creativity & depression
creativity & mental illness
creativity & madness
this connection is not news to me. but it is disheartening. Most of the articles focused on the manic side of madness. the high energy, hallucinations of seeing things that aren't there linked to artistic life. that and the actual process of making art is precarious and difficult, filled with stress.
but for me the link is something else. it is not in the high of manic depression but in the lows. to create is to make something new, something that has not been done before. beset with risk, it requires confidence, ambition and audacity to say 'I can do this...' It is something I struggle with. the voice that says 'I can't do this. who am I...?' etc. all self-hating and lacerating. I know many people, if not all, when they see themselves part of them thinks 'I'm bluffing, when am I going to caught? found out?'... the distance between confidence and fear. I don't know how other people cope, but I know they also get it. I speak about it with other artists and writers and they nod in recognition. It paralyses me. the fear and self-loathing. the critical voice. telling me I can't do it, and to destroy everything I have already made as it just isn't good enough.
at some point this fear of failure is just something I need to shrug off and step away from. acknowledge it is there but make the work anyway. use the critical voice to make the work better, to refine it and not be complacent. and hopefully the excitement of the idea will overtake the fear and it will come together.
that's the theory anyway. in the meantime, you will find me in the corner of my studio task-avoiding.