Friday, May 20, 2016

On Mental Illness And Creativity

My comments are based only on my personal experience. I'm glad this issue is beginning to be addressed.


This article shows a side of mental health treatment that isn't commonly discussed. I used to follow the same "wisdom" that treating mental illness would definitely destroy my creativity. The pain of continuously, actively trying to keep my mental Pandora's box sealed is what actually crippled my creativity. It wasn't until the decades-long cycle of mental anguish became utterly, dangerously bad that I realized, if I wanted to live without the surely unnecessary type and amount of pain I was enduring, I needed to seek help.* At that point, anything seemed better than suffering for art I couldn't make under the weight and skittering of my myriad brain goblins.

What an immense relief it was to learn what was going on (Bipolar II, PTSD, general anxiety, social anxiety, and ADHD-I to start) and that there are ways to treat it all. It's something that needs regular tweaking and is never going to be perfect, but my treatments work for me more than they don't and they literally allow me access to my creativity. Sure, I've made art about things I wouldn't personally know about unless I experienced mental illness myself. And sometimes, I have to do a cost/benefit analysis over whether or not taking a super sedating medication is worth having everything in my brain go damp for awhile. If I start taking something and it doesn't work for me, I can stop taking it. I am in charge of my own care. Treatment for mental illness is not a trap.

*Not everyone is always capable of seeking help. I was lucky I managed to do it then. It was really, really, really hard.