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scarletpeaches
09-22-2006, 07:23 PM
The other evening I watched a programme about manic depression presented by Stephen Fry, and the following day discussed it with a friend.

She asked me if any of it rang true, and I agreed that yes, a lot of it did; it's good to hear tales from other bipolars as it makes me feel understood, and less alone (without forced intimacy - watching telly is ok; forced hugs - bleurgh).

Anyway; one question raised by the programmes was, "If you could press a button to make yourself not bipolar, would you press it?" and all but one interviewee said no. I said to my friend that I, too, would choose not to.

She asked me why, and I said I felt that I would be less creative and have a slightly more restricted imagination without the sudden bursts of energy, even mania. She then said, "Well I've had a varied life and I'm not manic depressive. You don't need to be mentally ill to have an imagination."

True, but my point wasn't about her - it was about me. I would feel as if I was living a mediocre life without manic depression; or at least I would have mediocre thoughts and ideas. I enjoy the highs. I get a lot done. Of course, there are the lows, but if putting up with them is the price to pay, I am willing to pay it.

So. My friend went on to ask me (in a funny tone of voice), "How are you creative? What have you done?"

I told her I wrote a lot, and I don't think I would have written so much otherwise; perhaps I wouldn't even have had the desire to write. I might not have needed to write, as it started off as therapy for me.

Her opinion boils down to this: "How can you call yourself creative? No one's read anything you've written." I pointed out she could not possibly know this. She then alleged, "You can't say you're creative if you're not published."

I finished by saying no one else's opinion mattered to me, but I am creative as even if I never have another reader, regarding my 'body of work' - "There is something there that didn't exist before I came." This is my definition of creativity.

My questions are: Does that which is created only become creation when it has an observer? Does Schrodinger's cat/a piece of writing need an observer to choose whether it is dead/not dead - creation/rubbish? Does that analogy make sense?

Also - does being bipolar mean you write more - or write differently? Does it (as I suspect) merely mean you get a lot more done in a compressed space of time?

These are the ramblings of someone who's angry at her 'friend' - I mean, insulting my passion like that! - and quite possibly a mentalist.

But it's my head and I have to live in it.

NicoleJLeBoeuf
09-22-2006, 07:56 PM
Her opinion boils down to this: "How can you call yourself creative? No one's read anything you've written." I pointed out she could not possibly know this. She then alleged, "You can't say you're creative if you're not published."

I finished by saying no one else's opinion mattered to me, but I am creative as even if I never have another reader, regarding my 'body of work' - "There is something there that didn't exist before I came." This is my definition of creativity.

My questions are: Does that which is created only become creation when it has an observer? Does Schrodinger's cat/a piece of writing need an observer to choose whether it is dead/not dead - creation/rubbish? Does that analogy make sense?I personally can't see why "creativity" should have the prerequisite of "has an observer." I think your friend's opinion is pretty darn egotistic, actually--it's like saying that all those stars and planets spinning out in the universe beyond our telescope range don't exist because we haven't seen them. That point of view is an extreme form of solipsism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solipsism) and, in Paradise Lost, it was one of Lucifer's important follies.

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, it does make a sound. That's physics. If things exist outside the human ability to observe, they still exist; other objects and creatures don't need our confirmation to go on living and breathing and reproducing or, in the case of the inanimate, just sitting there. If Schroedinger never opens the box, his hypothetical cat still knows damn well whether it's dying from radon gas poisoning. And if you put something in the world that didn't exist before, that is an act of creativity. You created something.

We could get very philosophical here and talk about whether it counts as a creation before you even put in on paper--are thoughts creation? If not, can they at least be evidence, to the extent that there can be evidence of thoughts, of creativity? Can there be creativity without creations?

But in this case we're talking about something more tangible than thoughts. You put the thoughts on paper, or in a computer file. The object exists, certainly, and the story is now in fixed form. If you never looked at it again, it would still exist, in fixed form, with the potential to be read. Even if you deleted it, that act of destruction could not make the act of creation "unhappen." For a short while the story had fixed, observable form. If you wanted to email it to your 20 best friends, you could, and they'd read it. Or if you wanted to, you could read it to yourself and never show it to anyone else. You are always your own observer, after all.

