Category: Mental health

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Depression and Creativity
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Can stress and bad moods spur creativity?

Can stress and bad moods spur creativity?

According to research by professor Modupe Akinola of Columbia Business School and colleagues, negative mood-triggering situations and stress can in some ways enhance creative expression. An article on the research asks, “Where does creativity come from, and how can it be harnessed? “The answer may be a dark one, says Professor Modupe Akinola, whose research […]

Ingmar Bergman on mastering anxiety, depicting joy

Ingmar Bergman on mastering anxiety, depicting joy

As journalist Charles McNulty writes, Ingmar Bergman [1918-2007] “will always be remembered first and foremost as one of the most influential of European auteurs, a filmmaker whose enthralling forays into characters’ interior darkness were unmatched in their psychological acuity and inward intensity.” [From “Bergman a giant not only of film but of the stage,” Los […]

Madness and creativity: do we need to be crazy?

Madness and creativity: do we need to be crazy?

~ ~ ~ ~ The idea of the mad artist is supported to some extent by research, and the experiences of mental illness for many creative people. What do psychologists say? Here is a video on the topic: “Connecting strength and vulnerability of the creative brain” – PBS, July 25, 2014. “Why have so many […]

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 […]

Emotion Regulation

Emotion Regulation

How we relate to our emotions can deeply impact our experience of life, and how well we are able to pursue talents and passions. Trying to block or “escape” what we view as negative feelings or emotions can block access to parts of ourselves we might develop. Laura L.C. Johnson writes in a Positive Psychology […]

Developing Creativity: Our Stuff is the Raw Material

Developing Creativity: Our Stuff is the Raw Material

One of the enduring ideas about developing creativity is to that creative people such as writers need to “get out of their own way” so they can more freely express their inner experience. It is also potentially a core benefit of counseling or psychotherapy. But what does that really mean: getting out of our own […]

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 […]

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 […]

Gifted and Talented, Drugs and Alcohol

Gifted and Talented, Drugs and Alcohol

Many talented people with exceptional artistic and intellectual abilities have used drugs and alcohol. Sometimes they risk addiction. Edie Falco says her past alcoholism has helped make her role as an addicted nurse even more authentic in “Nurse Jackie.” Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman says he used drugs and alcohol earlier in his life. “It was […]

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 […]

Imagery and Biofeedback for Health

Imagery and Biofeedback for Health

Wild Divine offers interactive biofeedback programs that enable you to control computer visual displays, including games, to support meditation and stress relief. Wild Divine programs have been created by leaders including Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Joan Borysenko, Zen Master Nissim Amon and others. “The exercises in Healing Rhythms affect not only the […]

Making meaning with the help of therapy and self exploration

Making meaning with the help of therapy and self exploration

“While we’re here, let’s live fully. There are lots of things that masquerade as having the key to life — religion, culture. But ultimately we have to make decisions on our own. And we will make mistakes. And that’s OK, because we’re human. It’s a struggle to find meaning, but that struggle is the meaning.” […]

Achievement pressure and the word salad breakdown

Achievement pressure and the word salad breakdown

The term “nervous breakdown” may be loose and non-medical, but still somewhat useful and descriptive.  If it is extreme enough, the experience may get called a psychosis. One of the things that intrigued me in the story below is the symptom of “word salad” – which the Wikipedia page on Schizophasia explains is “confused, and […]

Resources on Creative People, Personality and Mental Health

Resources on Creative People, Personality and Mental Health

This long page includes a video of my online 1 hour presentation, plus multiple short video excerpts, plus notes and multiple links to articles and other resources. Main topics: Personality: High Sensitivity | Self Concept / Self Esteem Mental Health: Anxiety | Depression | Trauma Sections include: A Complex Personality Insecurity and Androgyny High Sensitivity […]

Eric Maisel on investing meaning in our life and art for mental health

Eric Maisel on investing meaning in our life and art for mental health

Eric Maisel, PhD is author of The Van Gogh Blues: The Creative Person’s Path Through Depression. In our interview, he addresses some of the meaning and mood issues facing creators, noting that when we consciously make meaning, we improve our lives and mental health. Q: The kinds of anxiety we call stage fright, or fear […]

Social Media and the Holiday Blues

Social Media and the Holiday Blues

By Rose Haywood Social media has provided us new ways to come together on a variety of platforms and across cultures, but it may also contribute to feelings of isolation and even depression. According to a recent study from the University of Michigan, frequent use of Facebook in particular was identified as having a negative […]

