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    Writing Illness: Creativity or a Self-destruction

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    petitegi
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    Post  petitegi on Tue 21 Sep 2010, 4:31 pm

    Writing Illness: Creativity or a Self-destruction
    Discussion paper about Diseases of the Thesis of Christ
    Fleming
    By: Ma. Cecilia M. Makalintal


    Is being a writer result to some sort of mental illness in the end or is it the other way around? The article written by Chris Fleming discussed how scholars, writers and artists may have illnesses within them. Illnesses that is not quite clearly explained and written even on the DSM system of the Psychiatric book which in turn built a lot of controversy and arguments. Nevertheless, the article stated that some well known researchers or artist might suffer from a mental illness. The question is why writing creativity correlates with mental illness to some well known people? Are this extraordinary people suffered a self-destruction from mental illnesses because they write or do things the extraordinary way? Or did they suffer from a mental illness first before they were able to write and discover things beyond what is known?

    Creativity is the ability to make or otherwise bring into existence something new, whether a new solution to a problem, a new method or device, or a new artistic object or form (Britannica Encyclopaedia). Shalley (1991) suggests that creativity comprises three major components: the required ability or expertise in a particular field, the innate or intrinsic motivation towards further exploration or development, and the cognitive processes to conceive and synthesize novel ideas or products. Moreover, Weisberg (1992) and Wallace & Gruber (1989), hypothesize that creativity is the capacity to produce an output that not only has an element of novelty and originality, but is of positive value and purpose to mankind.

    Artists seem to be touched by heaven, given a sublime insight that others lack, and it seems only natural that this elevation would be coupled with an equal and opposite reaction. Writing is a solitary business, and people tend to read alone. You can't be a good writer without being a good reader first. So, try to read as much as you can--pick up books that you like, books you don't like and books you never pictured yourself reading. You never know what you might get out of them. There is much to be harvested from our daily experience that can contribute to our writing. The smallest incident or observation can provide wonderful material for a writer. Pushing ourselves to be aware and express what we feel will only make us stronger and more perceptive as writers.

    There is much to be studied between the linking of psychological problems in relation to creativity in writing. Many great artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Edgar Allan Poe, and Lord Byron have suffered from mood disorders, bipolar syndrome, or other mental illnesses. This is not surprising, for numerous studies have indicated that there is a link between creativity in relation to clinical depression, and other psychological disorders (Bower, B., 1995). On the contrary, there is limited scientific evidence to associate creativity with mental illness (Waddell, C.,1998).

    Both Jamison (1985) and Ludwig (1995) noted that the highest rates of mental disorders occur among poets, writers, musical composers and performers, artists and actors as compared to scientists, politicians and architects for whom the rate is lower. Moreover, Kaufman (2002) observed the higher incidence of mental afflictions amongst poets and an even higher tendency towards neurosis or psychosis amongst female poets than amongst their male counterparts. Scientists on the other hand, achieve their goals by means of logical and rational deductions, and hence are less likely to be overpowered by their emotions. Jamison (1985), however, argues that it is psychosis that precedes and makes way for greater sensitivity for enabling creative achievement.

    The ability to see the world in an unconventional manner and to adopt perspectives not commonly shared can be both a blessing and a curse. Many creative individuals find themselves outside of the mainstream of both thought and method (Dr. Simon, G., 2009). As a result, they can experience periods when they feel unaccepted, misunderstood, and painfully alone. People are thought of as mentally ill only when their thinking, emotions, or behaviour is contrary to what is considered acceptable, that is, when others dislike something about them (Stevens, L., 2006).

    The nature of the relationship between creative writing and mental illness is by no means settled science. Some individuals argue that mental illness can afflict anyone, including those who rise to some prominence as a result of their giftedness and the subsequent impact of that giftedness on society and history (Dr. Simon, G., 2009). So, it may not be that highly creative people are more prone to mental illness but merely that such people come to our attention more easily. I refuse to believe that being creative means Im doomed to a life of mental disorders. Its what we do. We connect the dots from this to that, and draw lines between apparently random observations, until they mean something. Then we invest and reveal the meaning to others in tangible forms: dance, music, words, and imagery.

    In conclusion, it will take a more time as to find direct relationship, if there is any, between creative writing and mental illness. What is important now is to be able to focus on recognizing and making the most of our talents and abilities as unique individuals. Writing depends at least on our ability to think and compose sentences depending on our mood and mental frame. If we are able to recognize our own psychological abilities, we have a much better chance of positively unleashing our creative talents in whatever field we want.




    Guide Questions:

    1. Have you been influenced by other well known writers on how you write or express your feelings? How?

    2. Who is a better writer: the one who objectively writes or the one who openly expresses his/her feelings? Why?

    3. If creativity means originality, how can a writer be originally known of his/her writing if it based on what is already known?

