This question has fascinated me for years. I am interested in psychiatric issues as I have worked in an acute mental health unit for three years, and I have always been creative so there have been more than a few occasions where I have wondered whether the two subjects can cross over. And of course there have been many case studies to prove this is true.
Some people picture the creative person as slightly eccentric. They may be dressed as a hippy and wear outrageous accessories. The music artist Jamiroquai is a fine example of someone who takes a piece of clothing to make him unique. No one can wear all those crazy hats and look as cool as he does.
But he's an example of someone eccentric who does not suffer mental health issues. He's part of the argument that goes against this particular question. He's an artist who has managed to lead a successful and fulfilling life.
Artists like Amy Winehouse prove that success and fame do not always provide guaranteed happiness. They still battle their demons and the results are sometimes tragic. How many people like this can you think of?
Many writers also battle depression, proving you don't always have to write song lyrics to fall into this category. Writers like Marian Keyes openly speak about their troubles, discussing in detail how they feel on a day to day basis. Mental illness can sometimes be the result of negative thinking patterns, and every writer knows that in order to produce books you have to do an awful lot of thinking. It just depends on whether you think mostly negative thoughts or positive ones.
I don't consider myself as someone who suffers from mental health issues as I have seen some severely ill people over my lifetime. However, I do recognise that I sometimes worry to excess and I put this down to my over active imagination. My brain seems to be lacking the switch which turns off thoughts before they snowball. And once I have a particular thought that troubles me I find getting rid of it very hard indeed.
So, what do you think? Do you have to be crazy in order to be creative? Do you suffer from the issues I have raised?