Category Archives: disorders

Creativeness and Mental Illness…I wanted to talk about relief via art but found other connections….

So I wanted to write about my craving for creativity and how it has always helped me when I’m feeling negative, I started researching and ended up on a much more interesting route:

Creative people are statistically more inclined to have mood disorders and mental Illness.

So essentially, rather than creativeness being an amazing antidepressant and everyone should do it..its more the case that the very mental disorders we are fighting are a bi-product of our creative minds. The characteristics that give us the power to find relief via creating are the same characteristics which contribute to the negativity in the first place.

There is debate on whether these traits are nature or nurture and there is evidence to back up both.

Psychiatrist, Keri Szaboles working in Hungary made an interesting discovery, he gave 128 participants a creativity test followed by a blood test sand found that those demonstrating the greatest creativity carried a gene commonly associated with severe mental illness.

There have been studies In Sweden, directed by Simon Kyaga, where they have discovered that those in creative professions were more likely to have relatives with mental disorders and were statistically more inclined to suffer mental illness themselves, for instance it appeared that writers in particular were 121% more likely to suffer than those in other non creative fields, and 50% more likely to commit suicide.
Now that’s a staggering difference!

They also stated that some people inherit a form of the trait that fosters creativity without burden whereas others inherit an amped up version that stoked anxiety, depression and even hallucinations.

There has been discussion as to whether this is from physical or psychological influence. For instance is it the physical DNA or just the fact that families experiencing mental illness are less stable, therefore creating a less stable environment which therefore nurtures certain characteristics encouraging mental illness, Or certainly worsening it.

But this is beside the point, my interest here is to discover the actual link between creativity and depression. What are those characteristics which contribute to both?

Its suggested that creatives experiencing mood disorders and mental illness take in more information and are less able to ignore extraneous details, their brain does not allow them to filter.

American psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman stated: “It seems that the key to creative cognition is opening up the flood gates and letting in as much information as possible,” he writes. “Because you never know: sometimes the most bizarre associations can turn into the most productively creative ideas.”

So basically our inability to shut out certain information and feeling can mean that we are overcome with emotion, which can be both incredibly tormenting for the brain, yet that same information and feeling can be what stokes up to create, with so much going on inside is it any wonder we have to release it, let it out and share it in such, often spectacular ways?

Painter of ‘the scream;’,Edvard Munch suffered fro anxiety which he poured out through his work, he write about this particular piece “The sun began to set – suddenly the sky turned blood red,” he wrote. “I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an endless scream passing through nature.”

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If you look into the personal life of all the old creatives you will almost certainly discover similar issues and right up to modern day, take Robin Williams for example…everywhere we look to be inspired, the people who produce the most incredible ‘art’ in whatever form are those who suffer the most.

So I am here to be thankful for my dark times, for without them I wouldn’t be who I am today, I probably wouldn’t be writing this blog, I wouldn’t have a multitude of skills and abilities, of which I am proud. I have produced artwork in many forms and its greatly appreciated by those to whom I give it to, and those who see my work, or indeed read my work often feel the need to let me know how it has affected them(generally on fb, not like they have to because were face to face). Its pleasing to know I can inspire some thought or feeling in others and therefore I am grateful I am made this way.

In fact if it weren’t for this side of my personality I probably wouldn’t be a fitness instructor either, after all teaching in front of a class of people, using your vibrancy, your excessive energies to inspire, motivate and encourage them to put in their best…is this not performance and is performance not a form of art.

I would be a completely different person living a completely different life! Its quite humbling to look at it this way, all this moaning about feeling down, and poor old Kirst, when all along its what’s forced me into some of my most proud accomplishments.

That all being said, I must say I am not belittling the depression and disorders some people feel, for me its just an occasional thing, nothing severe or lasting so I have the right balance, I get enough darkness to inspire me but not so much to really bring me down. I am one of the lucky ones and I send much love and support to those with more severe forms of mental illness.

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