Does creativity come from mental illness?

Does my creativity come from mental illness?  
When I was depressed, my only joy was creating my beloved illustrations and stories for my children’s book. I fantasized about running away to a cabin by a lake, art supplies in hand, to spend days in solitude with my colored pencils and watercolors.  

 I wrote stories and blogged. I vented and my words freely spilled onto the keys on the computer. I found comfort and connection with the people online who could relate to my stories. My thoughts gushed all at once, my emotions sought out images and adjectives to express my heart’s pain and frustration. And they found those words, those images.

  When I was manic, I was obsessed with getting a piece done. Every free moment I had was dedicated to my work. I took a whole day off of work one day and tirelessly sketched and painted while I drank my first cup of coffee that morning to sundown. I brought my computer and sketchbooks to work, and spent every free moment drawing, writing, and creating. I was so excited about my work, so proud. I couldn’t wait to show my husband, children, and friends. My therapist was my biggest fan, her praise fueled my desire to create more. I was good at this. I loved it.  
After months of ups and downs, trying to manage my meds, I finally can be alone and not cry. I don’t go to that dark place as much. The beast has loosened its grip. I can breathe.
I am feeling so much better, thank God. While I have no intention of looking a gift horse in the mouth, I can’t help but notice that I don’t want to do anything constructive or creative. I don’t want to draw or write. No activities around the house that expresses my love of color and change…moving furniture around, painting rooms, cleaning out closets and organizing cabinets into neat rows.  

Does my creativity only come from the highs and lows? Can there not be one without the other?


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