Creativity and Mental Illness

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Creativity and Mental Illness

Laura Gosselink

Men have called me mad, but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence--whether much that is glorious--whether all that is profound--does not spring from disease of thought--from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect. Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night - Edgar Allen Poe
When you are insane, you are busy being insane - all the time... When I was crazy, that's all I was. - Sylvia Plath

Is creative genius somehow woven together with "madness"? According to the dictionary, "to create" is "to bring into being or form out of nothing." Such a powerful, mysterious, and even impossible act must surely be beyond the scope of scientific inquiry! No wonder creativity has for so long been "explained" as the expression of an irrational, intuitive psychic "underground" teaming with forces (perhaps divine) that are unknown and unknowable (at least to the "sane," conventional mind). The ancient Greeks believed creative inspiration was achieved through altered states of mind such as "divine madness." Socrates said: "If a man comes to the door of poetry untouched by the madness of the muses, believing that technique alone will make him a good poet, he and his sane compositions never reach perfection, but are utterly eclipsed by the inspired madman" (8). Creative inspiration - particularly artistic inspiration -- has often been thought to require the sampling of dark "depths" of irrationality while maintaining at least some connection to everyday reality. This dive into underground forces "reminds one of a skin-diver with a breathing tube" wrote Arthur Koestler in his influential book, The act of creation (8). According to Koestler, "the creative act always involves a regression to earlier, more primitive levels on the mental hierarchy, while other processes continue simultaneously on the rational surface." Using similar themes, the great scientific figure, Kekule described a visionary moment leading to his groundbreaking discovery that the benzene molecule is a ring. His creative break with the prevailing assumption that all molecules were based on two-ended strings of atoms came in a blazing flash of insight:

"I turned my chair to the fire and dozed. Again the atoms were gamboling before my eyes.... [My mental eye] could distinguish larger structures, of manifold conformation; long rows, sometimes more closely fitted together; all twining and twisting in snakelike motion. But look! What was that? One of the snakes had seized hold of its own tail, and the form whirled mockingly before my eyes. As if by a flash of lightning I awoke." (2).

Like Kekule, people recognized for their creative genius often depict moments of inspiration as an electrifying convergence of rational and irrational thought. If there is an edge to be found between the rational and the irrational; between the known and the unknown; between the conventional and the innovative, and if this edge is where creativity takes place, it makes sense that a creative mind runs the risk of going "too far." As Koestler has put it, "skin-divers are prone to fall victim to "the rapture of the deep" and tear their breathing tubes off"(8). Artists Ernest Hemmingway, Virginia Woolf, Charles Parker, and John Berryman would appear to have torn away their breathing tubes when they entered psychiatric hospitals and eventually committed suicide (1). Further reinforcing the association of creativity with illogical, disruptive psychic forces are great numbers of influential 18th and 19th century poets, including William Blake, Lord Byron and Alfred, Lord Tennyson, who wrote about their emotional extremes of experience. For example, George Edward Woodberry wrote of poets: " Emotion is the condition of their existence; passion is the element of their being." (1). And the turbulent lives of high profile musicians and artists such as Charles Mingus, Georgia O'Keefe, Jackson Pollack, and Sylvia Plath also seem to testify to a link between creativity and psychic instability. But can a connection between mental disorder and enhanced creativity be identified by the methods of science? Is there really a connection, and if so how does it work?

"When a superior intellect and a psychopathic temperament coalesce," wrote psychologist William James as the twentieth century began, "we have the best possible condition for the kind of effective genius that gets into the biographical dictionaries. Such men do not remain mere critics and understanders with their intellect. Their ideas posses them, they inflict them, for better or worse, upon their companions of their age" (8). James and contemporary scientists such as psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin emphasized the positive aspects of certain psychological disorders, and speculated that other talents could combine with them to produce extraordinary creativity. But James also stressed the debilitating extremes of psychiatric illness(8). This moderate view, underscoring the need for balance in an effectively creative person, has since characterized much thinking on the subject of creativity and mental disturbance. As Sylvia Plath later said, "When you are insane, you are busy being insane - all the time... When I was crazy, that's all I was"(5). Against this background, some current research into the interaction between creativity and psychiatric disorders such as bipolar disorder and depression suggests that their may indeed be a vital connection between "genius" and "insanity" in some instances.