If your friend says it isn't creativity without an observer, you ask her, "What am I then, chopped liver? How come my observing it doesn't count?"


...meanwhile, I'm also very interested in the issue of bipolarity and what it does to the creative process, mainly because a dear friend of mine, also a writer, suffers from it. I honestly don't know what she'd say if asked whether she'd press the OFF button if there was one to press. I know that she has from time to time gone off her medication precisely to feel the extremes--both the ups and the downs--that the meds won't let her, which indicates to me that she, also, finds those extremes worthwhile.

scarletpeaches
09-22-2006, 07:58 PM
nb: When I mentioned the 'off' button I didn't mean suicide, I meant magically making oneself 'normal' as opposed to bipolar.

Great post, Nicole. I knew a fellow writer would make me smile.

Also, I wanted to add: If that which is created needs an observer to make it creation, what happens to a book before it is read? It exists, in readiness for someone to read it, but in the second before the reader opens the cover, what state is it in? A creative limbo? Surely it must exist for the person to be able to look at it before reading?

Ahem.

Akiahara
09-22-2006, 09:12 PM
I don't think a question like this should even have to be asked.

I don't care if you're not published, you're a writer, you're being creative. If you're a painter, and no one else sees your work, you're still an artist. I think the idea that you're not creative unless someone knows it is simply ridiculous.

I'd be mad at that friend, personally.

Zisel
09-22-2006, 09:56 PM
perhaps I wouldn't even have had the desire to write.


I was once talking with a (now former) roommate of mine about writing fiction and she said something that really spooked me. Now, she didnít make a connection between the two events, but over the course of our conversation, she effectively said that she used to write a lot, but after she was put on lithium for depression, she stopped writing altogether. The two things happened the same year, that is. Now, maybe it was just a coincidence, but I found it disturbing. She said she was happier on the lith, though.

ScarletPeaches, I agree with the others. Of course youíre creative if you create. Anyway, just because you arenít currently doesnít mean youíll never be. At least you have material to send to publishers, which is more than most "wannabes" have. Maybe your friendís just jealous.

Now go write something! :)

Z

Old Hack
09-22-2006, 10:02 PM
I'd hesitate to change anything abotu myself, too. I'm not bipolar, but I have suffered from depression for a lot of my life and although I hate it, and dread it returning, it has made me who I am today.

There's an interesting book about the link between depression and creativity: Touched by Fire, by (I think) Kathleen Redfield Jameson. Worth reading, also once you're sure of her name, you can google for other articles she's written on the same subject.

Jenan Mac
09-22-2006, 10:11 PM
I'm not sure you can separate out bipolarity, or anything else, from what else goes into making someone an artist. It's not like an individual is a salad, where you have this bipolar bit, here, and this Norwegian bit, there, and this Southern bit over to the left. What that individual is is Norwegian and Southern and bipolar and fifty-seven and left-handed and a million other things, and altogether they produce one cohesive end result that, if altered in any way, would be a different end result. You might still be creative without the bipolar bits, but you wouldn't be you, and that would be the ultimate loss.

Godfather
09-22-2006, 10:54 PM
"You can't say you're creative if you're not published."

damn... guess that means i'm not creative.

what about young kids who are regarded as creative... not so.

the secrets in the word - creative. It means you create things. It's not publishedive.

Godfather
09-22-2006, 10:56 PM
oh, and i wouldn't change. not for the world.

if i was manic depressive, that would be part of me. and that will never change.

persiphone_hellecat
09-23-2006, 03:38 AM
I am bipolar. Diagnosed ten years ago. The doctors agree I was born this way. I ,too, would say NO if someone tried to change me - although they sure as hell try with medication. I have made it abundantly clear to my Dr that I will only allow him to medicate me so far. I will not give up my highs and lows and allow myself to become flat and lifeless. Of course, I prefer the manic state. It is a drug we all crave.

