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  • Becky Handley

Creativity and Mental Health

Updated: Apr 29, 2019

Creativity and mental health are often placed together. A romanticised theory that mental illness has helped some of the greatest creative minds reach their pivotal moments.


I used to be one of these people!


The creative soul is sensitive and fragile, not made for the unforgiving nature of reality. They must be immersed in their own misery to create their genius! The greats die young and tragically!

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I know, right? :I


But now, I am beginning to realise that the mixture of mental illness and creativity can lead to nothing but frustration and failure.


You could be onto the endings of a project, you’re excited about it. Really excited. It’s all consuming. You’re not going outside, you’re not exercising, you miss a shower or two. You’re living in your pjs. Teeth are going unbrushed. But you are oh, so close to that pivotal moment.


I guess that could be defined as someone simply immersed in their work, their creative process.


Or it's someone failing to take care of themselves because they just can't do it today. And that's fine. Everyone has these kinds of days. I 100% do.


But these aren't the days I'm at my most creative. These are the days I drive myself crazy, sitting on Photoshop for hours, until my eyes hurt, my head hurts, all because I'm frustrated at myself that I can't learn all of Photoshop in the click of a finger.


The idea that creativity and mental illness go hand in hand can stop people from getting the help they need. Feeling that to get better could destroy their creativity.


There is comfort in the crazy. And it definitely beats the unknown.


But as I start my rebuild (for the 9000th time), I’m starting to realise that in the unknown, there is just me - a stronger, happier, focused, cleaner (!) and creative me.

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