Category: Mental health

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Anxiety Relief Solutions
Depression and Creativity
Mental health & fitness articles
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Can Depression Help Us To Be More Creative?

Can Depression Help Us To Be More Creative?

“Though my dark side is dormant right now, it continues to play a big role in whatever capacity I have to be creative.” Jessica Lange said of her depression years ago that “it was really a tough one. And when I came out, I felt like I had gone through something and come out the […]

Creativity and madness: The Abnormal Psychology of Creativity

Creativity and madness: The Abnormal Psychology of Creativity

By Cat Robson Just what is ‘normal’ for a creative person? After trying clumsily to conform to what others consider normal for much of my life, I’m beginning to appreciate my own moods and personality. Are creative people like us ‘abnormal’?  In his paper The Abnormal Psychology of Creativity, Steven James Bartlett writes…. Norwegian painter […]

Living More Fully and Creatively Without So Much Inner Static

Living More Fully and Creatively Without So Much Inner Static

As creative people, we may experience higher intensity emotions, imaginations, sensitivity and thinking. But we may need relief at times from our teeming brains and active inner lives to reduce stress and be more creative. ~ ~ Martina McBride talked about creating her album “Everlasting“: “I wanted to make a record that was easy, where […]

Dealing with self-sabotage: Getting past I'm not good enough

Dealing with self-sabotage: Getting past I’m not good enough

By Cat Robson My very well-meaning parents were far from Mommie Dearest. Nevertheless, they were raised to believe, for instance, that babies shouldn’t be picked up when they cried because comforting them would ‘spoil’ them. They were very sparing in their compliments, fearing we’d get swelled heads. We kids survived, but thriving has been a […]

Sinead O'Connor on her creativity and dealing with depression

Sinead O’Connor on her creativity and dealing with depression

On or about April 24, 2012, an announcement was posted on her site www.sinead-oconnor.com that Sinead O’Connor has had to cancel her tour. She posted the following note: “With enormous regret I must announce that I have to cancel all touring for the year as am very unwell due to bi polar disorder. “As you […]

Mental health and creativity posts

Mental health and creativity posts

The impact of mood disorders and other mental health challenges on being creative. The Mad Hatter : “Have I gone mad?” Alice : “I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.” ~ ~ ~~~~ Originally posted 2012-10-29 10:59:55.

James Ellroy: "Crazy suppressed s--- came out and blew up in my face."

James Ellroy: “Crazy suppressed s— came out and blew up in my face.”

From article “How James Ellroy lost his mind,” The Week, October 8, 2009. In 2001 the best-selling noir novelist had a nervous breakdown while on a book tour. James Ellroy has an intimate knowledge of despair, says Sean Woods in Rolling Stone. In 2001 he was at the top of his professional game, a best-selling […]

Milla Jovovich: "Inspire yourself"

Milla Jovovich: “Inspire yourself”

“As a model, a lot of girls think, ‘I can just show up and be beautiful.’ I always showed up with the intent of, I’m a muse and I will inspire you because I am inspiring myself.” Milla Jovovich was born in Kiev, Ukraine to father Bogdanovitch Jovovich (Serbian doctor) and mother Galina Loginova Jovovich […]

Don't Mess With My Brain [Mental Health and Creative People]

Don’t Mess With My Brain [Mental Health and Creative People]

In the movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975, based on the novel by Ken Kesey), criminal Randle Patrick McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) is transferred to a mental institution due to his apparently deranged behavior, which turns out to be a deliberate gambit by him to serve out his sentence in an easier place than […]

Thoughts are just thoughts

Thoughts are just thoughts

“Sometimes I’ve believed six impossible things before breakfast.” – The White Queen in “Through the Looking Glass” “Our faculty of attention affects us in countless ways. Our very perception of reality is tied closely to where we focus our attention. Only what we pay attention to seems real to us, whereas whatever we ignore—no matter […]

Athletes can also struggle with mental health challenges

Athletes can also struggle with mental health challenges

One of my stereotypes has been that athletes, especially men, are “tough” – physically and emotionally “less sensitive” and less vulnerable to mental health challenges. Not true, of course. Like many sterotypes tend to be, my presumptions have been based on common media depictions of athletes I’ve seen over the years – mainly the occasional […]

Eric Maisel on meaning and depression

Eric Maisel on meaning and depression

Author, artist, performer, and creativity coach Janet Riehl interviewed Eric Maisel, PhD about his book “The Van Gogh Blues: A Creative Person’s Path Through Depression.” Janet Riehl: Eric, what I hear you saying is that when creative people in particular maintain a connection to their mission or purpose (you call it a Life Purpose Statement […]