Kay Redfield Jamison is a professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who has talked openly and honestly about her own manic depressive emotional instability. Her review of current research leads her to conclude that a large number of established artists - "far more than could be expected by chance" - can be diagnosed with bipolar disorder or major depression (4). Jamison believes that several corroborating diagnostic and psychological analyses of living artistic populations provide meaningful evidence that highly creative people experience major mood disorders more often than do other groups in the general population. So for her there is a clear link between psychic instability and creativity. But Jamison warns against simplistic notions of the "mad genius." She points out that most emotionally unstable people are not extraordinarily creative, and most extraordinarily creative people are not emotionally unstable. She then asks the question: how might mania or depression contribute to creative accomplishment?

The characteristics of milder forms of mania are very similar to creative thought, Jamison asserts. Acutely tuned senses, restlessness, irritability, grandiosity, thought diversity, and the ability to associate divergent ideas and thoughts rapidly are all hallmarks of both the creative and mildly manic (or "hypomanic") individual. Jamison describes two features central to both creative and hypomanic thought. First, thought is fluid, rapid, and flexible. In addition, there is heightened ability to merge ideas and thoughts that have no conventional connection. (4). Many psychologists, Jamison points out, have emphasized the importance of fluid, quick, and divergent thinking in producing new, original, and "creative" ideas. Rapidity of thought itself spurs creativity. "Because of the more rapid flow of ideas," Psychologist Eugene Bleuler explains, "and especially because of the falling off of inhibitions, artistic activities are facilitated even though something worth while is produced only in very mild cases and when the patient is otherwise talented in this direction. The heightened senses naturally have the effect of furthering this." (8). Observing an incredible outpouring of uncensored mental activity by his manic friend Lord Byron, Sir Walter Scott said: "The wheels of a machine to play rapidly must not fit with the utmost exactness else the attrition diminish the Impetus." (8). But the sheer volume or density of ideas spewing from a manic person's mind increases the likelihood that at least some of those ideas will be creative ones. A person who goes to bat a million times is more likely to get a hit than someone who only steps to the plate a few hundred times.

Manic people also have demonstrably increased ability to form new and different associations between words. In laboratory tests, the number of "statistically common" responses to tested words fell by one-third and the number of "original" responses increased three-fold(8). This qualitative change in mental processing "may well facilitate the formation of unique ideas and associations," Jamison asserts.

In contrast to the fiery energy with which mania infuses creativity, is the cold, ruminative, introspection of depression. It is widely accepted that insight gained through intense, extreme, even painful experiences can add depth and meaning to creative work. Poet Anne Sexton explained how she used pain in her work: "I, myself, alternate between hiding behind my own hands, protecting myself anyway possible, and this other, this seeing ouching other. I guess I mean that creative people must not avoid the pain that they get dealt.... Hurt must be examined like a plague." (8).

The creative person who suffers from manic-depression also has what Jamison calls "a built-in editing process" for the excesses and sometime lunacies expressed during manic episodes. Mild depression can actually put into perspective what had seemed, in a manic-state, to be brilliant. One is better suited to truly discover what ideas may be brilliant or creative out of the hodge-podge of ideas spewed from the manic mind. In fact, research has shown that people in mildly depressed states are more "realistic" than people in "normal" states of mind(8). Observations and beliefs produced during mild depression are closer to "reality" than those produced in "normal" states of mind. This supports T.S. Eliots' observation that "human kind cannot bear much reality" (8).

