Thursday, November 1, 2012

Creativity: A Mental Disorder


Okay, so if you look at any published book on the topic of "Mental Disorders," you probably won't find "Creativity" in the bulleted list. But, see...that's what makes it so dangerous. It's the sneaky cousin to Bi-Polar, father of Anxiety, and the mother of OCD.

I came to this horrendous realization whilst I was making a kind of craft project for The Hubs for our anniversary. Now, those of you that know me know I don't do crafts. I repeat: I. DON'T. DO. CRAFTS. (I prefer things with a delete key or Edit --> Undo.) But for whatever reason, I thought it'd be fun to try something different this year - something The Hubs wouldn't be expecting ( all...). And most of that craft had to do with computer stuff - which is right up my alley - but then came...the paint and distressing.


By the end, I didn't know which was more distressed: my project, or myself.

I smiled; I cried. I loved it; I hated it. I wanted to hang it on the wall; I wanted to throw it in Dante's Inferno. I couldn't stand to look at it anymore, so I shoved it in a closet for a few days and when I pulled it back out... (repeat aforementioned sequence)

What was WRONG with me? It was like I was Bipolar, or something. And then came Anxiety: What on EARTH would he think? Would he hate it? Was it cheesy? Of course, OCD-like tendencies kicked in, and I COULD NOT STOP OBSESSING about it.

Then I realized that I do this very thing with writing. I don't seem to recognize it with my stories, though, because I'm so wrapped up in them that I wouldn't see the warning signs if they were tattooed on my fingers.

Some days, I love my story. Others, I think a five-year old could do better. I obsess and obsess, scribble notes all over everything, and when it finally comes time to hand it to my betas...

Creating is HARD. Yes, it's one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things, but it's also one of the most challenging - at least it is for me, anyway. There's nothing else that makes me oscillate between such emotional extremes. Or gives me a minor panic attack when I hand it out for feedback. Or makes me obsess so much that I forget to eat or finish my sentence while plot bunnies jump around in my brain.

*side note* If this has happened while you were talking to me, I do apologize. I have no control over those bunnies. 

*side note to side note* Also, in my defense, "plot bunnies" are not as innocent as they sound. They're more like the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog in Monty Python and the Holy Grail... (see below)

So maybe calling "Creativity" a "Mental Disorder" is a bit of a misnomer. Maybe referring to it as a causative agent is more accurate. But how - OH HOW! - to deal with it?

Unless one stops creating altogether, I don't know if there is a remedy. BUT! I do like this quote, because it helps me understand the very root of those bipolar-esque extremes...

...and it also supports the OCD argument... =)

I'd like to hear if (1) any of you can relate and (2) how you deal with it!
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