Does mental illness produce best creative material?

This is the place for readers of poetry. Discuss poetry and literary art. You can also discuss music here, including lyrics. Also, you can discuss poets themselves, in addition to poetry.
User avatar
lovelyreader21
Posts: 84
Joined: 16 Oct 2014, 08:53
Favorite Author: Too many
Favorite Book: Speak
Currently Reading: This Song Will Save Your Life
Bookshelf Size: 0
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-lovelyreader21.html

Does mental illness produce best creative material?

Post by lovelyreader21 » 10 Nov 2014, 16:35

Specifically in poetry and music, do find that in your low moods, or if you have one, bouts of mental illness, that you create your best material? I would say it varies for me. When I was at my worst in depression, I created a lot of material and poetry, but it all had a certain tone of hopelessness and apathy to it, which isn't, I think, the best thing to convey through your work. I'm not saying mental illness is good, just questioning what it can produce. Opinions?
“All I insist on, and nothing else, is that you should show the whole world that you are not afraid. Be silent, if you choose; but when it is necessary, speak – and speak in such a way that people will remember it.”
-Mozart

User avatar
LivreAmour217
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 2001
Joined: 02 Oct 2014, 12:42
2018 Reading Goal: 75
2017 Reading Goal: 60
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 84
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 118
Favorite Author: Too many to count
Favorite Book: Ditto
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 252
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-livreamour217.html
Latest Review: The Cult Next Door by Elizabeth R. Burchard, Judith L. Carlone

Post by LivreAmour217 » 26 Nov 2014, 17:18

I tend to increase my writing output when I go through a bout of depression, but it's not really what you would call "quality" work. I think that when I am feeling low, writing helps me cope, but it doesn't necessarily make me more creative. I've heard that many great writers suffered from depression and other mental illnesses, but I don't necessarily think that depression and creativity go hand-in-hand. I have a psychology degree, and in my classes I learned that severe depression actually hinders cognitive functioning on many levels, which in theory would decrease creativity. But who knows? There is still so much about the human brain that is not well understood, and we are making new discoveries every day.
"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." - Albert Einstein

User avatar
Mbucknor
Posts: 12
Joined: 26 Nov 2014, 14:46
Bookshelf Size: 0
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-mbucknor.html

Post by Mbucknor » 26 Nov 2014, 21:30

I agree that when I am depressed, writing helps me cope and increases the quantity of my work. Ido not think mental illness necessarily aides the creative process. I think it merely provides a unique perspective for a writer to use. I've found the only thing that really helps my writing is more writing and reading.

-- 26 Nov 2014, 21:33 --

I will also note (sorry also a psychology student here) that emotions and cognition do not have to be connected. One can have , in theory, one without the other. So even though depression hinders cognition, it does not hinder emotion or numbness which then can be translated straight into art or literature without a cognitive filter. In that way, maybe severe mental illness might be helpful to some? I don't know though. Just a possible musing.

User avatar
Hadiqa
Posts: 227
Joined: 02 Nov 2014, 03:53
Favorite Author: Infinite
Favorite Book: Hundreds
Currently Reading: How The Wolf Lost Her Heart by Sarah
Bookshelf Size: 0
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-hadiqa.html

Post by Hadiqa » 28 Nov 2014, 10:48

Hmm, that depends on what you think. I think that when we are in a depressed or sad state of mind, we are better at writing down those emotions, putting our feelings in it, let it out.

I dont think I could write an awesome story about bully and death or sad thing unless I am sad and I am actually writing what I am feeling. That comes under reality feeling and it will be better than what you will write when you are happy. Similarly you will not write a best piece of happiness when you are not as compared to when you are happy and you write the same thing :-)
“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
—Ernest Hemingway

Reading Now:
Nothing -_- Because of School

User avatar
LivreAmour217
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 2001
Joined: 02 Oct 2014, 12:42
2018 Reading Goal: 75
2017 Reading Goal: 60
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 84
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 118
Favorite Author: Too many to count
Favorite Book: Ditto
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 252
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-livreamour217.html
Latest Review: The Cult Next Door by Elizabeth R. Burchard, Judith L. Carlone

Post by LivreAmour217 » 29 Nov 2014, 12:09

Mbucknor wrote:I agree that when I am depressed, writing helps me cope and increases the quantity of my work. Ido not think mental illness necessarily aides the creative process. I think it merely provides a unique perspective for a writer to use. I've found the only thing that really helps my writing is more writing and reading.

-- 26 Nov 2014, 21:33 --

I will also note (sorry also a psychology student here) that emotions and cognition do not have to be connected. One can have , in theory, one without the other. So even though depression hinders cognition, it does not hinder emotion or numbness which then can be translated straight into art or literature without a cognitive filter. In that way, maybe severe mental illness might be helpful to some? I don't know though. Just a possible musing.
You make an excellent point--cognition may be hindered by depression, but definitely not the emotional experience!!! I guess I was thinking a little too scientifically there :D :roll:
"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." - Albert Einstein

Stella White 47
Posts: 38
Joined: 20 Nov 2014, 15:26
Bookshelf Size: 3
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-stella-white-47.html

Post by Stella White 47 » 29 Nov 2014, 14:25

I think it would be a stretch to say that mental illness would produce the best material. However, it would be likely to have a uniqueness because of the author's perception of the world. Also it could be very good writing. It is a common experience that when someone loses some ability, there is often a compensatory boost in another area. Also, it can give the rest of the world some insight in understanding a loved one.

I once read a book that was either a memoir or novel. It is unfortunate that I do not remember which. But the narrator of the story was highly intelligent, and worked in the mental health field. She had studied it precisely so she could understand herself and live the best life possible. She was dependent on a medication to keep her sanity and live a "normal" life. She was married, and so far happily.

