Sunday, 16 January 2011

Creativity and A Tortured Mind - In Response To: Are All Bloggers Mentally Ill?

Inspired by Imperfect Pages' Musings on Creativity I am writing a blog post that rounds up a few of the thoughts I have been having recently.  When I say a few, I mean just that, they are only a few of the thoughts I am sharing with you, because my mind has not shut up at all, it has been on overdrive and I've been Tweeting like a maniac to reflect this usually whilst doing a gazillion other things at the same time.  I thought I was going to get away without having the January blues, then a bloody great nasty soul migraine kicked in rendering me useless to even finish this post that I started two weeks ago.

Thoughts about creativity were initially sparked off by The A Residence when she wrote a post about the  great community that has been found within Twitter and blogging.  I am continuously amazed at how supportive and talented people are within this community. Another post by the brilliant From Marketing to Milk - "Are All Bloggers Mentally Ill?"  hit a familiar note with me as I keep seeing depression, tumbling out onto the pages of the most entertaining, sharp witted and hilarious voices, time and time again when I read blogs.  I have written before on a similar topic Echoes of Talent in Art and War - Is Talent Genetic?  The  more blogs I read though, the more sadness and turmoil can be found simmering beneath the surfaces of the people that in turn create the best words and photography who's pages are full of adroitness.  All my most creative real life friends are held back at times by crippling depression, huge doses of procrastination or just really bad days where they just can't seem to get anything done.  I'm not just talking about a bit of PMT pissy mood time here.  I see it in men and women, I see a lot of booze consumed in order to self medicate,  I see a lot of prescriptions being handed out.  I get a lot of phone calls with nothing but a sniffling sound coming out from the other end.  Some of us are better at hiding it than others and some of us are able to share it in such a way that it is almost funny.

One of my friends and I used to really be into the Taoism and the Barefoot Doctor he suggests such meditations as "Scooping the loop,"  but if we were having a bad day, we'd look at each other or send a text just saying, "I'm scooping the poop."  It just summed everything up, including a complete inability to even scoop the loop.  There's a lot of people feeling the poo right now.  It's January, it's miserable, it's dark out, we're skint and over indulged.  January is usually my most creative month.  Most of my poetry is written in January, granted it's all a bit Sylvia Plath.  It's tortured, it's painful it reflects my inner being and not the happy go lucky person that I usually am. It does not make for light reading, but there's enough of it to make a book.  Most people who have read it don't like it very much, it's uncomfortable and probably not very good. When I read it sometimes I feel the same, but there is a place out there for everything and the book is out there.

Sometimes, a soul migraine just takes over, it takes over your everything your very being and you can't remember feeling any other way or imagine feeling any other way. The creativity is hampered, it grinds to a halt, the bed, the sofa, sometimes the floor becomes where it's at.  Distress and all those painful experiences we've buried so well bubble up to the surface and just don't want to go away.  I think the most creative people are often the most sensitive people.  I love people with multi-faceted personalities, they are the most interesting.  I don't want to read a blog where every day was the most "perfect" day ever.  Where the sun is always shining, where the children are always well behaved, where the writer has a fabulous wardrobe and a doting husband.  Yawn.  Life is just not like that.  It's all the ups and downs we go through that makes us who we are.  It's what makes us human beings able to share, nurture and amuse which is why I believe some of the best blogs out there are nourished by creative but tortured minds.


  1. Christ you have wonderfully hit the nail on the head. I have a complete soul migraine this month. This has led to mastering the art of procrastination to the point of paralysis. I feel much better knowing that I'm not alone in this. Lovely post x (@Elsieanderton).

  2. I agree with Elsie, 'Soul Migraine' is a perfect description. And I don't think it is any coincidence I can't stop blogging at the moment, its a fantastic distraction. But also a really meaningful way to explore so many things.
    Yes lets get beyond the mummy blogging more often, to the deep stuff! I am loving reading everyone's takes on creativity.
    I hope the migraine passes v soon, you are right we need the us and downs. Keep writing, tweeting and blogging through. January is a bugger, we put far too much pressure on ourselves.
    Always here for a tweet or a good read xxxx

  3. Wonderful blog entry. I think you've just made a lot of people feel "It's not just me then" x

  4. Thank you Elsie, nobody procrastinates with as much style and humour as you though, eh? I've loved reading your procrastination updates on Twitsville,they are hilarious acts of avoiding the inevitable. They truly strike a chord, because I so know how you are feeling. When you feel like that, all the things we're supposed to be getting on with become impossible don't they? I'm here for you though sister xx

    You're doing a great job of everything Penny, you're an inspiration to us all. Thank you for the kind words, I'll keep writing don't you worry xxxx

    Ah, thank you for the lovely comment Water Birth Please, so many of us are united in this xx

  5. A great post, and worth the wait!
    I agree that "soul migraine" is a very apt description, the way it comes on so suddenly, you're not sure what it is for ages, you just "don't feel right" but it takes over your whole being. I'm sure there is a link between creativity and depression - even if it's just that we overthink things, are very sensitive and questioning souls. But, as you know from the reaction to my post, not everyone agrees!


  6. A great post and I agree with a lot of what you've said. I see a lot of my favourite bloggers, the ones who write with passion and express themselves creatively, suffering with deep depressive lows. I suspect that there is an intrinsic link between creativity and depressive tendencies - you see it a lot with great artists and poets through history. Maybe it's because to really see the world, to have real insight, means that you see all the awful shit as well as the beauty. I guess you have to understand the lows to appreciate the highs? It's definitely a complex topic!

    Your comment really resonated with me too: "When you feel like that, all the things we're supposed to be getting on with become impossible don't they?" - this is one of the big, serious problems with my life! If I'm procrastinating about a task, even something simple that if I actually got on with it, I could do it in 10 minutes, but if I get in the wrong mindset it can become impossible for me. To the extent that it caused me serious problems in the workplace. Why? This is a trait I really need to fix.

    I can hardly wait for the sun to start shining again (literally). :)


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