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!


  1. Well, one of your plot bunnies got in my head when you got to the not eating part, because that's how I am when I paint.

    I think creativity is like looking at one of those magic eye things. Some people just can't see them for one thing, probably because a) they're trying to hard (or) b) they don't really believe anything's there. The thing is, though, that the way to see them is, kind of, just to relax and see them.

    1. And it's kinda hard to eat when you paint, too! Writing is less messy...

      That's a great analogy! (I loved those Magic Eye books) Must. Stop. Focusing. So. Hard....

  2. OMG this made me laugh, and it's nice to see im not the only one who uses this face (o_o) when I write. I agree with Andrew, creativity is in the eye of the beholder, and Ben loves you so I really don't think he cares that much if you can't "make" a gift for him. Just do what any respectable mom does: greet him at the door wearing absolutely nothing while holding a glass of champaign. ;)

    1. LOL, your comment made me laugh! Well, that nice little "respectable" idea may have to wait a year. :D Too funny...

  3. Plot bunnies ha ha ha! I can relate with the obsessing part. Sometimes I'll get up obscenely early (to feed the boy) and I can't get back to sleep because my brain is going over plans on how to accomplish something I want to do that day... and usually it's something creative. So I'll just get up at 4 am and do it. I know. Sickening, right?
    How do I deal? Just like Bradbury suggests: just do it. Give in to the impulse to create something and hope to heaven you can get a nap in later that day.
    Obsessing over projects already finished? No idea how to fix that. Think of a red balloon and let it go? *shrug*

    1. THAT'S EARLY! But...I know how when things hit you, there is no hiding! Best to just sit down and get it over with. (but sheesh! that's still early...maybe I'll be able to do that soon??) point in obsessing over the completed things, eh? *lets go of string*

  4. Hahahaha! If your project to Ben was anything like your stories, I'm sure it was amazing!! I think we all, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US, critiques ourselves harder than necessary. We are always our own worst critic.

    Which I realize, doesn't actually change the way you feel about your project. (Haha!) Because you'll still obsess and worry over it (been there, doing that), but its kind of nice to know you aren't alone too!

    *pats Barb on the back*

    You're awesome, missy!

    P.s. I blog tagged you ( : Enjoy!

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