Cutting and high sensitivity

Cutting and high sensitivity

One of the hallmarks of being creative is sensitivity. But for many people, that sensitivity can lead to feelings of overwhelm and chaos. Some deal with their high sensitivity very well, with adequate self care, respecting their needs for boundaries, and by retreating. But some people take drugs, and others self-injure to deal with their […]

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 […]

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 […]

Traumatic Childhood, Creative Adult

Traumatic Childhood, Creative Adult

Halle Berry said she recalls being terrified that her violent father, who physically abused her mother, would turn on her. “I think I’ve spent my adult life dealing with the sense of low self-esteem that sort of implanted in me. Somehow I felt not worthy.” She explained, “Before I’m ‘Halle Berry,’ I’m little Halle…a little […]

Elyn Saks, Schizophrenia and Creativity

Elyn Saks, Schizophrenia and Creativity

Cognitive psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D. notes that schizotypy, a milder version of schizophrenia, “consists of a constellation of personality traits that are evident in some degree in everyone.” “Research confirms a link between schizotypy and creative achievement. In particular, ‘positive’ schizotypal traits such as unusual perceptual experiences and magical beliefs tend to be elevated […]

Fear and trembling and an audience – heal anxiety

A fate worse than death Speaking in front of an audience is reportedly more fearsome than death. It doesn’t have to be a crowd – simply another person. But an audience of any size can be helpful in encouraging our creative expression and personal development – more so if we can be relaxed and authentic. […]

Running From Crazy docu by Barbara Kopple with Mariel Hemingway

Running From Crazy docu by Barbara Kopple with Mariel Hemingway

Running from Crazy is a new documentary by Barbara Kopple. “Through the eyes of Mariel Hemingway…it chronicles the story of three of the author’s grandchildren, Mariel, Margaux Hemingway and Joan ‘Muffet’ Hemingway (diagnosed with “bipolar schizophrenia”), daughters of Jack Hemingway, and their struggles with the family history of substance abuse, mental illness and suicide. “The […]

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 […]

On being restless with jagged edges

On being restless with jagged edges

“I believe that curiosity, wonder and passion are defining qualities of imaginative minds and great teachers; that restlessness and discontent are vital things; and that intense experience and suffering instruct us in ways that less intense emotions can never do. “I believe, in short, that we are equally beholden to heart and mind, and that […]

The Creative Adult is the Child Who Survived

The Creative Adult is the Child Who Survived

“The Creative Adult is the Child Who Survived” – From the facebook page of Artizen Magazine Many, if not most, people experience some kind of trauma in life. How does creative expression help people deal with it, to heal and recover? How can surviving painful experiences sometimes fuel creativity? See quotes by and about many […]

Jennifer Capriati on treating her depression

Jennifer Capriati on treating her depression

“Sometimes you get to a point where you can’t stop what you are thinking. It’s like you’re being taken over by a demon.” Many talented people are faced with mental health challenges, such as depression. The following are excerpts from the article: Jennifer Capriati tries to beat her demons, By Wayne Coffey, NYDailyNews.com July 15th […]

Eric Maisel on distraction addiction

Eric Maisel on distraction addiction

Creativity coach Eric Maisel, PhD points out the insidious attraction of what he calls “special addictions that might be dubbed the distraction addictions.” Among these, he lists “compulsive Internet surfing, online shopping, and video game playing that have sprung up alongside our technological advances. “These new addictions are a lure for everybody, but they are […]

Be Your Own Therapist

Be Your Own Therapist

Trauma takes many forms, and has different levels of impact on our mental health for each of us. In addition to professional counseling, there are many resources for self-healing. See quotes by and about many artists who have experienced rape, physical abuse and other traumatic and emotionally challenging experiences, and use creative expression to help […]

The upside of our dysfunctions

The upside of our dysfunctions

“So many good things have happened to me because of how unhealthy I’ve been mentally.” The photo shows Judd Apatow directing his wife, Leslie Mann, on the set of “Knocked Up,” which he also produced and wrote. Other credits include “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story,” and the acclaimed “Freaks and Geeks” TV […]

Robert Epstein on the teen brain

Robert Epstein on the teen brain

In an article, psychologist and editor Robert Epstein, PhD asks, “We blame teen turmoil on immature brains. But did the brains cause the turmoil, or did the turmoil shape the brains?” He says brain imaging studies “find that teens and adults use their brains somewhat differently when performing certain tasks” and that such studies “are […]

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 […]