In the face of too much reality, creative work can be turned to as a solace and a means of working out of a depressive episode, Jamison says. George Bernard Shaw wrote that if you can't get rid of the family skeleton, you might as well make it dance "(5). And T.S. Eliot, working through a bout of depression, wrote: "Poetry is not a turning loose of emotions, but an escape from emotions, it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotion, know what it means to want to escape from those things" (8). By this reasoning, if you routinely keep an even emotional "keel," there's not much impetus to behave creatively.

Thus, although it is certainly not the case that all creative individuals suffer from manic depression, it seems that characteristics of mania and depression aid the development and expression of creative thought and action. Mania combines new and heretofore unconnected ideas at a rapid pace and has even been shown to elevate IQ scores(8). Mania also imbues the individual with relentless drive and confidence that can, very often, lead to creative output. Balancing mania, depression not only can serve as a "reality-check" to manic excesses of thought and action, but also can itself provide fuel for creativity.

What does this mean for treatment? "I want to keep those sufferings," said artist Edvard Munch. When told he could end his cycle of psychiatric hospitalizations with available treatment, he replied that emotional torments "are part of me and my art. They are indistinguishable from me, and it would destroy my art" (8). As Jamison points out, many creative people are reluctant to be transformed by psychiatric treatment into "normal, well-adjusted, dampened, and bloodless souls" no longer moved to create(8). And their fears may not be unfounded. Current psychotropic drug therapies can offer some relief from the painful, destructive features of mania and depression. But according to Jamison, there is a price to pay -- these drugs can "dampen a person's general intellect and limit his or her emotional and perceptual range" (8). As a result, many people with mood disorders stop taking these medications. The tragic consequences include emotional extremes that intensify over time and can lead to psychosis or death. These consequences should not be romanticized.

Jamison argued that the methods of science identify, in the case of bipolar and depressive disorders, some truth behind the persistent cultural notion of a vital link between genius and insanity. Clearly our existence as a human community would be diminished without the "genius" responsible for scientific breakthrough or for what we respond to as great musical, literary, and visual works of art. If this genius sometimes grows up in suffering, it seems that the pain of a few of us benefits all of us. If we appreciate the gifts these creative people have given us, they deserve our understanding and careful consideration. Treatment should seek to find a balance preserving crucial human emotions and experiences while alleviating destructive extremes.

 

WWW Sources

1) Famous People with Bipolar Disorders , List drawn from Kay Jamison's Touched With Fire; Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament

2) Precis of "THE CREATIVE MIND: MYTHS AND MECHANISMS", What is creativity? - by Margaret A. Boden, School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences, University of Sussex, England

3) An Artful Madness : Talents Emerge, Dementia Takes Over, Very interesting research from Dr. Bruce Miller of theUniversity of Californis, San Francisco - Creative artistic and inventive activity is enhanced while at the same time speech and language centers of the brain are destroyed by "frontotemporal dementia" (FTD) disease. - ABCNEWS.com

4) Several studies now show that creativity and mood disorders are linked., Scientific American article by Kay Redfield Jamison, professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She wrote Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperamen" and co-authored the medical textManic-Depressive Illness. Jamison is a member of the National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research and clinical director of the Dana Consortium on the Genetic Basis of Manic-Depressive Illness.

5) Mental Disturbance and Creative Achievement , Biographical study of prominent 20th century figures by Arnold M. Ludwi g -- finds high achievers in social, business, and science professions have higher rates of mental disturbance than population as a whole. Rate of artistic professionals nearly twice as high. The Harvard Mental Health Letter, March 1996

6) Artistic Inspiration and the Brain , Another response to Dr. Bruce Miller study - FTD & creativity

7) The Systems View of Life , includes discussion of how creativity is fundamentally built into all living systems -by Fritjof Capra, theoretical high-energy physicist and author. Capra studied with Werner Heisenberg at the University of Vienna. He does research at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and lectures at the University of California, Berkeley.

