There have been more than a few assumptions that to be highly successful, a writer has to be at least a bit crazy. By crazy, I mean actually crazy, with a few mental illnesses. There is an assumption that writers are sad, sorrowful beings weighed down by a series of mental health issues and struggles with addiction.
There have even been a lot of ‘tests’ that have supposedly determined that mental illnesses are more common in creatives.
Its important to banish the belief that creatives have to be mentally unstable. In fact, many creatives are brilliant people with incredibly sane minds. After all, how can people create such wonderful pieces of art with a mind that is irredeemably wonky.
Sometimes it can be so hard. Here you are, struggling with your shitty first draft, trying to make sense of it and someone is telling you that you’re probably struggling because you aren’t crazy enough. I call bullshit.
I have problems with statements like ‘If my friend doesn’t reach out, I wont’; you can be the bigger person and reach out. You never know what someone is going through at any point in time. Almost everyone has a creative side to them these days. Does that mean that everyone should walk around with mental illnesses and it should be normal? No!
Tying mental illness to brilliance is very ignorant, don’t be that person. If you ever catch yourself doing it, you should stop immediately. People should be encouraged to be brilliant and an all round healthy person. In fact, that’s the kind of image that should be promoted. A lot of young people are suffering from mental health issues, some even developing it and are afraid to speak out.
Thankfully, lots of people are speaking about against these harmful stereotypes and more awareness is being brought to the situation. More light is being shed to the issue of mental health.
I should also use this opportunity to talk about stereotypes. They should die a terrible death. Its the 21st century, man. Those things should done with and they’re a major issue in books these days along with cliches and every other bad thing you can think of (I’d like to know these bad things!).
I also wrote this for you, my beautiful, brilliant friend. Your struggles will not drown you, don’t let them. I love you. You’ll know when you read this.
On that note, here are some great books you should definitely read which I think are absolutely fantastic for understanding mental health and the intricacies.
- Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen,
- Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson,
- My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward by Mark Lukach.
While the first two are personal recommendations (books I’ve read) the last one is a recommendation by someone whose opinion I trust. Do check them out and be enlightened.
Love and Light.
Which books do you recommend for mental health? What are some stereotypes that need to be over and done with?