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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Why is it, do you suppose, that artists, writers, musicians, etc seem more prone to drug and alcohol abuse?  Is our creativity born of some mental imbalance?  is the "tortured artist" cliché based in reality, and if so, why?  Do we write to escape, or are we driven by some kind of evolutionary defect that has cursed us with the need to constantly be creating something?  Are you a happy, well-adjusted person?
Well, I'm not an alcoholic, but I've been afflicted with a pretty serious case of obsessive-compulsive disorder all my life, and I notice things; details, bits of minutiae that generally go unseen by most people.  I think this is a major contributing factor to my need to write, to create.  There was a period of time in my life when I didn't write at all, and it directly coincided with my starting to take an antidepressant.  I was happy, and I didn't feel the need to write for several years.  Got off of it, and I was writing again.  I've now found a happy medium with a very, very low dose of Prozac that allows me to function as a normal human being while still retaining my sense of creativity.  I've always found, though, that the more unhappy I am, the more I'm likely to be writing.  Does any of this make any sense?
 

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I dunno, I tend to think we're no more prone to alcoholism, depression etc than the average person. I mean, we associate those things with famous poets and artists but maybe they'd have suffered those things even if they hadn't had a creative bone in their bodies. We just don't hear of so many ordinary people with these problems because no one talks about non-creative/non-famous people.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Dara England said:
I dunno, I tend to think we're no more prone to alcoholism, depression etc than the average person. I mean, we associate those things with famous poets and artists but maybe they'd have suffered those things even if they hadn't had a creative bone in their bodies. We just don't hear of so many ordinary people with these problems because no one talks about non-creative/non-famous people.
You've got a point there. Look at all the high-profile addicts with mental disorders on some of these reality shows. Many of these people have no discernible talents, they're just famous for being famous. What's that you say? Kim Kardashian recorded an album? I stand by my statement that many of these people have no talent. ;D (ie, it's garbage.)
 

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When I'm unhappy, I write sappy poetry. When I'm feeling like a bi**h, I write parody. Actually, I wrote Romance Novel when I was seriously ill. REALLY ill and for the longest time, the doctors couldn't figure out why my health was declining. I was so tired and in so much pain, I used laughter as my medicine.
 

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Of course they can be happy. The world is full of creative people. Everything around us is a monument to creativity. Creativity is not limited to writers, painters, and musicians.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
PJJones said:
When I'm unhappy, I write sappy poetry. When I'm feeling like a bi**h, I write parody. Actually, I wrote Romance Novel when I was seriously ill. REALLY ill and for the longest time, the doctors couldn't figure out why my health was declining. I was so tired and in so much pain, I used laughter as my medicine.
What comes out when I write generally has a dark, sinister edge, regardless of the genre.
 

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Sure, I think creative people can be happy.  I'm fairly happy.  I have a good life nowadays.  When I was younger, before I was married to a good man and had a son to consider, I was self-destructive.  Being self-destructive actually really hindered my writing.  It took all of my energy and focused it on negative things. 

I've always felt that being in a stable living situation has made it much easier for me to be in a boring, daily routine which helps me write.

Dawn
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Dawn McCullough White said:
Sure, I think creative people can be happy. I'm fairly happy. I have a good life nowadays. When I was younger, before I was married to a good man and had a son to consider, I was self-destructive. Being self-destructive actually really hindered my writing. It took all of my energy and focused it on negative things.

I've always felt that being in a stable living situation has made it much easier for me to be in a boring, daily routine which helps me write.

Dawn
That's interesting. I definitely can't write without routine and stability. When something disrupts my routine, I can't accomplish anything until the issue is resolved. And I'm not immensely unhappy, but I do think I write better when I'm slightly depressed. It's actually cathartic, writing is, and I always feel better after churning out a few pages.
 

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I've always felt that we have this creativity that swells up inside of us.  It needs a release, and if it doesn't get one, depression and other problems set in.  Once we release it, as in publishing our book, finishing our paintings etc. we become happy.  But....

We only have a short time of happiness before the creative juices start welling up again looking for an outlet.  So the happiness is short lived and only comes in small spurts. 

But maybe it is just me.  LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
JeanneM said:
I've always felt that we have this creativity that swells up inside of us. It needs a release, and if it doesn't get one, depression and other problems set in. Once we release it, as in publishing our book, finishing our paintings etc. we become happy. But....

We only have a short time of happiness before the creative juices start welling up again looking for an outlet. So the happiness is short lived and only comes in small spurts.

But maybe it is just me. LOL
I think that sums it up very accurately, at least for me. It's all about needing an outlet. I do think I'm a happy person overall, but I do frequently need to exorcise my demons.
 

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Our society is governed by and populated with left-brainers. For us creatives to have to adjust to that 24-7, it is very exhausting. So, that's why I think most creatives have some measure of struggle. Some manage it just fine; they must have a balance of left and right dominance and I find they are the ones who slot into the pigeonholes provided for them quite easily, without losing the ability to create. Then again, I rarely enjoy their work as it lacks personality.

