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 the following quotes
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 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 a now-offline site (if anyone knows where this quote originates, please let me know and I'll link to it):
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 separate themselves from 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 (missing) 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, here's legendary artist Sting says 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. In my experience, to be fully whole creatives we need to find spiritual connection to the source of all creativity... "in whom we live and move and have our being". In my life, God has turned my lows into depths of understanding, and into 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 joy Along the way I have found it My greatest treasure Drink deeply from this great joy Practice its presence dailyThree other good websites for further reading: