Creativity and Mental Illness

Hi everyone! Recently, a fellow blogger published a wonderful piece entitled ‘psychological changes due to medication’. It can be found here → https://encodey.wordpress.com/2018/02/24/psychological-changes-due-to-medication/

This piece was very interesting for me, and is the inspiration behind today’s blog post. So please give their post a read first!

Now, onwards! Today I would like to discuss (drumroll) creativity and mental illness! Hark! A fascinating topic, really!

So, how has my mental illness influenced my artistic abilities? Well! At first my answer would be ‘derp? No it hasn’t?’ because on the surface everything appears to be the same. I still draw. I still write. But, aha, ladies and gentlefolk – is the result still the same?

Ahhhhh- nope. Not at all.

You see, before my art felt stunted. I had difficulty experiencing color and expressing myself with it. I couldn’t ‘finish’ a picture, always leaving them as raw sketches. To put this in concept, my wifey bought me coloring books to relax with and I had a hard time coloring them in because that’s how stunted I was.

Here’s the thing though. When I was ‘normal’ I used to draw mathematically. Everything was straight lines and the odd curves. I would start with the eyes, finish them, then draw the nose incrimentally. Yet when I was in an ‘episode’ I didn’t draw mathematically. I drew shapes and curves and motion – but it would have none of the details that my mathematical side would have. It was as if my brain was divided and constantly popping from one skill set to another.

Now that I am medicated and balanced on that medication (so just popping pills didn’t do it – I had to get the right cocktail going on) I have noticed a great difference in my art. I use color now. I am actually able to draw so easily that I am illustrating one of my novels with (gasp!) completely finished pictures! It’s like the two sides have merged and made me even more functional than ever before. Furthermore, I am able to do greyscale drawings in ink relatively swiftly that are adorable.

And my writing? Well my writing is actually more explosive of a change!

Before taking medication I struggled to write a thousand words a day. Writing felt like pulling teeth. I loved it, but couldn’t write a sequence. I would write a scene here from, say, the beginning of a novel, then a scene from later, and then a scene from the ending. I would just write a package of floating scenes and could barely tie them all together. It was terribly messy and disjointed. There would be plot holes, hanging threads, the whole deal.

Now? Now?! The first week I started my antipsychotics it was like a booming revelation. For a week straight I wrote 5,000 words a fucking day. I just felt that good, that inspired. And yes, it was all written in sequence.

Since being on medication, I’ve been writing sequentially. I’ve completely finished two novels and am halfway through 4 others that I’ve been working on the side. There are no more floating scenes, just completed books and so much plot work.

What’s more (oh yea, there’s more!)? I’ve started having stories come to me in dreams. It’s like my medication has allowed a sort of communication to happen, and I’m halfway through one novel based entirely off a dream and have started two others as well as received tips and conclusions to others in dreams. WHAAAAT? This is epic! It’s like now that I’m functional spirits are coming to me like ‘hey, here’s a writer, write my story for me!’ and I’m like ‘yeah sure, hand me that!’… and now I’ve literally got over a dozen novels going. I shit you not. I’m not working on them all right now, there’s just a lot on the back burner. But damn, I got so many tips and revelations for my stories from my dreams, I really really love it!

What’s else? My stories are lighter. My stories are brilliantly, genuinely, funny and light-hearted. I’ve found my tone, my voice, in a fantasy world that I came up with when I started medication. Since its conception it’s been a respite, a ‘happy place’ that I go to. It’s become a bursting series of joy and creativity.

Have I lost my touch for writing dark stuff however? Well, I’ve always had difficulty writing serious series. I can hardly make it a quarter way into a novel that’s all ‘dark and serious’ without losing interest and calling it ‘the most boring shit i’ve ever written’. I just don’t do serious. I just don’t do dark. I do complex, I do epic, I do funny and dork.

And what else what else what else? Y’all, this is the final foot-stomper! I have finally, Finally, FINALLY started working on my theology book about Wicca and Mental Illness.

Ya heard that right! I’m writing a book on mental illness! A theological analysis of mental illness through various aspects and I am just SO PROUD of myself for getting there.

Because it’s not easy to write, ya know. It’s difficult, thick, and I have to think theologically and in a straight line to be able to do it. But I’m proud to say that it’s getting there. It might be short, but it Is HAPPENING!

So that’s that y’all! My medication has really affected me a ton! By helping get me on my feet, it has helped me grow as an artist and writer and I am so so proud of the progress that I have made! 🙂 I know it’s maybe an unusual story and that I am very lucky to have found medication that works so well for me. Not everyone is as lucky as I am and not everyone has found the right medication yet. But for me, this is my story.

Have you felt any changes in your art since starting medication? Has your mental illness crippled your art in any way? Do share!

10 Comments

  1. Amber Drake says:

    My meds have crippled my art. I used to find a lot of inspiration in dreams, but my meds are blocking my drean recall.
    I have only made one drawing in the past year, and I’ve stopped writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no! That must be so difficult for you. I’d be gut-wrenched if my writing or art was stifled by my medication. I hope there’s a happy middle where you can still do your art and get the care you need.

      Like

      1. Amber Drake says:

        I might be able to reduce Seroquel which I think is the med blocking my dream recall.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Amber Drake says:

        I tried reducing Seroquel, but it didn’t help, so it must be one of the other meds I’m on. Zeldoc perhaps, which I can’t reduce.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh… I’m sorry to hear that. *hugs*

        Like

  2. I’m so envious! More writing power to you. I can’t tolerate psychiatric meds due to malnutrition, so I’ve never known how they would affect my creativity. I love hearing about your positive reaction. Where can I find your novels?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi! Sorry for the later reply. my novels aren’t published yet (eek!) but I am working on self-publishing within this year. 🙂

  3. YariGarciaYA says:

    Another wonderful post! I’m really enjoying your blog 🙂

    As a writer, I find that oftentimes people have a romanticized view of writers with mental illness, or writers with alcoholism.

    I find them both to be misunderstood, and as a former alcoholic I can tell you that it was impossible to write while dealing with my disease :-/

    Since I’ve been sober, I’ve been actually writing and living 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes indeed people romanticize both! I can’t speak much about alcoholism but I’m sure it isn’t treated at all the way it should be! I’m glad to hear that you’re sober! That must have been such a difficult journey,it’s no easy feat turning sober!

      Liked by 1 person

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