Do creativity and mental illness truly go hand in hand, as many people believe? Or are all creative artists a bit "crazy"? Do psychotropic medications cause creative droughts? Are suffering and deprivation necessary for creative work? Or is there a better approach? Lana Castle draws from research, interviews, surveys, and her own experience to examine what bipolar disorder and depression bring to the creative mix. Drawing from forty-five years experience in the arts, Castle shares first-hand knowledge, tools, ...
Do creativity and mental illness truly go hand in hand, as many people believe? Or are all creative artists a bit "crazy"? Do psychotropic medications cause creative droughts? Are suffering and deprivation necessary for creative work? Or is there a better approach? Lana Castle draws from research, interviews, surveys, and her own experience to examine what bipolar disorder and depression bring to the creative mix. Drawing from forty-five years experience in the arts, Castle shares first-hand knowledge, tools, and resources to help both aspiring and professional "creatives" affected by mood disorders overcome challenges and move forward. Illuminating and inspiring, Castle's new book helps artists of all types deal with depressive droughts and manic floods. With sensitivity and grace, Castle explains how "creatives" can tap their talents to recover their lives. Readers will learn how to: manage medications and treatment without thwarting creativity; find focus; set daily, weekly, and monthly goals; develop self-esteem and independence; use their creative talents to generate income.
These two books reflect recent findings indicating that increasing numbers of Americans suffer from bipolar disorder or its milder forms. In his long career, Fieve (clinical psychiatry, Columbia Presbyterian Medical Ctr.; Moodswing: The Third Revolution in Psychiatry) has focused on the relatively lesser-known subtype of bipolar disorder, bipolar II. Thirty some years ago, he pioneered the use of lithium for the treatment of bipolar disorder (formerly manic depression) and began to notice the less-extreme version of manic depression in many of his dynamic, industrious patients with exuberant moods and high energy. In this first book to concentrate exclusively on bipolar II, Fieve explains how the disorder has become more widely recognized, how bipolar II manifests itself in patients, the impact of family genetics on the development of the disorder, how sleep and biological rhythms affect the disease, the impact of the disorder on one's sexuality, and the distinctive advantages of the milder hypomania that accompanies the disease. He also describes how to distinguish and diagnose clearly the difference between bipolar II and bipolar I, the use of modern drugs in the treatment of the disease, and how professionals should approach the treatment of bipolar II in pregnant women, children, and the elderly. Meanwhile, mental health advocate Castle (Bipolar Disorder Demystified: Mastering the Tightrope of Manic Depression) provides a singular analysis of the intriguing proposition that there may be a connection between mental illness, specifically mood disorders such as bipolar, and creativity. Castle explains how her bipolar disorder has significantly impacted, for better and for worse, her high degree of creativity. As she became aware of the way in which her frequent mood swings began to influence her creative output, she began to research seriously the possible connection. Following a brief synopsis of other works on creativity that dance around the idea of a mental illness connection, Castle provides a nice summary of professional research into the question, revealing that there is not yet enough significant evidence to prove that having a mental illness will enhance one's creativity. The book's heart offers highly pragmatic examples of how highly creative individuals with bipolar disorder can better manage their condition as a way to maximize their creativity (e.g., how to schedule time for creative work, how to shore up skills, and how to find and organize creative space). Both Castle and Fieve offer helpful information on resource organizations and web sites, as well as supplemental bibliographies. Castle's title is distinctive in its approach to helping creative readers with bipolar disorder, and it will appeal to fans of the works of creativity writers Edward de Bono and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi; recommended for larger public libraries. Fieve's landmark work, although suitable for lay readers, will best serve as a reference for mental health professionals; essential for medical libraries supporting psychiatry residences and academic libraries supporting the helping professions. Dale Farris, Groves, TX Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Lana R. Castle is a writer, speaker and mental health advocate based in Austin, Texas. She is the author of Bipolar Disorder Demystified: Mastering the Tightrope of Manic Depression. A member of the National Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance Speakers Bureau, her mission is to openly and honestly communicate her thoughts, feelings, and experiences with mood disorders, suicide, and recovery to help as many people as possible.