The difficulty in the story came when she became pregnant. She had to decide whether to take the risks to have the baby. Then she had to decide what to do about her medications. Would they harm the baby.

The author was writing about herself. I lost the book years ago, but it was fascinating. I don't think a person without such an illness could accomplish this insight.

MaragothThorn
Posts: 93
Joined: 28 Nov 2014, 19:25
Favorite Author: GK Chesterton
Favorite Book: Father Elijah by Michael D. OBrien
Currently Reading: Skin by Ted Dekker
Bookshelf Size: 1
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-maragoththorn.html
Latest Review: "Bad Endings" by David Bussell

Post by MaragothThorn » 29 Nov 2014, 17:35

Why is it that when people say "mental illness" people think about depression? A mentally ill person is someone who can no longer use rationality (not to be confused with mentally challenged people, such as those with Cerebral Palsy or Down Syndrome). A depressed person is not mentally ill...they have their emotions in the dumps and it also affects their health. And I feel it as rather wrong to say that it produces the best creative material.
Latest Review: "Bad Endings" by David Bussell

Nikki72
Posts: 10
Joined: 01 Dec 2014, 16:43
Bookshelf Size: 0

Post by Nikki72 » 01 Dec 2014, 17:57

I do not believe that mental illness produced the best creative material. There have been plenty of amazing works from people who were perfectly healthy. I do, however, believe that it provides people with more ideas and different perspectives. The style of people in art and writing seems to change with their mental illness.

hareid03
Posts: 120
Joined: 10 Oct 2014, 11:56
Bookshelf Size: 7
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-hareid03.html

Post by hareid03 » 01 Dec 2014, 20:21

Psychologically speaking, creative people like artists, of any form, usually suffer front some sort of mental illness and are one of the more likely social groups to commit suicide. Personally, I do think that I get inspired with my poetry when I am feeling low. But I get inspired with actual stories a lot of the time when I am feeling more on the manic side. I'm also able to work on my poetry or stories when I am neutral as well though. So I don't really think it produces my"best material" but it makes me more motivated to work on whatever it is I have going on.

User avatar
LivreAmour217
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 2001
Joined: 02 Oct 2014, 12:42
2018 Reading Goal: 75
2017 Reading Goal: 60
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 84
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 118
Favorite Author: Too many to count
Favorite Book: Ditto
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 252
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-livreamour217.html
Latest Review: The Cult Next Door by Elizabeth R. Burchard, Judith L. Carlone

Post by LivreAmour217 » 02 Dec 2014, 17:35

MaragothThorn wrote:Why is it that when people say "mental illness" people think about depression? A mentally ill person is someone who can no longer use rationality (not to be confused with mentally challenged people, such as those with Cerebral Palsy or Down Syndrome). A depressed person is not mentally ill...they have their emotions in the dumps and it also affects their health. And I feel it as rather wrong to say that it produces the best creative material.
Respectfully, I beg to differ. Depression is indeed a mental illness. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (5th ed) it is officially called Major Depressive Disorder. I have a Bachelor's in Psychology, plus I have been a long-time sufferer of depression, and I can tell you that depressed individuals are often not very rational (and in severe cases, can actually become psychotic).

I'm not trying to attack you, and I hope that I'm not coming off as a know-it-all, but I feel that it is my obligation to educate others about the seriousness of this disorder.
"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." - Albert Einstein

User avatar
jkclay1
Posts: 49
Joined: 20 Dec 2014, 22:07
Bookshelf Size: 0
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-jkclay1.html

Post by jkclay1 » 21 Dec 2014, 01:10

A lot of the greatest artist were all a little bit crazy. I feel that to create we all have to be a little crazy in our own way. How else can we create things that no one else can even began to comprehend it's origins?
"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing."
-Benjamin Franklin

AngelBellaDonna
Posts: 20
Joined: 22 Dec 2014, 16:06
Bookshelf Size: 0
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-angelbelladonna.html

Post by AngelBellaDonna » 22 Dec 2014, 16:16

I think this is true. I write better when I'm feeling something worth writing about. And most of the best writers suffered some sort of mental illness.

User avatar
cam57
Posts: 2
Joined: 23 Dec 2014, 00:00
Bookshelf Size: 0

Post by cam57 » 23 Dec 2014, 00:14

While it might not be entirely true, mental illness does help aid creating maybe more meaningful stories, or even something different. From this forum, most of the writers suffer from depression, as do I, and I do find that my work is richer with feeling, even if it might not lead anywhere productive. Even for the reader, I think reading from someone who although not publicly shown has a mental illness/disorder it may be more interesting. But, again, mental illness does not mean that the work will be of quality, and it definitely does not mean that there are writers and poets that write incredible works without mental illness.

steveallen1981
Posts: 11
Joined: 23 Dec 2014, 06:25
Bookshelf Size: 0
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-steveallen1981.html

Post by steveallen1981 » 23 Dec 2014, 07:24

I suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder and one of my coping mechanisms is just to sit down and write. I write a lot of poetry and what I've written depends on the mood I was in. It's often very dark and sometimes it surprises me that I actually wrote it. I do honestly believe though that I wouldn't be half as creative in my writing if I didn't have a mental illness.

Lei101
Posts: 15
Joined: 03 Jan 2015, 18:44
Bookshelf Size: 0

Post by Lei101 » 03 Jan 2015, 20:38

Not really. When Im truly depressed I dont want to write. I want lay there and just rot in the bed. the again it does give you a mew prespective so when I am atleast able to find enough motivation to get up, I do have ideals and things to talk about.

Post Reply

Return to “Poetry & Music”