- 10 Oct 18
We invited a 100-strong chorus of artists, writers, musicians, broadcasters, sports stars and more to contribute to Now We’re Talking, a mental health campaign, run in partnership with Lyons Tea and Pieta House. Playwright and actor Arnold Thomas Fanning talks about dispelling myths.
One myth I’d like to see dispelled is the one that says that mental illness and creativity are somehow linked beneficially; that to be crazy, in other words, is to be artistically productive, and therefore to be envied. For the fact is that mental illness brings no benefit to the creative process whatsoever; rather it disrupts and often destroys it.
Creativity, the creative process, creative and artistic output, thrives with and comes from routine, regularity, dedication, and stability in life. All of these benefits and necessities are severely disrupted and jeopardised by the catastrophic effects of mental illness on the mind; so to continue to accept the myth that there are benefits to being mentally ill in terms of creative output, to comply with the idea that creativity and un-wellness are linked and compatible actually has the effect of confusing the pursuit of wellness, encouraging complacency over vigilance, and undermining the motivation and dedication it takes to be well.
For to be well when living with a diagnosis of a mental illness does take effort and commitment: a commitment to taking the meds, attending therapies, eating a good diet, consuming little or no alcohol, getting a good night’s sleep, as well as acceptance, insight, and compliance. That is, acceptance of your diagnosis, insight into your illness, and compliance with your treatment plan. Out of all this derives wellness, the overcoming of the worst effects of a mental illness, and within wellness routine can exist, regularity can grow, from which creativity can truly thrive and flourish.
• Arnold Thomas Fanning’s memoir Mind on Fire: A Memoir of Madness is out now.
100 Voices was published in the Hot Press Mental Health Special in conjunction with Lyons Tea and Pieta House as part of the Now We're Talking Campaign. For more please visit hotpress.com/now-were-talking/