I am no physiologist, let me get that straight. And I certainly know mental illness is a real and horrible sickness that affects thousands of people, often from birth. But I want to express my issues with this article:
I am very creative, I do not have a mental health problems. I have friends who are creative, who do not have mental health problems. The issue in fact is this, yes, creatives are different. Creative people are biologically different, they are less inclined to fear standing out, being different and creating unique work. But…this argument also stands: EVERYONE HAS THE ABILITY TO BE CREATIVE. Which would therefore mean…yes…WE ALSO ALL HAVE THE ABILITY TO HAVE A MENTAL ILLNESS – should circumstances push it upon us.
The reason I wanted to write this is because I have close friends who are openly creative, and continue to struggle emotionally in this world. Society is not in a place in which it can support creative people, especially not creatives that are sensitive, which most are, because we are generally more passionate about helping to change the world we live in and help people.
Work is generally monotonous and people are not employed for their creativity, or used within employment to generate ideas with their creativity. The situation is made worse when an individual has health problems and again society does not support the idea of working part-time too well. The creative individual is left feeling useless, unfulfilled and not understood – and this generally leads to depression, which gets labeled as “mental illness”, which only makes society support the individual EVEN LESS, and can easily lead to long term mental health problems.
The solution? Creative people need to be supported and used more within society, they need to be able to freely express their creativity, and be employed by people who listen to their ideas. I think we all know how often that happens, and unfortunately I know the UK in particular in not supportive of creatives in the work place. They continue to struggle for work, get pushed beyond all limits when they are employed, and get shut down for thinking, creating and innovating. And what happens when that keeps happening to you? You feel depressed, useless, and give up.
One of the reasons I set up Creatabot is because I see this pattern happening over and over again, and then the media print articles like this saying that creativity is linked with mental illness, and I have to admit, it makes me quite angry, because society cannot see that often these creative people have been pushed away for being “different” and for being “over sensitive”.
The most hilarious part? Creativity is essential to exist, and to succeed. But funnily enough most of the decision makers in organisations continue to ignore this!
So my fellow creative people, before we all go crazy, I urge you to read the following and get the support you need to survive as a creative on the planet that is Earth, because we can make it a better place.
“The creative person basically has two kinds of jobs: One is the sexy, creative kind. Second is the kind that pays the bills. Sometimes the assignment covers both bases, but not often.” – Hugh MacLeod
An awesome book that encourages creatives to keep being creative and not take any nonsense, by Hugh MacLeod.
Based on the hit handmade zine THE ARTIST IN THE OFFICE is an inspirational, interactive book for any artist living in the real world. It encourages small acts of creativity and a simple shift of perspective to help readers bring their artistic selves into the workplace and thrive in all aspects of their lives. Readers are prompted to undertake a wide range of liberating activities, from the mundane to the sublime, that won’t put their nine to five job at risk.
Creative people who spend no time at all with other creative people will start to feel profoundly alone. Connect with like-minded weirdos. Online. In-person. You are not a sad friendless little tugboat.
“Seek out and surround yourself with POSITIVE people! Don’t let negative people get you down – it will dramatically alter the way you feel, work and live. We all know them; there is usually at least one person in our lives that is constantly moaning, and telling you that your latest idea won’t work. Creative people are sensitive people, therefore we tend to get sucked in by the negative ones, and before you know it, you’re feeling down yourself!” – Annabel Williams
By Natasha Steer