Working and living in a creative community has its pitfalls. The excitement of watching visionaries and creative personalities work their magic is infectious and addictive. The highs are high. Trying to make a living on the roller coaster of creative endeavors can take one to the depths however, and watching the most talented among us suffer through bouts of indecision, depression and insecurity can be excruciatingly painful.
I used to wonder if some of the creative people I met were simply self-indulgent and full of unreasonable expectations, or if some of them thought the old “tortured artist” label was something they had to adopt in order to truly create. New research into the connection between creativity and mood disorders is making me take a second look. Studies find that certain “ruminating” personality traits may contribute to creativity and mental health issues.
Read an article on CNNhealth.com and watch Kay Redfield Jamison talk about mood disorders and artistic creativity for more on this research into the link between creativity and mental health.
But just when I think there no hope for being creative AND mentally stable, a list of creative minds focused on making the world a better place brings me back to my senses. Check out Utne’s 50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World for 2009. Do these folks suffer from the highs and lows scientists claim are tied to creative thinking? If so, they are pushing beyond and overcoming it with amazing success. Scientists should be studying that phenomenon, don’t you think, how creativity combined with compassion may overcome linked mood disorders?