Living a more balanced life

Living a more balanced life

How can we make our lives less stressful, yet still productive and creative? In her article Living a Balanced Life [also published on Positive Psychology News Daily], Dana Arakawa outlines some helpful perspectives and approaches. She notes: “In this age of multi-tasking and instantaneous communication through cell phones, e-mail, and BlackBerrys that do both and […]

Reduce how you compromise yourself by dealing with anxious thoughts

Reduce how you compromise yourself by dealing with anxious thoughts

“The equipment used in connection with this operation will consist of the following items: 1 unopened newspaper; 1 sterile can opener; 1 large sterile plate; 1 sterile fork; 1 sterile spoon; 2 sterile brushes; 2 bars of soap; sterile paper towels.” That is part of a long memo from Howard Hughes on how to open […]

Relieving the effects of SAD (seasonal affective disorder)

Relieving the effects of SAD (seasonal affective disorder)

By Jen Crippen. Now that the clocks have been turned back the days feel very short. Darkness will fall earlier everyday until December 21st, then the days start getting longer. This time of year many of us (including myself) start to feel the winter blues.  The past few years I have made a few changes […]

Is it creative obsession or a disorder?

Is it creative obsession or a disorder?

How obsessive are you? Writer Bertil Hjert asks: “Are you neat? Do you like to keep everything organized, orderly and tidy? While these are great character traits in the normal course for both your work environment and your home environment, they can become confining when taken to an extreme.” From article Do You Want to […]

Madness and creativity: do we need to be crazy?

Madness and creativity: do we need to be crazy?

The mythology of the mad artist continues in various forms, supported to some extent by research. For example, there are studies indicating writers are more susceptible to depression. Video from World Science Festival: ‘Genius’ Dark Cousin’ – “When talking about geniuses, the conversation inevitably strays towards topics of eccentricity, or even madness. One needs only […]

Pain and suffering and developing creativity

Pain and suffering and developing creativity

“I’ve suffered enough. When does my artwork improve?” Refrigerator magnet from stickergiant.com “Suffering is justified as soon as it becomes the raw material of beauty.” Jean-Paul Sartre The tortured artist mythology is an ancient and enduring notion: The idea that art depends on suffering, and artists are likely to be fraught with suffering and dark […]

Punishing and sabotaging ourselves

Punishing and sabotaging ourselves

Princess Diana is among many people who have self-harmed. She admitted cutting her arms and legs, explaining, “You have so much pain inside yourself that you try and hurt yourself on the outside because you want help.” [From the page Cutting.] Physical self-harm is a complex experience, not simply explained as just a cry for […]

The Edge of Madness: Black Swan and Artistic Expression

The Edge of Madness: Black Swan and Artistic Expression

In another outstanding post, cognitive psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman includes a wide range of material on creativity and mental health. Here is an excerpt: In the movie Black Swan, the ballerina Nina Sayers (played by Natalie Portman) is asked by the director to “lose herself” in the role of the black swan in the ballet […]

The creative experience: intensity or madness

The creative experience: intensity or madness

By Cat Robson. As I discovered over the years in my own interactions with the mental health system, when someone with a creative personality is seen through the eyes of those who have a different temperament, such as scientists and doctors, the result can be mislabeling and misdiagnosis. People who are uncomfortable with extreme states […]

Woman interrupted: misdiagnosis and medication of sensitivity and giftedness

Woman interrupted: misdiagnosis and medication of sensitivity and giftedness

By Cat Robson. What makes creative and highly sensitive people accept, and even welcome, a diagnosis of bipolar disorder or other mental illness? Are psychiatrists equipped to recognize and support creativity, high sensitivity and giftedness? Who determines where creative intensity ends and mental illness begins? Do medications put our creativity and sensitivity at risk? Over […]

Artists and Addiction - Part 2

Artists and Addiction – Part 2

[Continued from Part 1] A disposition to use substances to deal with emotional challenges can start with being prescribed medications. In the book Gifted Grownups: The Mixed Blessings of Extraordinary Potential, Lisa, age 14, talks about being given Valium by a doctor: “Taking pills or smoking a joint helped get me through the day.” She […]

Artists and Addiction

Artists and Addiction

“Let’s just say I needed a cocktail when we finished that day.” Amy Adams was referring to shooting a scene in “American Hustle”, which a Los Angeles Times article describes as “a scene in which her character, Sydney, a steely, sexy con artist, confronts her lover, Irving (Christian Bale), about the authenticity of his devotion.” […]

Happy Pills In America

Happy Pills In America

Our Complex Love Affair With Designer Consciousness From Medical News Today The spectacular increase in the use of psychiatric drugs over the past 50 years involved what a University at Buffalo historian calls “a massive break with what we consider ‘normal’ mental health,” one linked to myriad social and cultural changes in America. “Happy Pills […]

