So today’s blog post is just another reminder of how us creative types are… um… different. As in, we might be predisposed to getting a mild form of schizophrenia.
Here is an excerpt from this fascinating Psychology Today article:
In a recent study reported in Schizophrenia Bulletin, Nelson and Rawlings propose that a mild form of schizophrenia called schizotypy may be positively associated with the experience of creative flow.
Those voices you hear in your head? You might want to get them checked out… or not, because they might help you write better dialog!
All kidding aside, the article explores some interesting points about how people who get lost in their writing are saved from the brink of madness if they are intelligent or have a strong working memory. In other words, most of us are two personality traits away from descending into Beautiful-Mind-Esque schizophrenic paranoia. The article states that in terms of the Big Five trait test, creative people almost always have these two traits: openness to experience and neuroticism.
This makes sense if you think about what we need to write a great screenplay. First, we must collect interesting experiences and be open to doing things that enhance our creativity and storytelling skills (openness to experience) and then we must write it all down and revise revise revise within an inch of perfection that would drive any normal person insane (neuroticism.)
So if you think about all the alcoholic, depressed writers and artists with questionable sanity lurking in our history books (I’m looking at you Edgar Allen Poe), then it makes sense that there would be a genetic link between them. I mean, people don’t choose to be moody and write about death and dying all day (right Slyvia Plath and Emily Dickinson?) so doesn’t this schizotopy answer make sense?
SO DOES THIS MEAN I HAVE MILD SCHIZOPHRENIA?
Whoa, calm down there all you self-diagnosing Web MD hypochondriacs! Schizotopy is a mood disorder that causes people to be withdrawn, exhibit eccentric behavior, and to ruminate obsessively about something. If you’re saying, ‘yep! That’s me!’ than you should know this: Schizotopic traits are apparent in many people to a mild degree. The people who have to worry about this disorder are the people who truly cannot function on a daily basis because of these mood swings characteristic of extreme Schizotopy.
For your edification, here are the symptoms:
- A cold or inappropriate affect
- Odd or eccentric behaviour
- A tendency to social withdrawal
- Paranoid or bizarre ideas not amounting to true delusions
- Obsessive ruminations
- Thought disorder and perceptual disturbances
- Occasional transient quasi-psychotic episodes with intense illusions, auditory or other hallucinations, and delusion-like ideas, usually occurring without external provocation
In a word? Writers.
You can read more about schizotopy here. Fascinating stuff.