I can’t speak for everyone who has mental illness, and I’m in no way, shape, or form a medical professional. I can only speak about my experiences with it. I am diagnosed ADHD and bipolar 2, and it has taken me years to finally write this post. (I tried last August, but wound up pulling my punch and writing a more generalized post about anxiety.)
There’s a lot of romanticizing of mental illness by various writers and poets throughout history, either as a necessary element of creativity, or creativity as a balm for it. Do a Google image search on “madness” and “writers” and you’ll see dozens of arty quotes about “beautiful insanity” and the like. They see mental illness as this glorious, passionate, technicolor acid-trip of imagination… when oftentimes it’s just being shackled to a high-school bully who won’t shut up.
Allow me to illustrate.
When your brain is not necessarily your friend.
You write a thing.
After a brief burst of happiness, you start questioning said thing. Slowly, you convince yourself that the piece actually sucks. It’s not just “bad but revisable.” It’s trash.
It doesn’t stop there. [Read more…]