Scarlet peaches? May I tell you something that my family has agreed upon? I am ill - not mentally ill anymore than a person with stomach cancer would be called gastroentrologically ill. Or a woman with breast cancer would be called mammarily ill. Ill is ill. Or a person would be called testicularly ill if they had testiclular cancer ... and so on ... See???? the fact that the illness is in the brain doesnt matter in the least. All it does is add stigma and abuse from others. Get over that word, please?? Instead say, I have a chemical imbalance in my brain that is being treated with medication. CASE CLOSED. Nobody needs to know anymore ... The term Mental Illness needs to be erased from our society. It is cruel and unjust. I sat down with my family long ago and told them I just wouldnt stand for it anymore. It has absolutely nothing to do with your level of intelligence (I have a Mensa IQ) or anything else. It just means you have a disease that is not curable but controllable with medication. For all of our sakes - please learn to avoid that term. It can be very painful and used like a dagger if you let people. I refuse to allow people to use it that way any more.

Persi

PeeDee
09-23-2006, 03:49 AM
I've never been big on the whole "if only I could change the way I am!" school of thought. Saying that to me is likely to get a complete lack of sympathy and either a grunt or, if I'm feeling gregarious, a "Shaddup and go do something with yerself, then!"

I'm not bi-polar, or at least, certainly not diagnosed bi-polar. I know that I will range from manically happy to grim...but The reason for both ends of the range are simple, and the reason is boredom. Sometimes, when I'm bored (mentally bored; I can do the most menial task in the world, and if my mind has something to work on, I'm fine) I comphensate by getting rampantly happy and outgoing. Sometimes, I get very, very quiet and grim. Mostly, I'm just a happy middle ground.

I very intensely dislike the vast majority of drugs that we're so keen to give people from birth to death. Hyper kids need ridaline (**** that, I was hyper, I didn't need drugs, I just needed something to do) and adults with emotions need drugs, and old people need drugs. I have no problem with a drug that takes away your pain, thank god the world's given us those, but I am vehemently against any sort of drug that levels us all off into the same individual.

Remember A Beautiful Mind? That's a good example. Even though the pills restored his family life and made him less anguished and took away his visions...he couldn't work. He couldn't work. Even if I were inventing half the world around me, I would rather be able to write than do nothing but sit and stare lifelessly at my feet.

Our society, right now, offers the conflicting views that everyone is unique and special...and everyone should take pills until they're normal. I'm not okay with that.

janetbellinger
09-23-2006, 03:51 AM
I haven't been diagnosed as bipolar, but I have had two episodes of what was diagnosed as clinical depression.

TsukiRyoko
09-23-2006, 03:54 AM
Creativity is like existance- no one in the entire world could know about it, but it's still there. Having readers simply means you've been promoted and publicized, it has nothing at all to do with imagination and creativity.

TsukiRyoko
09-23-2006, 03:58 AM
Damn, Pete. Couldn't have said it better myself.

PeeDee
09-23-2006, 04:20 AM
Damn, Pete. Couldn't have said it better myself.

Hel-LO! Writer here!

:D

TsukiRyoko
09-23-2006, 04:22 AM
Writer? So, you were the one in the sombrero I had to toss off my porch....

Opty
09-23-2006, 04:23 AM
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=37519

PeeDee
09-23-2006, 04:31 AM
Writer? So, you were the one in the sombrero I had to toss off my porch....

It was such a nice porch, too. Out of the rain, a little heat leaking out from the warm indoors, the sound of a family laughing from inside which warmed my aching heart and teared my eyes, the comfortable doorframe I could rest my weary limbs against, the way it was slightly inset into the wall so that once I wrapped my tattered clothes tighter, the wind hardly cut to my bones at all.

Ahh. Such a good porch.

TsukiRyoko
09-23-2006, 04:46 AM
Well, I wouldn't have had to kick you off if you had just put the pants back on. :Shrug:

PeeDee
09-23-2006, 04:47 AM
It was hardly offensive, I'm a NeverNude!

(ah, Arrested Development, I miss you.)

BottomlessCup
09-23-2006, 08:45 AM
Vonnegut wrote an essay on this in one of his books. Incidence of mental illness in writers is well above normal society.

Especially alcoholism, apparently. At the time he wrote it, all but one of the Nobel Prize winners for literature were alcoholics.

This is why I drink. I'm trying to win a Nobel Prize.

Opty
09-23-2006, 08:51 AM
Yes, but are writers more prone to mental illness or are the mentally ill just more prone to write?

Wrap your brain around that one!

