Dangers of Chasing the Light: Creativity and Dual Diagnosis

CREATIVITY is GOD Energy, flowing through us, shaped by us, like light flowing through a crystal prism.
…. Every creative person has myriad ways to block creativity.”  ~ Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way,  Week 10,  “Dangers of the Trail

I have always considered myself a creative being. But as an active alcoholic with untreated bi-polar, my energy was warped by my misshapen or covered prism. Now sober and semi-sane, it’s easy to see how my creativity was not only blocked, but self-sabotaged by my addiction and depression.

However, when manic, my light was so bright, but coming from many angles refracting off my mirrored prism into far more hues then Newton’s component colors of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. My prism reality was illuminated into a blinding florescent disco-ball world. It was wondrous. The creativity seemed endless. Until the lights went out.

Alcohol clouded my prism, but eventually blocked the light. I was left in an endless abyss of disparity nearly ending in my death. Depression disabled my creativity.  A black hole prevents everything, including light, from escaping.

Like physicists studying light theory, I have had to come to terms  that there is a wave-particle duality to my existence. As Einstein wrote: “It seems as though we must use sometimes the one theory and sometimes the other, while at times we may use either. We are faced with a new kind of difficulty. We have two contradictory pictures of reality; separately neither of them fully explains the phenomena of light, but together they do“.

Initially wanting to discard both diagnoses of alcoholism and bi-polar, in the past 10 years I have clung to either theory; I had a booze problem or a depression disorder. The bi-polar diagnosis was not pushed hard, and as a creative being was not something I wanted discovered. Although I know it’s toxic, I’d be lying if I said I did not miss those disco-ball creative days. In fact the present longing is causing a pain in my chest.

Acceptance of my dual diagnoses and reliance on a power greater than me has allowed my creativity to flow again. The pure white light comes from a source I cannot explain. I am the clear prism through which the productive particles are dispersed into a rainbow of creative expression. But my creativity, like light, also travels in waves. Due to medications my wave length and depth is not what it used to be, but the creativity still ebbs and flows. And the block to the vibrant violet laughter that is my life source has been removed.



6 thoughts on “Dangers of Chasing the Light: Creativity and Dual Diagnosis

  1. Pingback: Dangers of Chasing the Light: Creativity and Dual Diagnosis | Sober & Single in Med City

  2. I’ve often thought about the connection between creativity and mental health. I’ve heard stories from people I know and people I don’t who claim that medication dulls their creativity, or who fear medication for that very reason, or who feel they must make a choice between their mental health and their creativity.

    I have found the opposite to be true in my life — like you, depression often renders me unable to create, or at least makes the process sluggish and difficult (as is everything in depression). I create more prolifically on my migraine medication — which is also an anti-depressant — because on it, I just *live* better. And life feeds creativity, contrary to what I used to believe (that an interesting outer life would rob one of an interesting inner life.)

    It’s a complicated relationship, but I sometimes wonder if the tie really goes back to the fact that creating is often an inexpensive way to “cope.” That is, you do not need mental illness to create, but when you live with mental illness, you NEED to create. Perhaps some people feel they no longer need this when they get well. More often, I just think the way they need it changes, and a lack of desperation may be mistaken for a lack of passion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I complete more creative projects that I believe have a greater depth of honest creativity than I did when manic. I can’t multi-task like I used to, or produce as quickly as I did before the right medications, which is frustrating at times. As a friend of mine put it when I was explaining it to him, I no longer have that “S” on my chest. But I’m also no longer playing a dual role; Super Violet and Despondent Violet. My outer and inner life are happier, more honest, and finally mirror each other.


      • I’m glad to hear that. It reminds me of writing while “inspired” vs. writing while just making yourself do it. It might *feel* better to write while inspired, but afterwards, usually the quality is the same as the painstaking day; sometimes the painstaking days even produce better writing, more grounded.

        Liked by 1 person

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