Peg swears the correlation between insanity and creativity is romanticized and mostly anecdotal. She also suspects the statistics wouldn’t bear out the popular notion creativity and personality disorders go hand in hand, but a lot of this depends on how you define creativity, and for that matter, insanity. Normal is a myth created by the timid, worshipped by the weak, and enforced by the frightened. The idea of there being some subclass of humans who suffer from chemical imbalances that can only be cured and treated with drugs is step one towards a Brave New World. Yes, there are some people who do need some meds but just because someone doesn’t fit into the square hole we’ve constructed in this society doesn’t mean we need to drag out the tranquilizer gun.
I submit to you creativity is a lot like sexuality; everyone has various degrees of it, and in different forms. Passion in any form unsettles some people, and they are unsure how to surrender to it. Some would rather not. It’s immoral, we’re taught, to let yourself be yourself when it comes to sexual behavior, and nothing shadows our sex drive like our desire to create. Is it a coincidence religion has long sought to discourage or control both sexual behavior and artistic expression? Religion is the primary means by which human beings seek to either destroy, suppress, or subvert sexuality and creativity. Drugs come in a close second, but that is usually in the form of self medication like alcohol, because once again, those who are creative have difficulty living in the square hole world. Alcohol anesthetizes that part of the brain where The Muse lives. Normal people, or frightened people, can much better deal with a drunk than they can an artist. It is neither accidental nor coincidental those drugs that are supposed to help those suffering from mental illness also seem to squash the creative. There is damn little commercial enterprise to be made off people who cannot live in the square hole world unless you sell them drugs to cure them from being them.
Mental illness may be a necessary consequence of creativity, and that’s a paraphrase of something someone else wrote but I cannot remember who or the exact quote. If you write, you create people who have voices and lives inside your own mind. If you paint, you create a window into a world that exists nowhere else but inside your own mind. If you are a poet you use language in a way that exists only in your own mind. If you sing, you interpret song in a manner that echoes only in your own mind. If you create, you bring into one world something born from another. Some of us have surrendered to the idea we cannot stop it, cannot prevent it, and indeed, do everything we can to facilitate such birthing. Those who have not surrendered can only fight, or submit to the meds, or suffer the fate of those who cannot, or will not, accept the Muse.
I have not said this is easy because it is not easy. I have not said this will be rewarding because there well may be no reward in what you do. I have not said this will give you peace, for by accepting this, you may well have to accept the idea that in your mind, if you surrender to who and what you are, you will never find one moment of peace in your own head, or your own life, and it may very well torment you, and those you love, and those who love you.
I can only tell you that it is worth it. It is worth the pain, the loneliness, the ostracization, the misunderstanding, the sleeplessness, the fear, and the insanity, oh yeah, the insanity, it’s worth it, too.
It’s worth it, because it is who you really are.