    4. Do you believe in the idea that the more you read, the more your thoughts become overwhelmed which in the end results into more or less hesitation on your writing ability?

    5. What can you suggest so that creativity in writing can be enhanced?

    6. Cite an experience where you find it hard to write something and felt inferior that maybe you are not a good writer in the first place.


    References:

    Jamison, K. (1993). Touched with fire: Manic-depressive illness and the artistic temperament. New York: Free Press. Retrieved from,

    Ludwig, A.M. (1995). The price of greatness: Resolving the creativity and madness controversy. New York: Guilford. Retrieved from,

    Bower, Bruce. (1995, June 17). Science News Article, Moods and the Muse
    A new study reappraises the link between creativity and mental illness. Vol. 147 No. 24, page 378. Retrieved from,

    Waddell, C. (1998). Creativity and mental illness: Is there a link? Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 43(2). Retrieved from,

    Ludwig, Arnold M. (1998, April). Creativity Research Journal. Method and Madness in the Arts and Sciences, Volume 11, Issue 2, pages 93 101. Retrieved from,

    Kaufman, J.C. (2001). The Sylvia Plath effect: Mental illness in eminent creative writers. The Journal of Creative Behavior, 35(1). Retrieved from,

    Kaufman, J.C. (2002). I bask in dreams of suicide: Mental illness, poetry, and women. Review of General Psychology, 6(3). Retrieved from,

    University Of Toronto (2003, October 1). Biological Basis For Creativity Linked To Mental Illness. Science Daily. Retrieved from,

    Bailey, Deborah Smith. (2003, November). American Psychological Association. The 'Sylvia Plath' effect: Questions swirl around a supposed link between creativity and mental illness. Vol 34, No. 10 page 42. Retrieved from,

    Stevens, Laurence. (2006). A journal for Western Man. Does Mental Illness Exist? Issue 12. Retrieved from,

    Koh, Caroline. (2006, October). Educational Research and Reviews. Reviewing the link between Creativity and Madness: A Postmodern Perspective. Vol. 1, pp. 213-221. Retrieved from,

    Dr. Simon, George. (2009, September 21). Creativity and Mental Illness: The Mad Genius. Retrieved from,
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    ylaganroidah

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    Post  ylaganroidah on Tue 21 Sep 2010, 9:55 pm

    I can say that I dont really know anyone that may have influenced me in writing. Maybe those writers that express their writing freely might be the ones who had an impact on me. I am a type of person that expresses what I really feel and says how I feel. when it come to writing, I write what I really feel because in that way I dont pretend to be someone else, I become myself. I can express myself better in that way. I dont need think long to write something, it will just happen. For me, either of the two may be better in writing. They both have different style on how they write and express themselves. It would be a bias if it would say that the one who openly expresses his/her self is better than one who objectively writes since I write freely. We both need different side of the story to balance our judgment on something. Thats why it is either of the two. I think being creative in a way that the writer gives another perception on something that is already know and that maybe a reason that he becomes known. I believe that the more you read the more you would know, but I think when it comes to writing you become so overwhelmed with so many thoughts that you are not able to organized it all and the end result might be a hesitation in starting to write. It might be useful when after reading you tend to organized the thought that you have gathered and thats the time that writing would be in less hesitation. Practice writing and reading a lot of literature it what I can suggest so that creativity in writing can be enhanced. Reading a lot would enhance on a literature is formatted and organized. Practicing on writing would enhance on how to construct ideas that are related to one another. I would have to say the experienced the I find hard to write something is the thesis writing because I have to do it on my own not like on the undergrad that you work as a group and talk things out. I might say this is the one of the part that I find that Im not really a good writer after all.
    cezzy
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    Post  cezzy on Tue 21 Sep 2010, 10:48 pm

    Thanks for the reply.

    Yeah I agree with you in your statement that
    Practicing on writing would enhance on how to construct ideas that are related to one another.
    Like you, I actually am not that good in thesis writing. That's maybe one of the challenges that we have to face since we are now in Graduate School, however, being a novice on thesis writing doesn't mean we can't make one. We just have to learn the basics and like what Dr. Butcon always tell --- READ! READ! READ! I know after our stay in this school, we will be good if not great writers and contributors in our fields. Yes. Just be positive! Smile

    By the way, follow up question.. with the issue of having a mental illness in connection of being a great writer, do you think writing is the remedy to mental illness or writing complicates the idea of a person making him/her believe on things not normal thus making him/her insane?
    cezzy
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    Post  cezzy on Tue 21 Sep 2010, 11:51 pm

    To all my E10 classmates.. it's okay if not all questions be answered on a chronological manner. You can answer one question at a time. I just want to know your perspectives on the said questions. Or if there are something you just want to say or share to us, don't hesitate to click the green button with post reply.Cool

    Thank you! Godbless.. Smile
    PriNcE RJ
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    Post  PriNcE RJ on Wed 22 Sep 2010, 11:23 am

    Chris Fleming focused his formulated diseases on thesis writers and I think that there's a difference between "creative writers" and "thesis writers". Creative means inventive, original, visionary, imaginative. (Thesaurus) I think it applies more to making fables or poetry rather than thesis. Although thesis writing requires the writer to be deviceful, he is also required to state facts and evidences based on previous studies and researches. If we, thesis writers, are only dealing with the act of stimulation, regardless of our work's context, what is the point of clinging to cultural-historical events, in which the referrencial aspect is crucial, unlike the logic of stimulation? (T. Demand, 2010, Afterimage)
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    Post  cezzy on Wed 22 Sep 2010, 12:47 pm

    Thanks for the reply, RJ.

