Writing is an illness?

One of my favourite poets, Ernest Christopher Dowson was an alcoholic, a frequenter of the world’s oldest profession and died at the age of 30. Did he have a mental disorder? Quite possibly. However, in the final analysis what matters is that Dowson composed some fine poetry.

Mental illness is widespread. However the vast majority of those with mental health issues do not write and are not creative in other areas (for example as painters).

Many factors may cause a person to be creative. An appreciation of beauty coupled with parents who helped to foster creativity in the growing child may lead to him/her putting pen to paper. The creator may or may not have a mental health condition.

I also wonder whether one could conjecture (on the basis of this research) that anyone with an obsession (and writing is an obsession) has a mental health condition? Does the person who scours the internet for hours in search of rare stamps or coins have a mental health condition?


Have We Had Help?

So, science has just worked out that anyone who shows any kind of creativity is suffering from a mental disorder. Where do they get these notions from?Lala land?

In a recent article on the BBC:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19959565  entitled “Creativity closely entwined with mental illness” it was pointed out that writers have a higher risk of anxiety and bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, unipolar depression, and substance abuse, according to a team of researchers at the Swedish Karolinska Institute, led by Dr Simon Kyaga.

It went on to say that anyone who is in the least bit ‘creative’ is almost twice as likely to kill themselves; far more than the general population. According to the researchers, creativity is often part of a mental illness, with writers being particularly susceptible.

Thanks a lot folks; that maybe explains why I am so driven to write. It’s a funny thing but I’ve never ever thought of writing…

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5 thoughts on “Writing is an illness?

  1. V.M.Sang

    Well, there are an awful lot of people with a mental illness in that case. And what is a mental illness, anyway? Yes, something like bi-polar, or clinical depression. These things, and others, can ruin the person’s quality of life, even making working impossible in some cases. (I know of two where that’s the case.) But if the person can function in the world, and has a good quality of life, is it a mental illness?

    1. K Morris Poet Post author

      I agree with you, Vivienne. And, in particular with your final sentence, “But if the person can function in the world, and has a good quality of life, is it a mental illness?”. Best wishes. Kevin

  2. Victoria Zigler

    I think it’s just more noticeable with writer’s/musicians/artists because of public attention. To be honest though, if every group they say have a high risk of mental illness all had said illness, there would be very few people without one. Creative people are at high risk, but those who aren’t creative enough also are because they’re not expressing their feelings properly. Those who spend too much time online are at risk, but those who don’t spend much time online are because they don’t connect with people as often and aren’t socializing enough in some shape or form. And on and on it goes. Anyone could potentially have a mental illness, and what counts for one depends on your definition of one.

    1. K Morris Poet Post author

      Many thanks for your comments, Tori. I agree with all that you say. On the online issue, I think this can become a problem when the person spending too much time on the internet neglects making friends in the real (off-line world), and doesn’t get enough fresh air and exercise.

      Best wishes. Kevin

      1. Victoria Zigler

        True. But that’s kind of my point: there’s a lot of things that can potentially lead to you ending up with a mental illness.

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