26 January 2016

Does mental illness instigate creativity

I have had some of my most intense creative moments in times of depression. Not that I've suffered depression that often. But when I did, I seemed to feel more deeply, more dramatically. That caused an outpouring of emotion onto paper, perhaps thinking that would revive me. If depression gets too deep, however, it can paralyze. Been there, too.

A close family member suffers from bipolar disorder. He described it to me like this:

"There’s a membrane in life and sometimes it’s impermeable. Nothing goes in and nothing comes out. That’s what it’s like to be in depression. Nothing you do can change its permeability. Sometimes the membrane becomes hyper permeable, and then everything comes in and everything goes out. It’s unstoppable. That’s mania. The neutral state is when some things come in and others go out in a balanced way. That’s what people call normal. It’s how I’ve come to think of bipolar.” 

I thought his description was rather brilliant. It made me understand. But when I asked what maintained the neutral state, he said that was something he was learning to control. Some day I will raise again the possibility that Na+, K+, Mg++ and Li+ may be the controls and that we cannot manage without their help in restoring order to the membrane permeability problem.They are tools for us to use in that regard.

It seems everyone is talking about depression, bipolar, and schizophrenia. Is there anyone who hasn't been affected?  Glenn Close is talking about her own depression, her sister's bipolar disorder and her nephew's schizoaffective disorder.  Carrie Fisher talks about bipolar disorder and her lifetime battle against manic depression.

Right now, I'm feeling happy. When I'm happy my thoughts tends to skip over hills and through meadows. They don't root deeply in my soul. They fly off my fingertips.

When I'm down, I search within myself for the answers. It seems so many creative people did that. Joseph Conrad, Vincent Van Gogh, Beethoven and many more. There is much speculation about historical figures and their mental afflictions that perhaps sparked their genius. Studies have suggested genetic links between mental disorders and creativity. Their conclusions are dubious.

Whatever the story, I know that I write differently depended on my mood. So if I want to write the deeply moving novel, I'll have to work off some of that joy as I go along.

No comments:

Post a Comment