;)

Shadow_Ferret
09-23-2006, 08:55 AM
The only thing I know about Manic Depresson is that it was a song by Hendrix.

scarletpeaches
09-23-2006, 08:15 PM
I wonder if people are bipolar because they write, or write because they are bipolar?

I suspect the latter. It certainly helps make order in a w@nky universe.

Oh and KTC - it scares me that we have something in common. Actually no, it tickles me that others understand, especially the part about not wanting to change.

Persi - I can't say the phrase 'mentally ill' has ever bothered me, but you've given me a new perspective on it. You're right. No one would call my uncle Intestinally Ill because he has Crohn's, would they? So I see your point.

Man, I love you guys.

^^^See? I am mad. :D

TsukiRyoko
09-23-2006, 09:19 PM
Either way, it works. Personally, I'd say it's the latter. Birds of a feather....

TsukiRyoko
09-23-2006, 09:22 PM
I think it's "they are bipolar because they write". I started writing at about age 10. Before that, it was happy, blissful times filled with scooters and fake telescopes. Then, around the age of 11 (marination time, about a year and a half, I guess) I began to develop depression. Funny thing is, though, when I had hit rock bottom, writing actually became therapy as well. The quill is wrapping us around her finger, perhaps?

Jenan Mac
09-24-2006, 01:41 AM
Hyper kids need ridaline (**** that, I was hyper, I didn't need drugs, I just needed something to do) and adults with emotions need drugs, and old people need drugs. I have no problem with a drug that takes away your pain, thank god the world's given us those, but I am vehemently against any sort of drug that levels us all off into the same individual.

Our society, right now, offers the conflicting views that everyone is unique and special...and everyone should take pills until they're normal. I'm not okay with that.

My daughter has a bunch of official labels, among them ADHD and Asperger's. She takes meds for the ADHD-- not because the goal is to "normalize" her (even were that possible, it would be tragic, because she is gloriously not the average child) but to help her focus long enough to be herself.
As far as I can tell, the meds haven't changed her ability to create (she's a visual artist)-- but then, she's not on Lithium or Depakote, either.

persiphone_hellecat
09-24-2006, 06:00 AM
Jenan, I go through that with me and my son all the time. Once a first grade teacher told him to his face he exasperated her. I told her ... deal with it- that's who he is. I always tell people Thoreau spoke of people marching to their own drummer, but Travis and each have our own damn marching band.

Tsuki - BPD is a chemical imbalance in the brain. It is something like a spark plug going off but the spark doesnt cross the gap and connect on the other side. We don't become bipolar because we write - bipolar is in our chemical makeup. Just like being diabetic. Medication helps control the chemical balance in our brains. 11 is a very common age for girls to start developing bipolar and unipolar disorders. For many girls, it comes along with changes in their bodies. For others, we were born that way. My mother has told me I was first treated with medication at the age of 6 weeks. Back then, they just called it a "difficult child" - now we know so much more...

Scarlet Peaches - glad to see you understand where I'm coming from. There is still so much stigma attached to anyone who has any kind of what is referred to as a "mental illness" ... So just drop the word ... You dont owe anyone an explanation of your illness - I think the world will be so much better for us when we do not have that stigma attached to us. You're right - no one would call your uncle intestinally ill. I have a whole little army of people here in NY spreading the message to drop that word .... When most people hear my explanation, they say ...wow you're right - why say that?

KTC and I share more than BPD, we also share a birthday ... Can you imagine - two BPD's here both with 9/13 birthdays?? Just wait until the year our birthday falls on a Friday and LOOK OUT!

Persi

Shadow_Ferret
09-24-2006, 07:17 AM
I wonder if people are bipolar because they write, or write because they are bipolar?

I suspect the latter. It certainly helps make order in a w@nky universe.



I write because I write. I don't even know what bipolar is.

AADD, that I understand.

veinglory
09-24-2006, 07:19 AM
From the review I saw poets have a higher incidence of bipolar, writers not so much...

persiphone_hellecat
09-24-2006, 07:35 AM
REad the book Touched by Fire ... that explains it very well. Written by a Dr who is bipolar herself.

Opty
09-24-2006, 09:49 AM
I wonder if people are bipolar because they write, or write because they are bipolar?