8) Amazon.com, To order the book: Touched with Fire: Manic Depressive Illness and the Artistic temperment - by Kay Redfield Jamison

 

 

Continuing conversation
(to contribute your own observations/thoughts, post a comment below)

06/18/2005, from a Reader on the Web

Hmmm, creativity and madness. Thomas Szasz tells us madness is a social disease and psychiatry admits it is begotten by families needing scapegoats. If one is already non-conventional the odds are one is in touch with one's self and feelings, not oriented to what is popularly accepted, therefore one will also experience, therefore one will also experience all too human but unconventional feelings. Anyone reading the standard "psychiatric handbook to insanity" will recognise out does not take too much eccentricity to be declared insane. The funny thing is that this handbook is available only to psychiatrists. Given the "normal" IQ averages at 100, and Stanford Binet tops at 135, then above about 140 one will be different and only the stupid would not notice that. If that on occasion does not upset one you don't suffer from creative discontent. The usual discovery of the non-normal is being told by normals that they are not, although mere experience will show that too. It is when whatever is taken as normal gets to be a dogma that insanity shows up. Genius is mad by definition because it is not being like everybody else. The normal have over excited anomaly detectors; genius gets excited by their detectors. Curiouser still *we* like precocious children but not in adults. Adrian van der Meijden

 

Additional comments made prior to 2007
I am in the beginning stages of researching the topic of creativity and mental illness, especially among female poets. As a woman poet I disagree with the consensus that mental illness and creativity are linked. I have written poetry for over thirty two years and have always found that my depressed moments were due to factors in my life, i.e. financial, family. The creative part was and is a separate entity. I am not writing poems about the loss of a loved one unless that person has had an enormous impact on my life or perhaps the life of others in a way that one or a multitude of people were touched to some degree. I am researching Plath and Sexton. Wow! these women had problems that in that era was frowned upon and proper resouces were not available to adequately help them overcome the feeling of worthlessness. In my opinion they turned to poetry to help them to sort out the their entanglement of emotions ... Debra Andrews, 5 March 2006

 

 

I just found your website and read an article on creativity and madness. This is a topic close to me and I am interested in communicating with others interesting in discussing encouraging creativity to finding solutions to problems in our world and in art & science. Please let me know your recommendations for communities like yours online and otherwise to best communicate with individuals whom might be interested in exploring and nuturing the topic of creative genius. I am a professional music composer, TV/film producer, writer, speaker, philospher, entreprenuer, and father of three children. I have been married only once to the same woman for 14 years ... Mark Haffner, 29 March 2006

 

 

Consider that eccentricity and madness may lie restlessly as parallel states and not on a traceable continuum ... Jackie, 15 February 2007

 

 

I surely do think that artist , not all... Have some type of a mental illness. I work as a faciltator of a art therpathy group. Most of my group is so very talented and are coming out of their shells and are dealing with many aspects of their mental illness in different ways. I , myself have bipolar when I would go into a manic state is when i have done my best work. During my younger years before doctors were aware of mental illness in children ( like some do now) I see myself now as that child who was deeply depressed and I used art as an outlet. My daughter I see the same traits of depression in her. Thank goodness I can get her help. when I was a teenager I would self-medicate with speed, marijuna & alcohol ... Shaw Ronda, 1 January 2008

Comments

Kathy Silverstein's picture

Subjectivity of mental illness

I have found that the most creative, interesting people in my life usually have a touch of mental illness. To be able to think outside the box, to be able to really see beyond the conventional, you need to do things a little differently. Obviously, there is a very subjective line between crazy and genius, or crazy and eccentric. (Some say of course that the rich get to be eccentric, while the poor have to settle for crazy, but that's just a saying.) But really - "crazy" is highly subjective. Can you manage to function within your society, with its rules , to some degree? Then you're probably okay, depending of course what that degree is. But put someone in a different society with different rules and the story can change completely. What was once deemed crazy is now deemed normal, or vice versa.

I have Asperger's , which is mainly a disorder of social functioning. Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, they are both said to have AS. Yet they produced amazing inventions for our society. People with AS often have trouble with eye contact, but in some cultures not looking people in the eye is a cultural norm. (If you want to learn more about AS, a good site is ).

