It has been said that those with creative genius may be more likely to suffer from mental illness. It has also been said that those with mental illness are more susceptible to the muses of the arts. It appears that it would be difficult if not impossible to prove a link between the two one way or the other. This is because both creativity and mental illness are not so tightly defined. They are human characteristics as well as phenomena in their own rights. There are to many factors at play.
In my opinion, if there is a link, it would lay in the ability to think outside the box. The great artists have been known to view reality in a profoundly different way than the average person. This difference of perspective has the potential to lead to truths not yet explored, and bring them to an audience of others.
That being said, mental illness does not make an artist. It had the potential to tear families apart, insight hateful paranoia, and decimate a person’s once promising life. We should never allow ourselves to believe that this kind of mental suffering should be fed in service of our art. And yet we cannot be afraid to express dark thoughts as well as hopeful ones in our works. In my mind, art has it’s roots in compassion and a bold bringing forth of self – a reaching into ones own core and the core of the world. By expressing ourselves fully and honestly and by genuinely reflecting upon the source and meaning of the ideas in our art, art can become a method of bringing mental wellness into all our lives.