First of all, there are all kinds of different personalities. We don't have to be laughing all the time to be deeply joyful. We can bravely chart our own course with which we are satisfied, and for musicians and other highly creative people, a satisfied life is often one that is lived on the edge, in full color.
My highly creative musician/writer/gardener, etc. sister Pam Hubbard, who has now found her own way to successfully deal with panic attacks and depression, says this about a "creative mind unleashed":
We shouldn't and cannot estimate the depth of creativity by labeling it as such-and-such mental "disorder". The uncreatively focused mind (a very controlled mind having been successfully tamed by society) fears the mind of the untamed. I believe the element of the wild (essence of God) is most evident in a creative mind unleashed. Treatment, yes, for some who would self-destruct...but not capture and taming. I don't understand the self-destruct mechanism other than that it is estimated from time to time in the lives of some of us that it is best to leave here now and go on to what we know is much better out there. Maybe that is more rational than the tame would ever allow themselves to be.I'm grateful to Pam for pointing me to several of the following websites:
Wings Of Support's website asks...
Is there actually a link between artistic creativity and mental illness? Most artists are not mentally ill, and most mentally ill people are not artists. However, several studies have suggested that artists are more likely than others to suffer from a class of mental illnesses called mood disorders... Some researchers, including Jamison, speculate that mood disorders allow people to think more creatively. In fact, one of the criteria for diagnosing mania reads "sharpened and unusually creative thinking." People with mood disorders also experience a broad range of deep emotions. This combination of symptoms might lend itself to prolific artistic creativity.I would add that any musician I know would be bored stiff with a leveled out psyche. It's just that we need to figure out how to take the good with the bad.
Stephen L. Bernhardt, at Have A Heart's Depression Resource website suggests a process he calls "emotional thought stopping"... say "STOP IT" whenever the negative thought come.. and do so repeatedly for a concentrated period of time. (Read about the process on his site.) He says further that positive thinking is not the answer to severe depression if it comes from the outside... only if it wells up from the inside after the negative thought is consciously stopped. Stephen says;
It is this internally generated positive thought from the subconscious that you want to seize and to reinforce. Go with it! In other words, do not try to shove positive thought into the subconscious, let them come in response to the renewed hope you gain from emotional thought stopping.I know one sure-fire way to get a musician depressed... take away his/her music making. That's why I tell people who come to me and wonder if their music is commercially viable that they are asking the wrong question. How badly do they need to make music?
Here's a quote from the webpage "Musicians And The Link To Mental Illness"
We know that there are some for whom music is so compelling and innately powerful, they are unable to contain it within themselves. They can no more seperate themselves form music as they could their own limb.Indeed, take away the creative effort and you have a sad human being. This webpage also calls into question why we tend to attach the mental illness label to a creative soul. However, there is a certain vulnerability in sensitive creatives... from the same website I quote-
Anyone who knows something of the psychology of creativity, also knows that creative people suffer more severely from social pressures than 'adapted people' because they are more sensitive to them, because their creative drive is emotional in nature, not rational, and they have to rely upon them without the security of rational argument which makes them extra vulnerable to hostility from the environment.But finally, they quote Sting about the healing powers of the very music we create;
If you play music with passion and love and honesty, then it will nourish your soul, heal your wounds and make your life worth living. Music is it's own reward. ~StingTo that I would add that music is not enough... we must find a spiritual connection to the master creator who gives us music and "in whom we live and move and have our being". In my life, God has turned my lows turn into depth of understanding... and to trusting that the lows are temporary.
"Weeping may endure through the night, but joy comes in the morning" Ps 30:5.When the emptiness get particularly deep, do as my wise, creative friend Terry Smith says ... "let God fill the hole". He writes on his poetry blog;
I do know real joyTwo other good websites for further reading:
Along the way I have found it
My greatest treasure
Drink deeply from this great joy
Practice its presence daily
A Book Review of Touched With Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament
Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D
Gifted People And Their Problems
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