOne of the myths of creative and multitalented people may be that they can choose whatever personal and career paths they want.

Having many interests and abilities can make for a rich and satisfying life, but also be a source of stress, especially at crossroads like choosing college majors.

Gifted education specialist Tamara Fisher quotes Bryant (a pseudonym), a graduating senior who lists his possible future careers as “applied psychologist, scientific psychologist, college teacher, philosophy, mathematics, architect, engineer.”


Chaos and Creative Expression

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

Dylan Thomas-word-network“The very impulse to write, I think, springs from an inner chaos crying for order, for meaning, and that meaning must be discovered in the process of writing or the work lies dead as it is finished.” Arthur Miller

Creative people and writers about the creative process often say creative work is a way to release or make use of inner chaos; what is this turmoil?

Psychologist Stephen Diamond declares in his book that our impulse to be creative “can be understood to some degree as the subjective struggle to give form, structure and constructive expression to inner and outer chaos and conflict.”


Being Happy As An Artist

Friday, September 5th, 2014

“I’ve suffered enough. When does my artwork improve?” Refrigerator magnet

StingThe tortured artist mythology is an ancient and enduring one: The idea that art depends on suffering, and artists need to be suffering with dark emotions, and need their pain to create.

But that is a wrong and destructive idea.

For example, in his appearance as a guest on The Ellen Show, Colin Farrell said he is more creative being sober and happy.

“I ascribed to the notion that to express yourself as an artist, you have to live in perpetual pain. And that’s nonsense.”

Musician Sting also said he bought into this myth for a long time:


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.


 

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Recent Comments
  • daniel: Good info, I hope and pray, relief and peace for all of us who have unexplainable intensities. Grace mercy...
  • Douglas Eby: Thanks very much for your comment.
  • CBeth: I found great encouragement here, regardless of the links I picked. (I must confess I only chose the ones...
  • Rebecca: Hi DOUGLAS EBY, Very interesting topic. The relation between mental agility and creativity is needs more...
  • Megalodon: Very good article. It seems to go along with what I have seen. I do know that “intelligence”/...
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