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Creativity and mental illness

 
 
JPB
 
  0  
Reply Tue 7 Oct, 2008 09:57 pm
@mason738,
Quote:
MC would say they were all probably in the "flow" state.


Because of the external feedback they receive or from self-satisfaction?
mason738
 
  0  
Reply Tue 7 Oct, 2008 10:02 pm
@JPB,
Self satisfaction-- Here is a quote from the book--\\Question--Why do you do surgery? P. 125

answer from one doctor:

Because of the JOY it gives me to completely cure somebody by removing or repairing something once and for all. It's all or nothing, very direct.
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Oct, 2008 10:29 pm
@mason738,
Quote:
A pitcher throwing a no-hitter?

A writer getting critical regard for his novel?

A surgeon curing a very sick person because of his skill in operating?


Quote:
Because of the JOY it gives me to completely cure somebody by removing or repairing something once and for all. It's all or nothing, very direct.


This brings me to a question that I was coming to about perfectionism in creative people. I obviously only know the few creative people that I know but it seems that the "artistic temperament", if that's what we're going to call it, comes with the associated talent and a heavy dose of perfectionism.

The perfect game.

Critical regard by one's peers.

The masterful surgeon.

I sometimes wonder if the anxiety/depression that seems to go hand-in-hand with creativity doesn't somehow manifest from an expectation of perfection that isn't ever quite achievable?
SYNRON
 
  0  
Reply Tue 7 Oct, 2008 11:50 pm
@JPB,
I think your last point is well taken. Some writers agonize over every word and continue to polish, polish, polish. A notable exception was Jack Kerouac who typed the entire novel-On The Road- on one continuous taped together roll which prompted the washpish Truman Capote to note:

That's not writing- That's typewriting!

But,perfectionism is indeed the bane of many artists. Michaelangelo left many unfinished pieces of stone and indeed painted new pictures over old ones which he did not feel comfortable with!
0 Replies
 
Cliff Hanger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Oct, 2008 05:53 am
@boomerang,
Ah, but you are married? Have offspring? Surely yoyur spouse has supported you in an emotional way?

In other words-- those people who get support might not have the soundest relationships with their parents, siblings, spouses etc, but they still have relationships with them.

Their egos are such they know how to get what they need for their art to continue. In many respects, this means having fake friendships for personal gain.

I've seen this in the most ruthless way with writers.

An exception to this is a woman I used to work with who went through a creative writing program, she was without pretense and guile, who pretty much became paralyzed by her depression. She ended up choosing the medication option, which helps her function day-to-day.

On the opposite end, I know another creative writer who will do anything to keep herself going-- she's ruthless, pretty phony. She'll bad-mouth anyone on the planet until she needs something from them. That's the kind of support I'm talking about: the people who need to support themselves by some other means eg teaching, part-time jobs, because their creative pursuits are rarely recognized in the mainstream.

boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Oct, 2008 06:48 am
@Cliff Hanger,
I was months away from 30 when I got married and I adopted my son when I was 46 so I don't think I followed the typical arc of my generation of women.

My husband supported me by demanding that I get some help, bless his heart.

I'm neither ruthless or guileless so I don't know where I might fit in to your theory.
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Oct, 2008 07:58 am
@Cliff Hanger,
I've seen both of these personality traits in numerous arenas. The corporate ladder-climbers I used to work with came in two camps. Those who got ahead by making everyone else around them look bad (these types took no prisoners) and those who got ahead by getting the job done and bringing the team up the ladder with them. The latter group didn't take prisoners either because they worked within a cohesive group that were all succeeding together. I don't think this has as much to do with the success of creative people as it does with yet another aspect of temperament -- drive and motivation to succeed.

I agree with a previous statement of boomer's -- success can be defined in innumerable ways. Is an artist successful if he/she can meet their basic needs or are they not successful unless they become a household name?

Your bad-mouthing acquaintance isn't successful in her creative pursuits, but I'm not convinced that it's because she has a creative temperament more than perhaps some narcissism that prevents her from getting along in the world. There are many aspects of temperament that become confounded when trying to generalize. That's why a correlation between one observed trait (creativity) and another (depression) doesn't equate to a cause and effect relationship. They may run hand-in-hand but there are numerous other variables that would impact the ability to succeed (however one chooses to define it) in the world.
Cliff Hanger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Oct, 2008 08:18 am
@boomerang,
It's a broad theory. Nonetheless, your husband sounds like he's been good to you. Not all artists are ruthless, of course. But the non-commercial ones tend to be because they tend to be big fish in small ponds. For example-- a person with a creative writing degree who wants to keep writing is going to try to get the college teaching job, etc.

