I have mental health problems.
I’ve suffered with depression in the past and still suffer with a delightful range of anxieties, mostly social-related, that affect me to some degree on a daily basis.
When I was first affected by depression I wrote a lot of music and poetry.
Words felt like they had the power to express my feelings and contain them. Unbeknownst to me at the time, writing a song or poem was a kind of therapy. Each piece I created helped me deal with whatever was happening at that moment in time and I was able to move on and leave it behind. Luckily things are a little less dark now and I don’t tend to write as much as I used to.
Since then I have sought out help for my issues and they have less of a hold on me, but this doesn’t stop me from creating to keep my mind at ease. These days I tend to turn to Photoshop or photography to express any goings on in in the dark recesses of my mind.
A picture is worth a thousand words after all.
Countless studies have been undertaken to link creativity to mental illness but none have found a definitive link between the two. I think it’s more likely that people use creativity to cope. It’s a way to distract yourself, to work things out, or an attempt to explain to other people something that’s not so easily expressed with words.
As for me my mental illness doesn’t cause me to create, I’ve just always created to cope.