I wondered that, too.

Or, something very close to it.

Back in post #24.


Copycat.



OOH! BURN!

;)

SC Harrison
09-24-2006, 07:24 PM
I think those who suffer from (are blessed with?) some mental disorders are more observant of the world around them and the behavior of those they come in contact with. They're more likely to be seeking/searching for underlying truths in an effort to find connections to themselves, and usually go a few steps deeper in their analysis of the seemingly mundane and insignificant. While these musings may not always provide the solace their mind is seeking, it does provide an almost perfect environment for creativity.

This next part is a little bit of a stretch, but I believe a large percentage of our population are borderline as far as mental well-being, and have constructed subliminal defense mechanisms to keep them from deteriorating. One of these defense mechanisms is the avoidance of creative pursuits such as writing, due to the amount of introspection it involves. They may operate very well with surface relationships, problem solving, etc., but they refuse to dig any deeper in their own psychy for fear of what they will find.

So...I guess we could say that, depending on the individual, the mental condition may produce the writer, or the writing may break down the walls and expose the mental condition. For me, a little bit of both has taken place, I think. I know myself much better than I did, however, and the fictional worlds I create have helped me understand the real world a little better. Unfortunately, I often find myself liking the real world even less than I did before, which is kind of a bummer.

crypticquill
09-24-2006, 08:23 PM
Wow, such a long thread, but since I, too, have bipolar disorder, I couldn't pass it up.

My bipolar disorder started showing itself in my mid-teens. I've always been a writer, so I'm hesitant to think I'm a writer because I'm bipolar, but I do think my mental condition affects my writing. My mother has always described me as "marching to the beat of a different drum," and eventually, after my first really major episode of mania (a point in time when I rarely slept, rarely ate, turned into a workaholic, and engaged in ridiculous illegal activities) and months and months of doctors and doctors (I actually had one tell me she couldn't take me as a patient because my "problems" were beyond what she was willing to "take on"), we found out that drum was bipolar disorder.

scarletpeaches - Saying someone isn't creative because they haven't been published is just (excuse me while I turn my head from manners for a moment) flat-out stupid. What your friend said was stupid, and if she really thinks that, and wasn't just saying it as some sort of defense, then, she has stupid thoughts.

Nicole - Very good point about the stars and such that we can't see not existing because we can't see them.

Zisel - Interesting story about your friend and her medicine and writing. Right after I had my first major episode of mania, which led to major legal problems, I was diagnosed as depressed and given Zoloft. During the months and months I waited on my court hearing - and on Zoloft - I produced some of the best stuff I've ever written. Once I was correctly diagnosed with bipolar disorder and began medication, I find that while I can still be "creative," I, most times, have no desire to. I have to force myself to write anything that's not work-related.

Old Hack - Thanks for the book suggestion; I think I'll look into that, too.

Jenan Mac - Very good salad analogy :)

PeeDee - I agree that our society likes to toss pills down our throats to calm everyone down, to an extent. There are times, however, when medicine isn't levelling off people as the same individual, but leveling the individual him/herself, so that he/she doesn't go from one extreme to the next and land him/herself in jail, like I did. Don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming my "want" to do what I did on my bipolar disorder, but I am confident that if I weren't bipolar, I wouldn't have acted on that "want." I hate to say "if I had been in my right mind," because it sounds like such a cop out, but seriously, if I had been in my right mind, I would have never done something that cost me my reputation, my career, my home, my car, my freedom, and hell, even my good credit score. Had I been diagnosed sooner (hell, if I had even been seeing a mental health professional of some sort, as my mother begged), I might have been able to prevent that disaster.

On the other hand, that "disaster" has brought many blessings. So, who knows. It's funny how things turn out. Honestly, if I could turn back time (cue Cher in thong and fishnets) I don't know if I would take that disaster back or not. I can say though, I'm thankful for the medicine now, and don't want another disaster, haha. I've had my fill, thank you.

SC Harrison - I agree with everything you said.

Sorry for the novel, people :)

Danger Jane
09-24-2006, 08:56 PM
The best things I've written were written while I was depressed. I'm starting to think I've got a susceptibility for depression because I have been several times, but it's okay, I guess...it really does make me into who I am, and it's sort of forced me to grow up in spurts. That's not really a bad thing. It made me need to get my feelings out in writing, and I hope I never stop doing that.