Just saying that all in all mental illness can be relative. Thank you for a great article to read.

Adam Painter 's picture

Conclusion

I can really relate to the content of this article! i have trouble falling asleep because my mind is always thinking about tommorow or next week, next year. work, etc.. Lately i've had this feeling how amazing the world is. but i cant help being fascinated with man-kind and the world we have created.

Dr. Wilfred Arnold's picture

Creativity

“Creativity and the van Gogh Legacy” 13 minutes
http://cas.umkc.edu/Chemistry/kcacs/Creativity%20and%20the%20van%20Gogh%20legacy/index.html

Serendip Visitor's picture

Perspective

I appreciate the idea that somehow being mentally ill is mystical transending but in my experience I believe I have a chemical imbalance and medication corrects this maybe the experience is differing for everyone but I feel the biology is relatively the same.

Peta 's picture

Every thing we have learned

Every thing we have learned has been mediated in some way. This is a fact. The boundaries of our existence have been created with repetition of what is perceived to be the ‘norm’. All revolutionary change comes from challenging this perceived norm. These things considered, does it not mean all boundaries are temporary or not existing at all? So many are accustomed to these boundaries and unaware of the possibilities on the other side. All other possibilities are considered insanity. Does this mean all creators are insane? Nietzsche, a famous philosopher was aware of this perceived norm so many could not see past. This apparent opaque set of guidelines was translucent to Nietzsche. Nietzsche is claimed to have gone insane. Was he insane? Or, did he exist on a higher level of consciousness, one without boundaries or guidelines? The majority, not the individual decides all what is normal, what is good, what is strange, what is different, what is perfect, what is right, what is wrong, what is revolutionary. How much control do we really have over the pathway we take if we do not want to be considered insane?

Everything we know about our lives as they are could be considered to be the product of propaganda. A system to create order. A system understood by few and abused by many. So you are aware of the system and feel you now lack passion? Remember the few who are aware of the system and use it to do good. There are many out there. This is where faith comes in. Having faith in yourself and others. Trusting the way life is panning out as a series of purposeful, systematic events not a contrived, self-indulgent matter.

I am struggling to see the boundaries that were once so clear and unquestioned. Boundaries are necessary to avoid isolation. People, friends, humanity are accustomed to these boundaries, so you must be too. Little can be learned and experienced without people. The easiest way around this conundrum appears to be to ignore possibility and concentrate on the existing beauty. By ignoring possibility I feel I have to numb myself which is worse than fearing insanity.

Please leave some feedback if you know where I'm coming from. :)

Thomas's picture

I can really relate to a lot

I can really relate to a lot of this! i have trouble falling asleep because my mind just wanders of. i cant stop thinking about music, It constantly plays in the back of my mind. Lately i've had this feeling of realization of just how amazing the world is, probably seems kind of odd, but i cant help being fascinated with man-kind and the world we have created. When it all becomes to much i smoke weed to release some of the "pressure" knowing that is probably the wrong reason for getting high (assuming there is a good reason :P)

Elizabeth's picture

Artist/Painter with Major Depression

I'm a painter with major depression, I go through times of reprieve and times of deep depression,becoming disfunctional with jobs and finances and then I paint a picture on canvas and it is completed in a couple of hours I get lost in it and feel a great energy when I'm painting and I lose myself in it, my problems go away,temporarily, and now my paintings are getting better and I finally like them, I go to counseling and try to take my meds but don't want to become numb with them so then I try to do it on my own that lasts a couple month's then I go back down again. It is painful but I am learning to accept it through counseling and Art therapy.