Are you saying months before 30 was old to get married?
Cliff Hanger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Oct, 2008 08:23 am
@JPB,
The bad mouthing acquaintence does quite well in the world. She sees herself as a sensitive feeling person who has been afflicted with an enormous burden.

Does she get depressed?--yes. She drinks moderately because her father is an alcoholic and she doesn't want to become one. She's disciplined in her writing schedule and she picks up decent teaching jobs because she's well connected to the art scene.

I'm not seeing much parallel in the working corporate world. In many respects, working for an organization or corporation seems fairly well defined.

This brings up the point of boundaries-- in the art world, if you choose this kind of life the possiblities are limitless, which makes you vulnerable. If you go the corporation route things are fairly well defined except perhaps learning the intricacies of the politics of the organization.

If your temperment can handle this--- then you're a company woman/man. Most artists would never be able to stand 10 minutes of this kind of shenaningans.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Oct, 2008 08:39 am
@Cliff Hanger,
Most of the people I knew were already divorced by the time they were 30, so yeah, for my generation I was practically a spinster.

Photography is definately a different ballgame than writing. I've known photographers who have been hugely successful and happy shooting bottles of condiments for a living. Like me, a lot of photographers work in the craft of photography which gives them time to dabble in their art.
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Oct, 2008 09:19 am
@Cliff Hanger,
Cliff Hanger wrote:

I'm not seeing much parallel in the working corporate world. In many respects, working for an organization or corporation seems fairly well defined.

...

If your temperment can handle this--- then you're a company woman/man. Most artists would never be able to stand 10 minutes of this kind of shenaningans.


I agree with the second point but strongly disagree with the first. You mention the ego of the artist and ruthless artists having fake friendships for personal gain. Trust me --- there's a definite parallel in the corporate world.

Given that I agree with you that artists wouldn't do well in a corporate environment, and that ego is pervasive in both, I don't see ego as the determining factor in the use of a support system for the successful artist any more than the successful ladder-climber.
Cliff Hanger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2008 05:33 am
@JPB,
I agree with the parallels of fake friendships in the art and corporate world-- people have the same tendencies no matter what the profession. However, I am drawing a distinction between the differences in how the brains work-- articstic vs. non artistic.

To me, this gets at the root of your original discussion-- as someone who comes from a family of visual/artistic people I can tell you there are a lot of very boring, straight laced people out there who have absolutely no edge whatsoever. Their foibles and problems are universal, but they have nothing that sets them apart from other people. They don't think for themselves, they don't read interesting books, they don't reflect etc.



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yeilyn32
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 May, 2010 11:37 pm
@JPB,
Holy crap!! no wonder i get so depressed easily that is pretty much what i do all day everyday and i'm a really jolly creative person XDD
and just i get depressed...gahhhhh i hate it >.<
It make me feel lazy!! and worthless
I worry about almost everything..wait pretty much everything XD
lolz oh...well what can you do?
I just try to distract my self as much as possible =D
I have a problem because i can't stop thinking..about everything over and over again and i actually add new things and make it worse like things i should have said or things that would possibly happen to me.
It's really bad people shouldn't have it at all
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 May, 2010 07:35 am
@yeilyn32,
hello yeilyn32. Welcome to A2K.

Distractions are good. Over thinking is sometimes a component of anxiety disorders. Do you find yourself getting stuck or worrying about "what if"s? If so, then those thought are generally based on being anxious rather than depressed. Anxiety and depression can (and oftentimes do) go hand-in-hand, or you can suffer with one but not the other. What do you do to try to distract yourself from your thoughts?
shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 May, 2010 07:49 am
I did not read all of the responses.. but I have to say that I have been toying with this very concept for myself for about a year now.

My world.. haha.. it is shaking. Things are going in all directions and it is scary .

And in the middle of it all is that camera.

When i am depressed , or anxious or otherwise having horrible reactions to some of the things going on, my camera is off.
When I can not take anymore, im all cried out, im screamed out, im feeling used , hated or other extreme emotions, that camera comes on and holy ****. What comes out even floors me.