Your friend shouldn't have said that. It's just not true. That's an unbelievably closed-minded approach to life. "It doesn't exist if I don't see it."

piscesgirl80
09-25-2006, 12:18 AM
I have mixed feelings on the subject. I was diagnosed with clinical depression when I was about 12. While clinical depression is not the same as being bipolar, I personally think I would probably be a better writer if I was "normal" b/c I would be able to be more productive. When I've been at my lows it's been virtually impossible to work as my muse is drowned out by the voice telling me I don't deserve to live. Additionally, there's been a romanticization of mental illness/writers a la Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, etc.

On the flip side, some people would say their "mental illness" allows them greater powers of perception and empathy.

rhymegirl
09-25-2006, 12:42 AM
So. My friend went on to ask me (in a funny tone of voice), "How are you creative? What have you done?"

Her opinion boils down to this: "How can you call yourself creative? No one's read anything you've written." I pointed out she could not possibly know this. She then alleged, "You can't say you're creative if you're not published."

I finished by saying no one else's opinion mattered to me, but I am creative as even if I never have another reader, regarding my 'body of work' - "There is something there that didn't exist before I came." This is my definition of creativity.

I'm responding to this part about creativity. In my opinion, some people are just naturally creative, regardless of whether anyone actually sees their work or buys their work. My daughter, for example, loves to draw. Naturally, I've seen plenty of her drawings. I think they're very good. When she started college last year, majoring in art, she had quite a tough time competing with all those other art majors. She got to see first-hand just how competitive this field really is. When you think you're good, there is always somebody else who is better. (Also true with writing)

So the point is that she is still a creative person even if she hasn't sold a drawing or a painting.

With writers it's similar but tricky. You can write a really good story, but if you can't seem to get it published--then what? You could still print it out, staple it together and give it to someone as a gift. I remember years ago, I wrote/designed a children's picture book and gave it to my nephew for Christmas. No, I didn't get paid for it. But I had a reader. A small audience. It existed because I put it onto paper in book form and gave it to someone. The way I looked at it was that even if only one or two people got to read it, I had accomplished something.

You can be creative in many ways. Some people just seem to THINK creatively and they take it from there. It's a special gift.

crypticquill
09-25-2006, 12:42 AM
Just a side note -

Some artists (I'm using that word to describe anyone who creates anything for a living) claim that by taking medication for their bipolar disorder their ability to create is impaired. I believe Robin Williams is one of these artists, but I can't swear to it.

You all should check out the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (http://www.dbsalliance.org/index.html) Web site - I visit it pretty regularly, since my diagnosis, that is.

Shadow_Ferret
09-25-2006, 01:13 AM
I think those who suffer from (are blessed with?) some mental disorders are more observant of the world around them and the behavior of those they come in contact with. They're more likely to be seeking/searching for underlying truths in an effort to find connections to themselves, and usually go a few steps deeper in their analysis of the seemingly mundane and insignificant. While these musings may not always provide the solace their mind is seeking, it does provide an almost perfect environment for creativity.



I disagree with this. I don't think you need a mental illness to be creative whatsoever. I'm creative. I'm observant of the world. I'm always seeking/searching for underlying truths. I love philosophy. But I'm as normal as anyone.

PeeDee
09-25-2006, 01:17 AM
PeeDee - I agree that our society likes to toss pills down our throats to calm everyone down, to an extent. There are times, however, when medicine isn't levelling off people as the same individual, but leveling the individual him/herself, so that he/she doesn't go from one extreme to the next and land him/herself in jail, like I did. Don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming my "want" to do what I did on my bipolar disorder, but I am confident that if I weren't bipolar, I wouldn't have acted on that "want." I hate to say "if I had been in my right mind," because it sounds like such a cop out, but seriously, if I had been in my right mind, I would have never done something that cost me my reputation, my career, my home, my car, my freedom, and hell, even my good credit score. Had I been diagnosed sooner (hell, if I had even been seeing a mental health professional of some sort, as my mother begged), I might have been able to prevent that disaster.