Cammy's picture

panic attacks and such

I love the article, I myself refuse to take medication although I am all for psychological counseling - to learn how to talk and express oneself. If you don't what is inside you WILL give you health problems.
I used to draw when I was younger, copying things. As I got older I began writing poetry. Lately I've been taking up drawing again, but this time with my own ideas even though they're not drawn very well (in my opinion). And yesterday as I was driving to work I had to pull over twice and call out because I almost passed out, everything turned red and black. I asked my bf to come and he found me drenched in sweat and not able to talk much (I stammered and confused things such as "left" and "right"). And i recall now that lately I had been thinking a lot about past loves and pain. And death (mostly things I saw on tv). I think part of it also is that sometimes I leave laundry in my room for too long and the environment drives me nuts (don't ask why it still bothers me even when I leave the room).
Yeah I was the scapegoat in my family, being the oldest one and a girl in a Latino household with a hermit, control and clean-freak, hypochondriac, binge-drinking mom who lies and invades privacy and talks bad about my dad (she was always jealous), and an angry jobless absent dad who i somehow get along with more although he didn't realize (being away so much) that my younger brother and i were NOT better off with her (probably not with him either but at least somewhere else) and praised her.
I have very vivid memories and imagination. I used to be so closed up within myself but with much introspection I've been able to function and have goals, slowly but surely. I am very emotional and sensitive and have what I call "silent intuition." I am a worrywart and distrustful, but at the same time can sometimes be naive (I am not street smart). I feel my timing can be off in social or other situations and I tend to hang up the phone or end things too fast or not finish them or be thorough.
Anyway that's it, I don't think I am bipolar or sick at all - just very creative. I DO come off as weird to some people and although I may enjoy certain things about them (such as humour) they may not find me as thrilling. I'm not a $100 bill.

Anonymous's picture

I am bipolar and I live with

I am bipolar and I live with the madness of my creativity. Sometimes I am consumed by my art, staying up for days to finish, afraid to sleep because my talent will disappear. When I am in a creative cycle I am filled with so many ideas, and I can easily just pick out an idea and complete it..near the end of my cycle..the ideas are too quick, like watching a movie in fastforward for me to grasp...I can learn new languages easily during this time, people are attracted to me, its like I smell of sex and love...I call this period the walk of a GOD..because during this time I am a GOD. Everything just comes so easily to me during that time..but I am sad when it goes away..leaving me feeling like I am missing something..a void..
I live for the next cycle..

Anonymous's picture

Wow. I understand you.

Wow. I understand you.

Marlon's picture

I'm a musician and I know....

I'm a musician and I know all to well the things I think seem crazy to NORMAL ppl,I've been writing songs since I was 9yrs old.Not your typical love song stuff either.When I start on an idea that comes through my head it obbseses me completly!I live for that idea and see it through,no matter the consiquence to my wife,kids and family(bless my all their hearts for staying with me)
I become so consumed that everything that is going on around me disappers and all I see is what is infront of me(my music)

Arisa's picture

I know something is wrong...

Its hard for me to say this outloud because i feel like i am the only one going through this. My mother thinks i might be bipolar so she took me to a hospital. Hospitals are for sick people...My body is fine it's my brane that needs help. I don't know how to explain it but i'm not here and everyones talking so loud and everything so clear yet i'm confused. Things are changing and i'm so scared I just need someone to talk to before "it" breaks through!

S's picture

I can relate...

I too suffer from major depression and anxiety attacks. It's that only become excruciatingly prevalent within the last year, climaxing in the last few months.
It's horrendous. I sing, play guitar, bass, draw, paint and exercise like a mad woman (an hour of hard cardio a day).

It's harder than ppl think that don't suffer from this, to understand. It has made me have immense, profound respect for every artist out there, because I too, am on their plane.

Sara's picture

creativity and mental illness

I truly understand where you are coming from. In the past couple of years it has become more clear to me why so many creative people give in to drugs and alcohol at times. I'm a writer and compose some violin music as well, but I do think it's hard for other people to understand.

I hope this comment finds you well.

Anonymous's picture

I think i mabye going insane...

