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Understanding Peculiar Features of the Creative Mind and its Psychosis

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Reading source: Psychiatric Times: “The Association Between Mental Disorders and Geniuses” (Dr. Pediaditakis, N., Sept. 25, 2014).

While striving to understand the true morphology of mental illness, I do recognize how I have slowly evolved into a socially detached individual that to some degree, it gave me a higher sense of wellbeing and peace. The social engagements seized over time and I am totally content with that. It was probably the most beneficial for the worsening feelings of anxiety and dysmorphia I was having at the time.

I do have periods of highs and lows like many. Then I begin to realize that it is when I am in elated mood that I could throw fits of deep creative thinking, so intense they could last for hours. Often lacking desire for any physical activity, I remain undistracted in my own quiet space and become increasingly obsessed with a single fact that my brain randomly picks. And if I find it peculiarly interesting, I start aiding myself with in-depth research. Results are oftentimes so remarkable I tend to find numerous studies that have evolved overtime. Some have empirical evidences that support the exact same theory I had in my mind. And the adrenaline rush begins. My brain starts to overflow, sending projectiles of unfathomable thoughts so perfectly associated to one another.

Perhaps because of my self proclaimed odd personality, I have a huge appetite for the strange and peculiar, the often misunderstood and unexplained facts. I have strong admiration for the genius, and find the wise and courageous mythical. I reflect a lot on the myriads, ridicules, and irony of life. I am fascinated by patterns of human behaviour; and I can go into massive flights of motivational thinking so well versed I find it rather enchanting. In my normalcy I rarely put my thoughts into writing due to self perceived lack of vocabulary or loose associations. I keep them in my mind until they disappear and vanish into thin air, most times never to return in my memory again. I decide that is not happening today.

I was specifically obsessing about Mental Disorders and how they are so vague and obscure — still not fully understood to this day. Although clustered into numerous classifications and phases, differential diagnosis in Psychiatric Health can still be very challenging as it requires skills so advanced and persistent, that it takes an enormous amount of time to determine which treatment is the most beneficial to a certain individual. Symptoms can oftentimes be misleading because they vary in several different ways. Sometimes two different conditions tend to overlap and have the exact same manifestations and the only distinction is that one could be more or less severe than the other. Some conditions, on the other hand, differ from the lack of one or two symptoms of the other. There are individuals who may have multiple diagnoses and what makes it even more ambiguous is that these patterns of behaviour could rapidly change over time and eventually morph into a relatively new condition. Then we begin to question our clinical judgment and the ever so broad and complex Pharmacology of Mental Health. So peculiar and way beyond human understanding that if it were not for the principle of nonmaleficence, treating every single symptom without compromising the other is nearly impossible. It truly amazes me how bizarre and overpowering the human mind can be. What I find particularly interesting is that some of the most brilliant minds known to man may have actually been functional psychotics, ridiculously creative geniuses.

In an attempt to find clinical evidence to support this theory, I came across an article written by Nicholas Pediaditakis in Psychiatric Times: “The Association Between Major Mental Disorders and Geniuses” (Sep 25, 2014) As he wrote:

“Charles Darwin was aloof, obsessive-compulsive, and a hypochondriac. His co-discoverer and fellow genius, Alfred Wallace, was also aloof and a lonely wanderer. Nikola Tesla was often mentally compromised, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart suffered from mood swings. Beethoven was periodically depressed; Tolstoy was a strange, otherworldly, idiosyncratic aristocrat; and let us not forget the periodically outright psychotic, super-genius Isaac Newton. Albert Einstein was an aloof man who mistreated his second wife Elsa (who was also his cousin). He gave away his illegitimate daughter, sight unseen, although on the surface he displayed social affability and charm.”

Dr. Pediaditakis also added that “Steve Jobs, a very intense, compulsive genius, exhibited signs of cyclothymia. He was able to recruit the creative powers of others and literally built the realm of computer technology. Yet, under oath, he swore impotence and sterility to avoid the obligations to his illegitimate daughter. And the list goes on and on. Winston Churchill had periodic dark moods, Theodore Roosevelt had mood oscillations, and the often melancholy and otherworldly Abraham Lincoln and Alexander the Great were seized by demonic fits. And not to mention the distinguished actor Robin Williams who suffered persistent episodes of depression leading to his ill fated demise.” (Pediadatikis N., 2014).

I do not aim to suggest that all psychotics are geniuses (or vice versa) but to rather understand the association between creativity and mental illness. Depression and anxiety to begin with, are perhaps the most commonly misinterpreted and overlooked pre-morbid conditions of all major psychotic disorders. I am overly impressed with ability of the human mind to defy its own; which is why many known individuals even with a mind so exceptional and intact, could perfectly mask their inner chaos. Most of them become captives of their own brutal realm of darkness for years and years. Despite their fortune, power and highly reputable role in the society; their level of intelligence so distinctive and remarkable they still make a name to the world are often the most vulnerable victims of this plague.

It is my personal belief that it is possible for an average individual with mental illness to achieve creative thinking with combined efforts of professional and self-help. That one is capable of building resilience that is sufficient enough to manage his symptoms constructively. Ultimately, impulsive ritualistic behaviours emerging over time may allow an individual to recognize hidden talents and even unlock an incredible potential.

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