    I think that there's a difference between "creative writers" and "thesis writers".

    That point I didn't clearly defined on the paper I made. I have to distinguished the two items separately for it might confused the readers of what I am pertaining to.

    If we, thesis writers, are only dealing with the act of stimulation, regardless of our work's context, what is the point of clinging to cultural-historical events, in which the referrencial aspect is crucial, unlike the logic of stimulation? (T. Demand, 2010, Afterimage)

    Yes. I agree with that. The idea in thesis writing is to make a worthy addition to an ongoing historical conversation about a topic.

    Thesis writing can be highly creative in its approach, with ideas that are presented in a fascinating and engaging way. Creative writing can be so well researched and factual that it is a learning experience as well as entertainment. There is much to recommend both types of writing as a path to expand knowledge and simply enjoy the activity of reading.

    Thanks for the reply, It helped me organize more my thoughts on what to share on our classmates.

    Follow up question.. In your opinion, do you think creative writers can also be great thesis writers? or vice versa?
    PriNcE RJ
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    Post  PriNcE RJ on Thu 23 Sep 2010, 1:08 am

    as I've said, thesis writers need to be deviceful, or else we wouldn't have dared to start a thesis. At first, I picked my chosen problem out of thin air...and I guess that required creativity. Wink But the bulk of thesis writing is based on factual and/or intellectually hypothesized, existing studies so it's not all about art and fancy.

    In short, yes, I think thesis writers should be creative as well. lol!
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    Post  cezzy on Mon 27 Sep 2010, 10:30 pm

    revised guide questions:

    1. As a writer in general, have you felt that at one point in your life, maybe you think differently from others, thus making you feel you have a problem inside?

    2. Have you felt depressed? Was that depression turned you into an instant writer? Did you felt better after releasing all your feelings into writing?

    3. In relation to Christ Flemings' article, can you give your own definition of mental illness? Is/Are that mental illness/es make you a better or horrible writer? How and why?
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    Post  therese on Tue 28 Sep 2010, 9:16 pm

    I felt depressed most of the time but not as before. Whenever i'm depressed or thinking of something that i can't tell yet to someone, i will write it first then after that, i will feel better. i strongly agree with the phrase "able to recognize our psychological abilities." it's like when we were all still in college. when we will be having our duty in a mental hospital or even in a rehab center, it is needed for a group discussion or forum wherein our c.i would tell that before the interaction with the patients, we must know first truly ourselves. we must do the "self-awareness" activities. if you didn't totally know your psychological abilities, you might be easily affected or moved with what your handle patient is saying.sometimes, even if someone is considered as good writer, i think it depends on the person who is reading. like for me, i tend to conclude he'she is good writer if i was affected or driven to what he/she wrote, for short, emptionally affected or i ended up saying "oo nga noh.." after reading.i think, an original writer is someone who published a book and wrote it just by himself, from his own thinking and own observation and experience.or maybe i'm wrong. i just thought of the book i bought which is written by dr.phil entitled "self matters".
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    Post  khayee_07 on Wed 29 Sep 2010, 6:29 pm

    in my case, i never felt that my way of thinking is unusual compared to others, neither did i thought that it resulted into such problem for that matter...

    but what i'm truly aware of, is that my problems within arose from my personal concerns....

    i must say that i've been depressed so many times, and writing did help me a lot... i thought during that time that neither my family nor my friends would undertsand me unless they were in my situation..., hence; my only source of relief is thru writing..., for this reason, i was able to unload somehow....

    re mental illness; i think mental illness alone, as a concept, is different from mental disturbance, but both part of mental conditions...

    mental illness is something that is beyond from what is accepted and expected, whereas mental disturbance is our natural way of responding to such situations that is believed to be shared by everyone.

    whether mental illness can make you a horrible writer or not....
    i think YES and NO....

    No because, what is important is not the writer but rather his piece, whether it conveys and brings a significant idea is an essential consideration to make...

    Yes because, his piece shall be judge by his readers according to their opinions; it is solely about they're stand not just about you but also about what you claim...they can be biased at times...

    hence; a writer can be horrible in the eyes of the people even if it's not the case; and vice versa.... bom

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