I fear that my assumptions may be correct. About twelve and a half months ago I suddenly became more aware of my surroundings, I found that I could draw anything I happened to look upon, I was suddenly able to depict vivid events around me within my mind, you know like switch my personal perspective with another individual, weird stuff like that. Then the other thoughts came, I started to think that every thing was pointless, that both everything and nothing have absolutely no point at all, I found that there is both reality and non-reality, why? Well because the world around us is just construed thoughts conjured by our brain to explain the world around us, and if you didn’t believe it then it wasn’t real. I started to get scared wondering what was wrong with me…im still scared, and I know almost for certain that im going insane…I only hope I can control it…

Pleas email me and tell me if I should tell my parents…Im only fifteen, Please help me…

Traveler's picture

Anonymous: I was about the

Anonymous:
I was about the same age - perhaps a bit younger - when I began to feel & sense some of the same things you mention. I don't think you are going 'insane', but I think that maybe you are growing in a way you don't understand or have no frame of reference against which you can say 'well, this is normal' or 'this is not normal'. As you very astutely state concepts like 'normal' are one of many social / psychological constructions we adopt and cling to in order to function in the time & place in which we live. I would encourage you to read a few books and, if ok with you, I will make a couple of recommendations: read the author Krishnamurti. He speaks in a very straightforward way about freedom and our thoughts (what are they - and are we are our thoughts only, or is there a deeper, truer self). Also, read Thomas Merton..some of his stuff is a little more dense, but his quest was to 'know God' and strive for freedom. Also - I would say you are, as we all are, on a journey towards understanding and enlightenment. Be gentle with yourself, but always search for truth. Lastly - IF you are truly upset / worried or EVER have very bad thoughts you can't escape, you should talk with someone you trust and who can help.

Elizabeth's picture

yes you should tell your

yes you should tell your parents right away and go to get an evaluation at the Psych ER, they are experts at diagnosing and giving you a good Psychiatrist, you are not going insane, you just need to get seen ASAP!!

M's picture

Anonymous, I was wondering

Anonymous, I was wondering how you are. I know you posted your comment in 2008. Are you less worried now? I really hope so. Feel free to write back. Very best of luck :)

Anonymous's picture

At your age hormones are

At your age hormones are rising rapidly in growth and maturity. It's a time where there are "mood swings" that are physical due to hormone changes. I would say "do communicate" - but don't think automatically you're not "normal". Sounds, pretty normal for the age, to me. But communicate and see. In fact, watch "Breakfast Club"... and see what you think. It's from another era - but see what you think. Be blessed.

Anonymous's picture

what am I?

I have the same feeling. Especially when I imagine or think somthing I almost feel like it's real. Sometimes the 'thoughts' make me very scared and nervous. Would it make sense if I say that I feel like being swallowed by my thoughts? Sometimes it is very obscure to catch what I am thinking. Do this symptoms have something to do with the brain; parts of brain are more active than other people? please reply or email what you think.

Monica's picture

RE:i think i may be going insane

Dear Anonimous,I'm a 35 years-old mon of one. I've just read your email and suddently felt so much love towards you that I wish I could hug you tight right now. Yes I do think you should tell your parents but don't be scared because i do believe that what you are going through can be ,although a tough and isolating experience, also a wonderful disclosure of your mind.Please try to stay away from drugs and have an healthy life and I'm sure you'll learn to control these states of mind.

I've just noticed you sent this message on July and i'm sure you got plenty of replies and probably told you parents already. However if you still need to communicate those feelings to someone I'll be happy to listen and talk to you.

Please let me know how you are.

I send you all the love of an anxious mom

Monica

aivaz's picture

I do think creative people

I do think creative people have paved the way for leaving boring,natural world and turned this land into an interesting and unfortunately 'artificial' place.for example messiahs are responsible for the biggest formation of cliques and thus this prompted the biggest wars to take place and they formed an artificial world full of nonsense rules,but nevertheless they introduced humanity to mystery,that is what people can not live without...

dustball's picture

After reading Laura

After reading Laura Gosselink's paper it brought out of me a realization that I have been pondering for some time... "most live in a slightly manic and proud state, where the bleak reality of their delusions are hidden."

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