Artists, writers, musicians, and actors are notorious for having issues with substance abuse, self-harming behaviors, suicide attempts or, tragically, suicide successes. Not only do we see it all the time in the news in the form of self-abusive behavior in celebrities today, but history seems to support a correlation between creative people and behavior that could probably be interpreted as evidence of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).
It has been suggested that Vincent Van Gogh, who famously cut off part of his own ear, and writers Ernest Hemingway and Sylvia Plath, both who took their own lives, may have suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder. They are just some of many famous creative icons who supposedly struggled with BPD.
Are personality disorders and their co-occurring disorders a fast-track to creativity? If you find yourself in treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder, substance abuse disorder, or severe depression, will you still be able to access your artistic side? Writer Stephen King himself admitted that his greatest fear when working toward freeing himself of his addictions was that he would lose his creativity.
Here are a few reasons why you should not let fear of losing your creativity stop you from living a life free from the painful symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder:
Art is about communication and relationships. Recovering from Borderline Personality Disorder can mean stronger relationships with others, and an ability to better communicate with others.
Get in touch with more than one emotion. Recovery will offer you a full range of emotions rather than leaving you mired in negativity, focusing on one emotion, and cutting off possibility. Possibility is creativity.
Look for perspective. If you believe you can only access your creative side when you are sad, depressed, or in pain, think again. As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can do something, or can’t – you’re right.” Be honest with yourself about what is stopping you from the first step toward recovery. Ask yourself whether you’re using your art as an excuse to avoid what may be a challenging road to recovery. Attempt to shift your perspective and imagine the creativity that will spring forward during your journey, when you are able to take a clearer look at yourself and at the world around you.
Remember that your creativity belongs to you, not your Borderline Personality Disorder. Many Borderline Personality Disorder treatment centers offer art therapy as part of a BPD treatment plan. Experimenting with a medium you don’t usually use can help you access your creativity — and your emotions — on a whole new plane. For example, if you usually paint, try sculpture or pottery. If you are a songwriter, try drawing the emotions you wish to express rather than expressing them through song. Trained art therapists will lead you through the process.
Look for a holistic BPD treatment center. If losing a handle on your creativity is a major concern of yours in your recovery, a holistic Borderline Personality Disorder treatment center may be the right fit for you. A holistic BPD treatment center will integrate practices such as yoga and meditation that will offer the fast-track to creativity that your symptoms used to provide. You might be amazed at the fresh ideas and new creativity that comes from being one with your mind and body.
If you still believe you can’t access your creative side when in recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder, look for inspiration on Kayla Kavanagh’s blog. The British singer/songwriter won the 2012 Poetry in Mind competition, a competition open to all writers in the U.K. who have been diagnosed and treated for a mental illness, which was Borderline Personality Disorder in Kavanaugh’s case. The beauty of her music sums up the possibility of creativity in recovery.