Welcome to the blog for Free Your Mind mental health anti-stigma campaign

This is the blog for the Free Your Mind campaign which aims to battle stigma towards mental illness through the use of music, art, film, and culture.
The blog consists of informative and, hopefully, entertaining articles/posts.
Enjoy! :-)

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Creativity and Mental Illness

The Free Your Mind campaign has its roots in creativity as it aims to use art, music, film and culture to battle stigma towards mental illness. And it seems to me that mental illness and creativity go hand in hand. There must be a link!

Psychosis is the mental health problem in particular that is believed to spark creativity. The thought processes associated with mental illness have been proven to be an advantage; for example, anxiety at a non-clinical level has survival advantages.

My diagnosis includes psychosis, and there is no denying that I'm a creative person. My brain has a tendency to over think everything and it is very imaginative; and I have a photographic memory. I also have a terrible short-term memory; my long-term memory, however, is remarkable. Which I'm sure is all due to my mental illness.

The bizarre thinking patterns associated with psychosis are likely to be what spark creativity. Typically, a psychosis sufferer will make unusual associations and illogical connections. However, when it comes to being creative, this is a clear advantage.

University of Toronto psychology professor Jordan Peterson says, "The normal person classifies an object, and then forgets about it, even though that object is much more complex and interesting than he or she thinks. The creative person, by contrast, is always open to new possibilities." This is also how the minds of those diagnosed with mental health disorders, such as psychosis and bipolar disorder, work.

Mental illness is nothing new. It has been around for thousands of years. Therefore; evolutionary theory suggests that in order for them to still be here they must have some kind of survival advantage. Admittedly, my mental illness has hindered me a lot, getting me sectioned and in trouble with the police, but at the same time it really get the creative juices flowing and that has been a real life-line for me.

Along with writing blogs (I have three in total; one on Myspace, one on the subject of film, television and my career - Titch Films - and this one), my creativity also comes out in the forms of screenwriting and poetry writing.

Relatively little is known about mental illnesses, even now, but I am certain that time and research will show a definite link between creativity and mental health disorders. What do you think?


  1. http://www.facebook.com/mmmetacom

    : )

    David X

  2. Hey Nicola, gret to hear your thoughts on this, I think using forms of creative expression to ground oneselfin moments of 'mental turmoil' is extremely valuable, I have personnally experienced dance and movement to to be incredibly important in grounding myself and others in the now
    Please get in touch with me- kwalmsley@imaginementalhealth.org.uk
    I would love to invite you into one of our groups to talk about your enthusiasms
    Best, kato x

  3. Just discovered your blog through a tweet (!). I'm using film and more recently painting as a creative expression during my current depression - couldn't agree more with p-tato above. I blogged about this last week if you're interested http://wp.me/pe5ED-7T

  4. Hi, thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I have read you're blog before. I quite enjoy reading about your creative endeavors. :)
    Nicola from FYM