On the other hand, that "disaster" has brought many blessings. So, who knows. It's funny how things turn out. Honestly, if I could turn back time (cue Cher in thong and fishnets) I don't know if I would take that disaster back or not. I can say though, I'm thankful for the medicine now, and don't want another disaster, haha. I've had my fill, thank you.


First off, that was a very intelligent and interesting post. I just thought I should clarify my earlier post by pointing out that if taking a pill or any sort of medication is something that improves your life, that is obviously something you need, I'm all for it. It occured to me that I might sound like one of those people who would have a headache and not take an ibuprofin (or an ibimuse) just because "it's a pill!" which is plain silly.

So no, pills are wonderful things if they improve the quality of life. What I'm more actively against the rapid-fire attitude we've developed where, no matter what the problem is, the solution comes in a handy pill size. If a kid needs ritaline because his brain is firing so randomly, he can't even put together a complete thought, then by all means, he should have the pill to get himself together.

But what if the kid's just creative? I was very creative from an early age, and also from an early age, I had a very limited attention span with things that I wasn't interested in (and a near limitless attention span for things I cared about). The problem was, because I was a bouncy and energetic kid who hadn't figured out how to focus his energy yet, I came across as a spastic maniac. Thankfully, no one doped me up, but if I'd been that kid now (well, I am, but if I were in school now, you see) then they would have drugged me in a heartbeat.

The thing I was trying to say was, we really need to take more time to figure out if the kid's brain is having a real and serious problem (ADD/depression/fear of clowns) or if it's something else (creative/bored/who isn't afraid of clowns?).

And that's whut I sayd. :D

PeeDee
09-25-2006, 01:19 AM
I disagree with this. I don't think you need a mental illness to be creative whatsoever. I'm creative. I'm observant of the world. I'm always seeking/searching for underlying truths. I love philosophy. But I'm as normal as anyone.

Isaac Asimov was amazingly creative, and I can't think of an illness he could have had. Charles Dickens was a normal guy. What about Neil Gaiman? Susanna Clarke? Stephen King?

On the other hand, there's the Edgar Allen Poe's, the Ernest Hemmingway's, the H.P. Lovecraft's, the Robert Heinlein's of the world. Raymond Chandler? These are, I think, some of the chief people in the world of books who have been responsible for the view that creativity is somehow linked to mental illness/alcohol/drugs/beautiful women.

When in reality, it's only linked to beautiful women.

Jenan Mac
09-25-2006, 01:56 AM
This next part is a little bit of a stretch, but I believe a large percentage of our population are borderline as far as mental well-being, and have constructed subliminal defense mechanisms to keep them from deteriorating. .

I could definitely go for that.
There used to be a sign in the staff room at the hospital that said "the only difference between them and us is they get well and go home."

Jenan Mac
09-25-2006, 02:06 AM
I disagree with this. I don't think you need a mental illness to be creative whatsoever. I'm creative. I'm observant of the world. I'm always seeking/searching for underlying truths. I love philosophy. But I'm as normal as anyone.

I think "normal" itself is a continuum, and flexible. There are days when my clients looked far more "normal" than most people I know.
I don't think you have to have a psychiatric diagnosis to be creative. I think there are probably a lot of things that go into it. OTOH, I think there are times it may help, even if it just spurs creativity as a coping mechanism. I think there are probably a lot of things that go into it-- the "brain chemistry as one ingredient out of many" theory.

SC Harrison
09-25-2006, 02:30 AM
I disagree with this. I don't think you need a mental illness to be creative whatsoever. I'm creative. I'm observant of the world. I'm always seeking/searching for underlying truths. I love philosophy. But I'm as normal as anyone.

SF, I didn't say having a mental illness was a prerequisite for being creative, and I didn't say we "normals" :) aren't observant and/or seeking truths, I was merely commenting on what may make some people more likely to be creative artistically.

crypticquill
09-25-2006, 03:01 AM
Thank you, PeeDee.

I see your point, and I wholeheartedly agree. We are a society with a pill for every problem. It reminds me of that oldies song, "In the Year 2525."

Btw, I went to your blogspot today and LMAO at your invention of the library. :) We've all had those lovely moments.

