Are Writers Prone To Mental Illness

by Ankita Das

“No great genius has ever existed without a strain of madness.”- Aristotle

Creative people have it tough. Creativity and its connection with developing certain mental conditions have always been speculated about. However, there are only a handful of studies, which take attempts to establish a relationship between mental health and creativity. The idea that writers are more susceptible to mental issues is basically ancient. The ancient Greek were the first to talk about it. In Phaedrus, Socrates argues that Poetry is one kind of divine madness. Plato first coined the term Theia mania (unnatural behavior attributed to the interference of a god). Shakespeare too raised this prospect and then comes Lord Byron, who was the most direct of them all. He told “we of the craft are all crazy,” to the Countess of Blessington.

The literary world has lost many of its great minds to suicide. Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Plath, to name a few. But are we writers more susceptible to mental illness or it’s just a myth fueled by age-old anecdotes?

Let’s Dig A Little Deeper

In another study published scientists have found that genetic factors mostly among the creative population that increases the risk of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Musicians, painters, dancers, and writers are on an average 25% more prone to carry gene variants of different mental disorders than people in other professions which are less creative.

Founder and CEO of deCODE, a genetic organization, Kari Stefansson points to common biology for creativity and mental disorder. “To be creative, one needs to think differently” and “when one thinks differently, others have a tendency to put a label stating crazy, strange and sometimes insane.”

Kari believes, certain genes introduce a higher risk of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. This can alter ways in which many people see the world around them. But in the most number of people, it doesn’t cause any harmful effect. But for only 1% of the population, life experiences, genetic factors and other influences can cause much bigger issues. The famous painter Vincent van Gogh, cut off his own ear while going through a period of agonizing depression. Robert Schumann died while being in an insane asylum after attempting suicide multiple times. The magnificent works of these artists make us astonished, which were created after paying such terrible prices.

Stefansson’s study has found only a slight link between mental illness and genetic variants for creativity and mental illness. Scientists have proved mad geniuses actually exist. Scientific American confirms writers and artists are 20 times more prone to suffer from bipolar disorder and 10 times more susceptible to depression.

Only one percent of the general population is bipolar but several studies reveal that the for the past 30 years, the rate of bipolar between 5% and 40%, is reaching as high as 70%  when cyclothymia is included. In the case of major depression or unipolar, the general population rate is 5% although the rate among writers and artists varies within 15% to 50%. Studies have also found that artists are 18 times more prone to commit suicide than others who aren’t from the creative field.

A Writer Yourself? Experiencing Writer’s Block?

Be Cautious For It Can Deeper Rooted Than You Can Think Of.

This can be an acute sign of depression. Depression can make it impossible for a person to be attentive and concentrate on a particular task for long, thus they get distracted easily. The idea here isn’t to scare you. However, you would surely want to be warned about possible deep-seated causes of writer’s block.

And, Why Do Psychiatrist Think Your Writer’s Block Can Be A Sign Of Acute Depression?

For a start, writers often lead a solitary life. We writers just sit in our home office or creative pod with our laptop and as we keep typing on our keyboard, we lock ourselves out from the outside world. We discover words, meaning and experiment with the impact words can have. In the process, at times we can be so wrapped up in a world that only exist in our head, and we keep losing touch with the real world.

Isolation is bliss for a writer; however, it can also have crushing effects on a creative mind; and you might actually start to feel that the walls are closing in and you start to feel depressed without any apparent reason.

Know Here, How eLifeGuru can Aid You to Overcome Depression, Anxiety

At eLifeGuru, we have Gurus on our platform who can focus on individual issues that professionals from a particular field of work are more likely to face than others. If you are working as a writer or in the creative department of your company, then you must have experienced a creative dry spell or writers block. Did you know that the writer’s block is a myth? Psychologists explain that when you are unable to write something new either you are too distracted or burned out. And the best way to break free from writer’s block is giving yourself a few days of complete physical and mental rest. Now few studies have actually proved that depression can wear your creativity off. In that case, taking rest won’t help much, talking to someone who can take care of your emotional and psychological well being will do a lot. At eLifeGuru, we have joined hands with Gurus to be there for those who are dealing with issues that they can’t share with everyone. Want a completely confidential and safe environment to talk about what’s bugging you? Our Gurus are just an enquiry form away!

To help you to deal with emotions in a better way, one of our Gurus Sarah Ahmed here talks about various issues like the best methods to deal with stress when you are constantly working under tight deadlines.

The best thing about eLifeGuru is that language will never be a barrier again when you want to talk your heart out. Our Gurus are ready to have a chat with you in your preferred language.

We understand it must be quite tough to clear one’s mind and stop overthinking when as a writer you are wired to think deeply. Here Anushri Shah discusses about some effective yet simple ways to stop over thinking.

Studies have proved that the more creative and intelligent one is the more he or she tends to experience anxiety or panic attack, depression, suicidal tendencies, and acute psychosis.

What you are supposed to do to recover from a panic attack? Watch this video of B.A Ashwath, to know some recovery techniques that might work for you in a moment of need.

Fret not, for now, you can talk to a service provider, who we call Gurus here at eLifeGuru, at your convenient time from the comfort of your home. Days of sulking in silence are over. Talk to the Gurus who state clearly their ability and promise to listen, understand and try to relieve you from that unseen and unexplained burden of bearing a depressed mind.

Let us help you to smack down the wall of depression that is restricting your creative self to flourish.

Let us Open The Cage Door For You!

Happy Writing! Happy Creating!

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Ankita Das

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