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
 
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I'm happy.  I believe happiness is a state of being and not so much a feeling. You either choose to be happy or not.  I think it takes more effort to be miserable. 

However, I will say this, artists, creative people, writers and the like tend to be somewhat empathic.  I mean we take on the feelings of others quite often and when we get around sad people it makes us sad.  If we are around conflict, we feel conflicted.  Most creative people have to learn how to protect themselves in someway from all the energy we pick up on in a given day.  And we do that by allowing ourselves to be an observer rather than taking on the experience ourselves.

I remember I had a friend who called me everyday telling me about her day at the office and it was two women their picking on her everyday.  I had imagined what these women looked like, what they wore, the car they drive, and what their voices must have sound like.  Every day I was mad right with her when she told me her woes.  I wanted to kick these women's bootaaay (trying to refrain from profanity) Then, I noticed the more and more I listened to her, the worst I felt the rest of the day.  Not to mention, it seemed everyone was bringing me drama.

I call this feeding off drama.  Once we decide we don't want to be drama vampires anymore (I know some may think this is cooky or a wee-bit crazy, but I don't care), then we can be more objective.  We can observe without experiencing.  But to observe objectively, we have to be in the present moment. 

In other words, we can write the drama without living it.  And we must allow ourselves to be in the present moment without worry about the future.
 

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I can't find the original quote I'm thinking of but I think it was by Sandi Toksvig (apologies to whoever said it if it wasn't!) - she basically said that there were two types of comedians, ones who were depressed and ones who played golf.

There are comedians who desperately need the affirmation from making an audience laugh and who get plunged into the depths of despair and self hatred if they don't succeed and there are ones who take a more detached approach and treat it like a job.  There are good comedians from both degrees of the spectrum (and even the detached ones are going to hate it when they die on stage!) it doesn't make too much difference to the audience, only to the performer.

I think that's true of writing and other creative activities too.  There are people who do it because it's an important emotional outlet for them and people who do it because they want to create or enjoy creating or the benefits they get from creating.

So yes, creative people can be happy.  If they aren't, I recommend vitamin D supplements to make up for all those hours spent indoors creating stuff!
 

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If I was drunk and stoned, accepting my Nobel prize in literature while getting a hummer under the podium from Scarlett Johansson with my Leer jet fired up outside full of my friends, waiting to take me to Monte Carlo, I think I'd be pretty happy. So, if they can't be happy, then maybe I'm not creative.
 

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I would say I'm at my happiest at this point in my life and the writing has never gone better. When I was younger I had to struggles with severe depression and a dark past. Like another poster @Dawn said, self-destructive tendencies took all my energy and I didn't write anything then. The more I've found my way out of that darkness, the more I've become open to all the creative ideas in my head. I used to believe creative people had to be struggling to be any good at what they do. I no longer believe that--for me at least.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Carmellitas_pen_has_power said:
I'm happy. I believe happiness is a state of being and not so much a feeling. You either choose to be happy or not. I think it takes more effort to be miserable.

However, I will say this, artists, creative people, writers and the like tend to be somewhat empathic. I mean we take on the feelings of others quite often and when we get around sad people it makes us sad. If we are around conflict, we feel conflicted. Most creative people have to learn how to protect themselves in someway from all the energy we pick up on in a given day. And we do that by allowing ourselves to be an observer rather than taking on the experience ourselves.

I remember I had a friend who called me everyday telling me about her day at the office and it was two women their picking on her everyday. I had imagined what these women looked like, what they wore, the car they drive, and what their voices must have sound like. Every day I was mad right with her when she told me her woes. I wanted to kick these women's bootaaay (trying to refrain from profanity) Then, I noticed the more and more I listened to her, the worst I felt the rest of the day. Not to mention, it seemed everyone was bringing me drama.

I call this feeding off drama. Once we decide we don't want to be drama vampires anymore (I know some may think this is cooky or a wee-bit crazy, but I don't care), then we can be more objective. We can observe without experiencing. But to observe objectively, we have to be in the present moment.

In other words, we can write the drama without living it. And we must allow ourselves to be in the present moment without worry about the future.
That's very interesting. I can totally relate to that, doesn't sound crazy at all. I think everybody soaks up the negativity of those around them, those who will always find something to complain about in every situation. For example, at work, occasionally, they'll have a catered lunch for everybody, from Outback or someplace like that. There's always a few people that are like, "Don't they have anything more well done? This baked potato has too much sea salt on the skin, ewwww, it's too salty. Why didn't they get the kind of pop I like? Wahhhh." Lol. If it's pizza, then it's from a place they just happen not to like, or there isn't one with pineapple and Canadian bacon, or, there is one, but they don't like that and they don't understand why someone would want it. I think the trick is to turn all that negative energy into something positive, at least for me. That's what I try to do, anyway. I don't always succeed.
 
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