Time and time again, I run across the idea that there’s a fine line between extreme creativity and mental illness. I’m sure you’ve heard about “so and so historical figure” or “someone or other contemporary artist” having Bipolar disorder or depression, maybe even Schizophrenia. For example, some think General Sherman (yup, the Civil War dude) had Bipolar disorder. And certainly, I think there is a link between extreme creativity and altered brain chemistry or anatomy.
Factor in the importance of art therapy and creative expression in social rehabilitation programs, inpatient mental health units, outpatient day programs, and you can see the significance of molding thoughts and emotions to improve well-being.
I know, personally, that writing has been a wonderful outlet for me–even when it’s frustrating, LOL! And I bet I can safely say you’ve had a similar experience. Cool, right? (And no, I’m not blindly calling us all mentally ill.)
Anyway, to expand the “cool factor,” I’d like to share some links describing Creedmoor Psychiatric Center’s endeavor to encourage the creativity of those living with mental illness. Creedmoor is the largest state psychiatric facility in Queens, New York. In 1999, Jessica Yu filmed a documentary for HBO featuring the patients/artists and how they created their art in the context of mental illness.
- Wikipedia page describing Creedmoor
- Wikipedia page describing The Living Museum where the patients’ art was displayed
- Examples of art with descriptions of the artists and their illness.
Oh, oh, and don’t forget to check out Lydia’s Medical Monday–Did you know willow bark has bite?