Creativity 'closely entwined with mental illness'
Creativity is often part of a mental illness, with writers particularly susceptible, according to a study of more than a million people.
Writers had a higher risk of anxiety and bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, unipolar depression, and substance abuse, the Swedish researchers at the Karolinska Institute found.
They were almost twice as likely as the general population to kill themselves.
The dancers and photographers were also more likely to have bipolar disorder.
As a group, those in the creative professions were no more likely to suffer from psychiatric disorders than other people.
But they were more likely to have a close relative with a disorder, including anorexia and, to some extent, autism, the Journal of Psychiatric Research reports.
Lead researcher Dr Simon Kyaga said the findings suggested disorders should be viewed in a new light and that certain traits might be beneficial or desirable.
For example, the restrictive and intense interests of someone with autism and the manic drive of a person with bipolar disorder might provide the necessary focus and determination for genius and creativity.
Similarly, the disordered thoughts associated with schizophrenia might spark the all-important originality element of a masterpiece.
Dr Kyaga said: "If one takes the view that certain phenomena associated with the patient's illness are beneficial, it opens the way for a new approach to treatment.
"In that case, the doctor and patient must come to an agreement on what is to be treated, and at what cost.
"In psychiatry and medicine generally there has been a tradition to see the disease in black-and-white terms and to endeavour to treat the patient by removing everything regarded as morbid."
Beth Murphy, head of information at Mind, said bipolar disorder personality traits could be beneficial to those in creative professions, but it may also be that people with bipolar disorder are more attracted to professions where they can use their creative skills.
"It is important that we do not romanticise people with mental health problems, who are too often portrayed as struggling creative geniuses.
"We know that one in four people will be diagnosed with a mental health problem this year and that these individuals will come from a range of different backgrounds, professions and walks of live. Our main concern is that they get the information and support that they need and deserve.
- Novelist Virginia Woolf, who wrote A Room of One's Own and To the Lighthouse, had depression and drowned herself
- Fairytale author Hans Christian Andersen, who wrote The Ugly Duckling and The Little Mermaid, had depression
- US author and journalist Ernest Hemingway, who wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls, had depression and killed himself with a shotgun
- Author and playwright Graham Greene, who wrote the novel Brighton Rock, had bipolar disorder
Well....it has been quite a while since my last post, and interestingly when this piece of news development I got while watching BBC World earlier came just in time when I told myself that I must start writing again -- viola, this is a good start again!
See, it is not easy to come across some thought provoking news -- okay, there might be...but perhaps the subject wasn't that catchy enough and doesn't relate much to yours truly -- which, it must be admitted that the essence of one writer, or blogger or rambler whatsoever is the relation of oneself to he story or ramblings he or she must have. Without it one would not be able to pen down their thoughts, feelings and all other aspect of story telling, which in return will be evident in the out of flow, out of feel story...sans connection I would say.
What invited me to this piece of researched done by the Swedish scientists is it is obviously true.
Lets take people in the creative industry such as singer or actors -- how many of them got themselves in troubles and some ended up killing themselves by overdosing on drugs, a simple example of emotional disorders. I mean, what else they want in life when they got fame and being idolised and money to get them all the happiness they ever wanted.
As for another type of creative lot I must say artist posses some weird way of relating their feelings. This is my own personal experience and knowing more than one of them confirm my thought about their 'weirdness'. Talking to them is like talking to some poet, who would describe a very straight forward things or feelings in a rather complicated yet flowery way of saying it.
And I guess, writers suffer the most because unlike artists or dancers, writers need to feel the the whole A-Z of the story he write, the characters he created in the story and must emotionally absorb each and every one of his character in order to make them alive in order to make their readers on the other hand believing in the imaginary character (this of course if it is fiction) and mostly pen it down with words that'll filled with a wholesome fullness and passions. Without those, readers will definitely feel the lacklustre and he won't become a good writer.
What say you...