I have gotten to the point where my shots are pretty much over in 1 take. Maybe two if I am lucky. No major set up, no posing etc.. so I do not have a lot to get lost in. I almost feel very.. ripped off.. by that.

But in that one or two seconds.. seeing it, picking up the camera, quick adjusting.. everything is suspended and I feel GOOD.
Not good

******* awesome.

I minimize all problems, Im clear, focused.. you name it.

These emotional roller coasters have gotten stronger with more experience in the creative field. I see a huge difference in my life and my ability to function now that I didnt before. I see patterns. I see begining and ends of cycles.. and I can see it all around my camera.

Odd.
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 May, 2010 08:33 am
@shewolfnm,
I can think of very few members of a2k who are not neurotic, I happen to like shewolf who happens to be very neurotic. In fact, the only a2k person I don't think is neurotic is Eva. I also like Eva. There are some on a2k I think are psychotic, some of them them are scary, some are funny.
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yeilyn32
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 May, 2010 07:55 am
@JPB,
My doctor said I might have anxieties and I have alot of other things like a little bit of asthma and claustophobic and other things and yea i am pretty emotianal and i worry alot
But i always look fine no matter what so people can never tell
I keep it on the down low and to myself and i try my best to not worry but it really is just me and i just can't help it so i think i could never really get rid of it no matter how hard it try

I do think what if and lead to multiples of conclusion
I always imagine the worst in everything..But then i try to think of good also
But then it always leads to the worst so it's a back and forth battle with myself
I cope with it and i'm already use to it
B
ut it also has its advantages in things because i think so much that i know how to cope with real life situations easily, or anything coming my way really =D
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yeilyn32
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 May, 2010 08:10 am
@JPB,
Yea i try to distract myself from my thoughts...pretty much all my life i ignored everything that would make me emotional but..then last year i started to change that..and well haha it's not going so well
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ladyfauna
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Feb, 2015 09:53 pm
I have often wondered why I was 'different' from other people. Even as a very young child I have realized that most of the people around me thought I was a bit odd. Things that interested me were much different than others my age.
Now, as an adult, I still realize how different I am from others I know. Only now I refer to it as being unique. I find myself still fascinated by all things creative.
Although this is something that should be rewarding to me, I think it goes hand in hand with the deep depression I have been in for so many years.
I have gotten help, but do not seem to be improving. It is a little comforting that the correlation between the two is addressed, but I wish some headway would be made for successful therapy and treatment.
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carloslebaron
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Feb, 2015 10:05 am
To me creativity and mental illness are always welcome as long as the creativity of the individual is accepted as such, not so as a reflection of our reality

The so called"perfectionism" is just a desired attribute that is pursued by the creationist, however, with this attempt to reach such a level of perfectionism, the individual will look for tools that will enhance his wishes instead of portraying reality.

One common example is "photoshop", where the photographer will "fix" the errors or deformities in the face and body of a woman in order to make a better appearance of her in the picture.

The danger with this acceptance of mental ill people with their creations, is that the rest can fall in the same world of fantasy.

One common example is Albert Einstein, who currently has been diagnosed -in base of records obtained by family and people who knew him- as a retarded, or autistic, or as suffering with ADD.

His famous "theories of relativity" are the creation of a perfectionist, looking for the perfect result in an imperfect phenomenon.


The universe itself is imperfect, there is no a complete order but things happen mostly by chance. There is no way to predict at perfection something when there is no control of it, and what we can predict will be always subjected to what the new phenomenon will come with, something that is unknown until a new observation is made.

So, the "perfect equations and formulas" are just an attempt, not so the rule, and here is when imagination overcomes knowledge, and when fantasy rules over wisdom: people taking seriously the imaginary world of a mental ill individual.

When is about music, there is no boundaries because music is a distraction, a vehicle that brings different kind of feelings, and it won't challenge what we know as reality unless we let music (specially with lyrics) to rule over our behavior.

Creativity doesn't belong only to mental ill people, but it is more notorious in them, because they concentrate in one or two activities and pay no attention to other duties in their lives. This concentration solely in music or painting allows them to master their activity.

For people who is not mental ill, the daily responsibilities impede them a total concentration with their creativity.

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