Mental Health Awareness Month: Creativity and mental health problems, a mystifying myth - Sovereign Health Group
Articles / Blog
05-15-17 Category: Depression, Depression rehab

While there might exist some elements of truth to the stereotype that creative people are prone to mood disorders, the fact remains that a mental health disorder is no way a prerequisite to getting the creative juices flowing. Unfortunately, since historic times, society has shown a tendency to romanticize anxiety and depression of creative people, writers and artists in particular, as dark phases and striking episodes, thereby propagating the myth that dejection and gloominess are precursors to creativity.

Being self-critical and consumed by obsession while experiencing bouts of depression is often viewed as a superior frame of mind, especially when it comes to writing, reviewing or editing to create a fine piece of literature. In other words, society forgets to say that the writer or the artist is a victim of depression. English classes in high school often speak about the American novelist and short story writer, Ernest Miller Hemingway, shooting himself or Sylvia Plath, poetess and novelist, putting her head inside an oven. But sadly, the fact that both these godforsaken souls battled with mental illness before they ended their lives is usually brushed under the carpet.

Celebrated American novelist and short story writer, David Foster Wallace of the 1996’s “Infinite Jest” fame, was a long-haired, unhappy, workaholic man who was always at loggerheads with himself. Undoubtedly, he had a flair for words and a penchant for writing but not many knew that he was a deeply restless and troubled soul. His works were an amazing ensemble of facts, humor, silence, melancholy, digressions that were lavishly stuffed with street slang and plain speech, which reflected his passion for words.

However, on September 12, 2008, his wife Karen Green was shocked to discover that he had committed suicide in the courtyard of their house in Claremont, California. Chronic depression and sadness were the reason why he chose to end his life so abruptly at the age of 46 when he was at the pinnacle of professional success. His mental condition first surfaced when he was in college during the 80s and was on constant medication since then to keep the debilitating symptoms under control. It was during this period that he wrote his two famous novels, three collections of short stories, two books of essays and reporting, and the much-acclaimed “Everything and More,” a history of infinity, which focuses on the work of the mathematician who created the set theory.

In fact, after Wallace’s death, his father said that he had been on antidepressants for 20 years and was quite productive in his work. This was something which Wallace never discussed openly during his lifetime though he did make subtle hints about his aggravating anguish during a couple of interviews.

While it is certainly great to celebrate the achievements and contributions of such people struggling with mental health problems, that in any way should not act as a deterrent to ensure they get the best possible professional help. A comprehensive study, conducted in 2012 at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, suggests that people pursuing creativity-based careers are more likely to commit suicide owing to the inability to cope with their chronic mental conditions. The need of the hour is to spread awareness about the unknown aspects of the lives of writers, artists and others in the creative industry. Putting aside romantic notions of languishing in agony and embracing death at an early age, and helping troubled individuals to deal with their inner demons is the key to defeating depression.

Depression is a chronic condition

Depression is a major public health problem because it causes pain for both the patients as well as their family members who help them cope with the condition. Depression has its own way of deluding even the merriest of people into believing that their lives are worthless and deplorable. Everyone occasionally feels blue but when it interferes with daily life, it may need expert advice. Constant battles with mental afflictions sap away one’s energy leaving a person helpless and miserable most of the time. Activities, which once gave pleasure, seem completely taxing leading to problems in daily life.

Although significant research on depression has led experts to shed light on the recurrent and chronic nature of such a condition, unfortunately, most general health practitioners tend not to treat depression in the same manner as other chronic physical health ailments such as diabetes and hypertension. Mental health professionals recommend managing psychiatric illness on the same lines as in the case of other chronic diseases, which demand regular check-ups, monitoring of treatment adherence, effectiveness and tolerability, and spreading awareness of the disorder to patients and their families.

Sovereign Health can help

Mental illnesses such as depression are rampant among Americans. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), in 2015, more than 16 million people aged 18 years or older in the country, representing 6.7 percent of all adult population, had at least one major depressive episode in the previous year. With May being National Mental Health Awareness Month, it is important to educate people about what causes depression and how to eradicate the underlying causes of depression.

Despite the availability of several effective options for treatment of depression, the stigma of being branded as a weak person prevents many Americans from seeking professional treatment for depression. However, studies show that professional help with depression and support of family members can go a long way in eliminating the stigma associated with the illness. Many such individuals experiencing bouts of anxiety or depression tend to assume that antidepressant medications are the only solution. But, very few know that other alternate therapies for mental health such as exercise, acupuncture, psychotherapy and support groups also go a long way in combating afflictions of the mind.

Above all, an early mental health diagnosis from a reputed and professional mental health services provider is essential to nip the problem in the bud or else they can be immensely devastating. The Sovereign Health Group is one of the leading mental health institutions in the U.S., which provides mental health treatment services for all kinds of psychiatric disorders, including time-tested recuperative therapies for depression as well as personalized help for the condition.

Sovereign Health of San Clemente, California offers a variety of customized options for treating depression suited to treat the person holistically. Patients can opt for individual and group psychotherapy or alternative therapeutic activities to regain control of their lives. Whether you wish to know how to overcome depression or are looking for world-class rehabs for depression in California or at a place closer home, we have facilities in all major places in the country. Call our 24/7 helpline or chat online to know about the most effective treatment for depression.

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