Unique
09-25-2006, 03:13 AM
SF, I didn't say having a mental illness was a prerequisite for being creative, and I didn't say we "normals" :) aren't observant and/or seeking truths, I was merely commenting on what may make some people more likely to be creative artistically.

So ya think yer normal do you?

SC Harrison
09-25-2006, 03:33 AM
So ya think yer normal do you?

Lord, don't get me started on the "If you think you're crazy you're not, and if you don't think you're crazy you're in denial."

I spent three weeks one day thinking about that.

Unique
09-25-2006, 03:42 AM
We know he's crazy. He hangs out here. With us. The loo-loons.

aadams73
09-25-2006, 03:43 AM
If you're crazy, do you know you're crazy? What if you think rolling your doo-doo into little balls and keeping it in a shoebox is normal? Are you crazy then? Are you crazy now?

My head hurts.

PeeDee
09-25-2006, 03:48 AM
You persistent little Colin Farrel bastid, that was my shoebox!

aadams73
09-25-2006, 03:51 AM
No, it was my shoebox and you boys forgot to take my shoes out first!

(you just can't even find responsible crazy people anymore)

PeeDee
09-25-2006, 03:56 AM
They're not my doo-doo balls! You are whack, sir!

aadams73
09-25-2006, 03:58 AM
All that doodoo in my shoe box and we still don't know if we're crazy or not.

Maybe we need to use baggies instead of shoe boxes. Like that woman in CSI, you know, the rat episode.

PeeDee
09-25-2006, 04:01 AM
She is overthinking. She's.....kinda crazy.

aadams73
09-25-2006, 04:06 AM
HEY! Pot, meet kettle and black.

Opty
09-25-2006, 04:08 AM
Here's a repost of something I posted in the thread I linked in post #19 (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=37519), from the "Conquering Anxiety..." forum (you guys should really visit that forum more often! We get lonely down there! :) ). I think it kind of applies as a response to something SCHarrison said earlier.


I don't necessarily think that those with mental health issues have an innate "advantage" in creativity. Having a mental illness doesn't guarantee talent, creativity, or success and I believe that perpetuating that myth does a disservice to anyone with a mental illness who pursues creative endeavors because it might be setting them up for future dissappointment (thus, future mental issues). I'm not saying anyone here has done that, I'm just making a (probably silly) point.

I think creativity exists in a person despite the mental health issues. It's innate. However, for some people, a mental illness may offer a different, perhaps "eye opening," perspective for exploring or channeling that creativity.

There are plenty of incredibly creative, successful individuals who are/were at the top of their fields who weren't "mentally ill" just as there are people who are mentally ill who aren't terribly creative.

Creativity (talent might be a good word, too) is independent of mental health. However, as I said, I believe that those with certain mental health issues can use those issues to their advantage. They can either enhance or uncover their talents (however, the talent/creativity must exist within them in the first place). As Sean said, perhaps this manifests by the person ostracizing him/herself and using that time alone as inspiration or as a time to really develop his or her talents without distraction.

For some, it might be like a mediocre painter whose canvas has been previously covered with dull brushstrokes, only to be able to paint now in brilliant color.

SC Harrison
09-25-2006, 06:11 AM
Here's a repost of something I posted in the thread I linked in post #19 (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=37519), from the "Conquering Anxiety..." forum (you guys should really visit that forum more often! We get lonely down there! :) ). I think it kind of applies as a response to something SCHarrison said earlier.

I think you're right about the potential for disappointment, which can be much more profound and hard to get past in a person who's suffering from an already eroded sense of self.

PeeDee
09-25-2006, 07:06 AM
Here's a repost of something I posted in the thread I linked in post #19 (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=37519), from the "Conquering Anxiety..." forum (you guys should really visit that forum more often! We get lonely down there! :) ).

I think about visiting now and then, but I get anxious and eat a bunch of chocolate and watch reruns of Ally McBeal. Sorry.

scarletpeaches
09-25-2006, 10:09 PM
In my more grandiose moments (when I'm tired of thinking I'm Napoleon or believing I can fly) I sometimes say, "I can't kill myself yet; think of all the stories I haven't written.

Then I eat some chocolate and get over myself.

KTC - try using paragraphs, you...you...weirdo! Oh, and give me your avatar's phone number.