Archive for June, 2010

Sorry for my silence. As you can imagine it has been a hectic few weeks.

I just finished watching an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. It featured a character who was schizophrenic. It struck me that she was aware of her disease, and yet she lived a life of childlike fantasy. Now to be honest, my only experience with someone with schizophrenia is my aunt, who at this point I am no longer sure if she actually has that diagnosis anymore. She was first diagnosed with schizophrenia and later bipolar. I don’t know if with the bipolar diagnosis they discovered she wasn’t schizophrenic or if she has both. Either way before she was rightly medicated, she was an angry, scary, unpredictable woman who caused my father a lot of pain growing up. So this image of schizophrenia, along with the subject in The Autobiography of a Schizophrenic Girl, is starting to change my understanding of schizophrenia.

But that is not — directly — what this post is about. The character’s child-like innocence (and I have to admit I fell in love with her character) got me thinking about the whole debate about creativity and mental health. There is a bit of a (somewhat silent, depending on your circles) disagreement over whether mental illness helps creativity and/or whether medication stunts that creativity. Up to this point I have been on the fence about it and didn’t really know which was true. I think I’m starting to lean toward a certain stance.

It is pretty widely accepted that some of Western civilization’s (which leads to another question as to the cultural relativity of mental illness–but another time) greatest artists, authors, and poets suffered from mental illness. It is pretty widely known that Edgar Allen Poe (a favorite of mine) suffered from some pretty dark depressions. I mean just reading his poems–well, I shouldn’t joke about that. Emily Dickinson was a recluse, and I don’t know if it’s been verified but I know of rumors that she suffered from mental illness. I heard something about Van Gogh (sp?) but don’t take my word for it. My favorite poet wrote a poem about suicide: Robert Frost’s A Dust of Snow (it may just be called Snow).

From my own personal experience, I am most creative when I am depressed. I just don’t have the energy to live out that creativity. I am also highly creative when I am hypomanic, but I don’t have the where-with-all to take pen or pencil to paper. Due to the ADHD I don’t remember these sparks of creativity.

Enter medication. Since stabilizing in my medication, I am less prone to creative impulses. However, they may come less frequently, but I am able to remember them. So that though an idea for a painting emerged during a depression (and possible act of self-injury), I have been able to retain the memory of the image so that I can paint it when I get a chance.

So, yes, I believe mental illness does spark creativity. I also believe that medication helps maintain a longer lifespan. So, since being stable I haven’t written any poems. I haven’t continued my fanfiction. Inspiration for art is few and far between. And that is hard for someone who has defined herself in part by her creativity. It’s one of my strengths in a job interview. It helped me survive my childhood.

But being medicated has allowed me to get married and stay married. It has helped me be more successful in my job than even I thought I was. It has helped me get rid of major credit card debt. It has helped me to begin advocating for myself. It has helped me remember to feed my pets, who I love as my children. It has helped me even think of having children as a possibility.

So yes, I vote on the side that medication does dampen your creativity–or at least it does mine. But I would rather have 20 creations in 20 years, than the same amount in 1 year only. Because if I wasn’t on these medications, my last creation would be my own corpse.

Advertisements

“Are you journalists, or are you rushing a sorority?”

So was the questions posed by John Stewart on Wednesday’s “The Daily Show”. He was talking about how there could have been very deep probing questions after the debacle of what’s her name (the 80-something white house news correspondent who abruptly retired after putting her foot in her mouth). Instead, it seemed that every single news source was wondering who was going to take her seat in the FRONT ROW. Yes, instead of wondering about censorship, blind allyship, etc., reporters care more about who gets the FRONT ROW seat. And, as John Stewart so aptly put it, there’s really nothing that great about the FRONT ROW seat. In fact, that FRONT ROW is in a very tiny room. And the people in the FRONT ROW have not exactly been asking pungent questions as of late.

Now, I will gladly admit that I get all my news information from John Stewart these days, so my views and thoughts are completely biased. But, interesting nonetheless?

But onto less thinking-required topics. I am quite bored and quite lonely. My husband got promoted. Two hours away from where we live. We had less than a week to find a place to live and move. He’s there now as we thankfully found a place. I’m still here with the kiddos as I have to finish this last week of work. What it means though is that I’m sitting in the apartment with no method of leisure but the computer completely alone (except for the pets). And surfing the internet is not all that exciting. Of course there’s cleaning to be done, but a lot of it can’t be done until I can get someone to transport all the furniture we’re donating.

And on this lonely, boring Saturday night, I suddenly felt particularly distanced from my college friends. We were a pretty close group, and I feel like I don’t know what’s going on with any of them. I sent an email last week with updates and have so far gotten no replies. I sent another one today to tell them about the promotion, so we’ll see. I know, I know, don’t read too much into it. They all have busy lives. People drift apart, it’s natural. But man I didn’t want to lose these girls. I just feel like a million miles and a thousand years away from them. And of course none of them are as addicted to Facebook as I am.

I’m starting to wonder if I should wean myself off of my Facebook habit. Here’s the conflict: not only does Facebook take up time, but it’s a stress reliever. After a long day at work I can go work on my “farm”. Yes, I am one of those annoying Farmville people. And I understand people get sick of seeing those statuses. But guess what, I don’t always care about theirs! You know what I do? I ignore the damn statuses I don’t care about. Not to mention you can block applications and they won’t show up in your feed. I actually had an old professor (who is also facebook friends with me) message me and ask me to change my settings so that my Farmville status updates don’t show up to all my friends. Are you kidding me? Not to mention I could not find this “magic” setting. So I told her to just block the damn thing. I was so angry I seriously considered defriending her (borderline rage, anyone?). Even now the whole thing makes my blood boil. Grrr. I think it’s probably also because I go on facebook for these two aps, not even connecting anymore really, because none of my friends use it for that. In fact, if there was a way to play Farmville out of Facebook and still get all the privileges, I’d do it in a minute. But the problem is that the thing that makes it worth playing is the bonuses you get from other people’s statuses!

Wow, I had no idea this was going to turn into a rant about Farmville, of all things. That is so lame. I apologize, if you’ve even continued reading.

But I do feel rather glum right now. A mixture of everything really. And I haven’t slept well the past couple of nights. And the Seroquel doesn’t even really make me drowsy anymore. So I can’t sleep through this boredom.

Please, just let it be Friday.

But Howie Day’s “Collide” just came on Pandora. Perhaps things are looking up?