When Mental Health Stifles Creativity

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I must walk through a door once again on this journey— a door to a new psychiatrist.

It seems that change is always in store for me, and to end 2018 that has not changed much.

I have not written in a while here on The Bipolar Writer blog, because it has been a rough couple of weeks. My life has hit a rough patch with my social anxiety, which is typical of this time of the year. December seems to always be my worst month when it comes to my anxiety. There was hope at the start of 2018 that by now I would have a grasp on my social anxiety. It hasn’t happened though I have made some progress.

I recently met with another psychiatrist in the revolving door that is my local county run behavioral, mental health system. It is a pain in the ass to once again share my story with another psychiatrist. This is the third doctor change this year which continues the long tradition of changing doctors 2-3 times a year. I wish that I could find some normalcy in the system, but it makes sense. Doctors come and go in this business.

That brings me to the recent pull away from creativity because of my mental illness–my writing. The last two weeks the need that drove me all summer to finally put the finishing touches on my memoir, to continue to grow my blog, and start new projects has eluded me.

What I like to call this part of my mental health life is when creativity and mental health collide. Three times over the past two weeks I sat in front of my computer ready to take on the world. I sat there, in front of my computer staring off into the blank nothingness on the screen. What did I have that was so important to share on my blog? My mind was reeling. So much was happening and this was the place where sharing my story was so easy.

I tried to move on from blogging and write a new chapter in my memoir (recently I thought that it might be a good idea to add some chapters to my story.) My mind was drawing a blank. My anxiety was peaking, and it was impossible to make the words that usually come so easy to make sense. I decided to walk away for a few days. I considered never blogging again. I have blogged so much over the past year that it felt as if I had nothing left to say.

True enough, that was my mental health talking. It happens when my mental health and my creativity collide. I love blogging here on The Bipolar Writer blog. It means the world to me. I have so much more to talk about on every subject under the moon. It was a momentary weakness that I fought hard and won. I will be writing a lot of upcoming content for this blog. It is so important that we stick together and fight the stigma.

Stay strong in the fight.

Always Keep Fighting

James

Photo Credit:

The Creative Exchange

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Joanna Kosinska

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30 Replies to “When Mental Health Stifles Creativity”

  1. Sometimes you have to let go. Let loose. Unleash. The strongest creativity has never come from sheer calmness. It has always come from the feeling of devastation wrapping one’s life in a bind. Pain should be your motive and also your inspiration. Don’t just talk about pain. Describe it. Describe it like it’s a pleasure, or that it’s both pleasurable and painful and you cannot tell the difference.

    I’ve always been opposed to taking medicine for what they diagnosed me with: I entered a hospital, listed my “symptoms” and they diagnosed me with Schizophrenia, Asperger’s, Schizoaffective Disorder, Bipolar I, and “Suicidal Ideations”. You know what I called it? “Mixing ingredients into a Martini.” They want to make it complex, but in my mind, I am just myself. I have to take medicine, not for any of these things, but just out of the simple wisdom that if you want to stay sane, sometimes you have to give up what you want the most. And what I wanted the most was control. I am not Superman, though.

    As for the writing, there has been no greater brilliance throughout any of the classical writers than from the writing through their misery, whether personally experienced or observed.

    It sounds to me like you’re in a slump, and whether mentally ill or not, all writers and artists alike get into those.

    The trick is to know what has inspired you in the past, or to know exactly what gets you out of bed in the morning. For no one is dead unless they remain still.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. I am clinically depressed and this time of year, short days and low sunlight cause me both an increase in my fragmented mind and a decrease in productivity as far as my writing is concerned. I am attempting to complete a book which is impossible under current circumstance…I’m like a jumping bean from here to there and back again. Unlike you, I tend to concentrate on a blog post because it is shorter and usually a subject that keeps me from jumping as much. I find “writing through my misery” helps the fragmentation in my mind. Hope you are able to write a bunch very soon.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Hello fellow blogger. You read my article yesterday “who’s your gut”. I am a mental health therapist since 12 years. I invite you to research more the link between serotonin produced in the guts, abdominal treatment such acupuncture and depression and anxiety. Another article I also wrote is called “let it be let it go” it is worth a read. It is about anxiety. Medication is surely not the only solution. There is a lot of scientific methods out there to help you. There is a lot you can do. Maybe you did already but one thing is important to know : control over your own brain is possible and there is strong hope.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I am Bipolar 1 and I was in the county mental health system for years, seeing a different p-doc every time I went. Not having continuity is awful and I was never truly stable. I don’t know your situation fully, but I would recommend a private psychiatrist as soon as it is financially feasible. It literally changed my life. Your creativity depends on your stability, so consider that as you go forward in treatment.

    Aside from that, patience is our best friend. I wish you well and hope you find your creative spark soon.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Similarly, I am having difficulty writing right now. I have so many ideas, but when it comes to writing them out, my mind draws a blank. Your blog is amazing, never give up, even on those bad days! xo

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you so much for sharing. I’m sorry it’s been rough and I’m right there with you. This really helped me and I hope things look up for you. “When creativity and mental health collide.” Damn. Stay strong, keep fighting.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m so sorry. Some people love to glorify mental health and how “the smartest and most creative people all had depression.” Unfortunately, having a poor mental health is not a crowning achievement, nor is it something that should be stigmatized. It’s a complicated situation and I hope everything works out well for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I think I would give up if my psychiatrist changed that often 😦 I really wish you could find a good fit and some stability.

    Like

  9. It’s ok to feel a writers block and it’s even better to feel it and still write about the writers block. Keep writing whatever comes to mind, even if it doesn’t make sense. You are helping so many others and you will make progress!

    Like

      1. I have been trying to do that more and reach out to people to be like “hey. I am still human too.” Because there is a lot of mental health stigma out there.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you! You too! It’s just sad to here about how many of us are denied jobs because we have mental illness

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I needed this today more than ever. Writing is everything to me, but I just can’t seem to find the motivation or the desire.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Keep writing, don’t ever ever give up, you have a gift, remember that. fight through the darkness, you can do it, I love your writing, my year has been bad to, my son suffers through similar as you, and I have in the past as well, we are an army, stay strong!

    Like

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