Creativity and Depression

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"One of the surprising things that's emerged from the study of moods in recent moods is that putting them in a bad mood — making them a little bit sad or melancholy — comes with some cognitive benefits. ... So sadness, although it is not fun and is not pleasant, it does sharpen the mind a little bit. And one of the long-standing mysteries in the field of creativity is this correlation — and this was first identified by Kay Redfield Jamison and others — is people suffering from various kinds of depression and creative output. People who are successful creators — especially writers — are anywhere between 8 and 40 times more likely to suffer from bipolar depression than the general public. And no one's known what to make of this. It's tough to associate creativity with mental illness because obviously if you're very ill, it gets in the way. ... But one of the theories now is that the terrible swings of the mental illness – of bipolar depression – you get these manic highs, these euphorias, where the ideas just pour out of you. And you need to write them down. That's followed by this dismal low period when maybe you're a better editor. Maybe it's easier for you to focus and refine those epiphanies into a perfect form. ... The thinking is maybe the correlation exists because the swings of mental illness echo the natural swings of the creative process." http://www.npr.org/2012/03/21/148607182/fostering-creativity-and-imagination-in-the-workplace