Cinematherapy - use movies for personal growth

Cinematherapy – use movies for personal growth

The latest form of bibliotherapy Being mindfully aware of our reactions to movies can be a potent way to explore our inner life, and enhance our mental health and personal development. A Psychology Today article, Reel Therapy by John W. Hesley, notes, “Although people might be surprised when a therapist recommends a movie, using fiction […]

Perfectionism and Depression: What to Do When Being a Perfectionist Drags You Down

Perfectionism and Depression: What to Do When Being a Perfectionist Drags You Down

Here is an excerpt from an article by Sedona Training Associates staff and Hale Dwoskin: Do you ever think the following self-limiting beliefs? * It’s not OK to make a mistake * People will not like me if I’m not perfect * I’ll avoid anything I can’t do well * I’m a failure because I […]

Peter D. Kramer on normality and mental health

Peter D. Kramer on normality and mental health

Being exceptional is by definition to be out of the ordinary, not normal in some notable ways, and according to some common standards of behavior or values. Processing information much faster, for example, or being able to generate many more creative and unusual ideas than most people, or being highly sensitive. Looking in a direction […]

Mastering emotional overload but still being highly sensitive

Mastering emotional overload but still being highly sensitive

“May you live in interesting times” is reputed to be an ancient Chinese proverb and curse. We are certainly in an amazing period of history, with wonderful changes and opportunities for social and personal growth – but also with much cause for overwhelm, especially if you are highly sensitive, or dealing with challenging emotions like […]

Dealing With Our Fears

Dealing With Our Fears

“Openness doesn’t come from resisting our fears but from coming to know them well.” Pema Chodron – director of Buddhist monastery Gampo Abbey. In the safety of a movie theatre, it can be fun to get scared by a monster like Dr. Hannibal ‘The Cannibal’ Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) in “The Silence of the Lambs.” But […]

Eric Maisel on emotional mastery

Eric Maisel on emotional mastery

Psychologist and creativity coach Eric Maisel comments: “Mindfulness includes minding your emotions. If you know it will rile you to re-read that curt email from that literary agent, delete it. What are you saving it for? Become someone who is able to mind her emotions… “You get angry, you get envious, you get depressed. You […]

Negative emotions - How do we create them?

Negative emotions – How do we create them?

Why do we experience troubling, disrupting, and often self-limiting, emotions? For example, anxiety – probably most of us experience it to some degree, at some times. But it isn’t the same as being afraid of something tangible like falling from a thrill ride. Or is it? Morty Lefkoe explains, “An emotion is the experiential, chemical, […]

Giftedness, sensitivity and psychiatric drugs: why do we take them and why do we quit?

Giftedness, sensitivity and psychiatric drugs: why do we take them and why do we quit?

By Cat Robson What are some of the considerations that lead sensitive and gifted adults to take psychiatric medications? What are some of the reasons people stop taking medications? What are the alternatives? My inner life, and sometimes my outer life, is painful/chaotic/confusing. The DSM symptoms list for certain mental illnesses seem to fit me […]

Creativity to fend off madness

Creativity to fend off madness

“Everybody’s a mad scientist, and life is their lab. We’re all trying to experiment to find a way to live, to solve problems, to fend off madness and chaos.” Director David Cronenberg In her article Creativity, the Arts, and Madness, Maureen Neihart, Psy.D. notes there is “a long-held view in psychiatry that artistic endeavors heal […]

Creativity and madness - Rollo May and Emily Dickinson on mental health and creative people

Creativity and madness – Rollo May and Emily Dickinson on mental health and creative people

The topic of mental health and creative people is endlessly intriguing to many people, myself included, and is addressed in many articles on the Talent Development Resources series of sites. Here are a couple of related items, plus links to more: “Creative people, as I see them, are distinguished by the fact that they can […]

Susan Smalley: ADHD is beneficial to humanity

Susan Smalley: ADHD is beneficial to humanity

Susan L. Smalley, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA, and founder of the Mindful Awareness Research Center. In her article Living And Loving ADHD, she writes about her husband Kevin Wall who, along with Al Gore, just won an Environmental Media Award for the creation of Live […]

Peter D. Kramer

You’re crazy. Or maybe not.

Do you ever feel depressed, anxious, obsessed, compulsive, too sensitive – or just out of it? Does that mean you’re really crazy? What does ‘crazy’ mean anymore, with so many categories of mental disorder? What does ‘normal’ even mean? Peter D. Kramer, clinical professor of psychiatry at Brown University, notes “Diagnostic labels are proliferating, and […]

Developing creativity: Orna Ross on meditation

Developing creativity: Orna Ross on meditation

I’ve always thought of meditation as something I have to do on the floor with my legs crossed, which is just too darn uncomfortable. In fact, I’ve experienced meditative states all my life and didn’t know it. Orna Ross writes in her ebook Inspiration Meditation: Towards the end of my first novel, Lovers Hollow, the […]