British mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, and pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing led a group of other brilliant codebreakers, including Joan Clarke, at Bletchley Park outside London during WWII to crack the German’s Enigma code.
Two new studies provide evidence that artists are more happy, and more psychologically stable, than most people.
Formerly "The King of Pain," Sting says "I’d like to do my work, and be a happy man." / One study said, "On average artists enjoy higher job satisfaction than other employees, mainly due to more autonomy."
The tone of many responses to the death of Robin Williams support the insidious "Crazy Artist" mythology: that artistic creativity depends on mental disorder.
But, as psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman commented, his “comedic genius was a result of many factors, including his compassion, playfulness, divergent thinking, imagination, intelligence, affective repertoire, and unique life experiences. In contrast, his suicide was strongly influenced by his mental illness. This romanticism of mental illness needs to stop.”
Many talented and creative people experience impostor or fraud feelings about themselves, despite their accomplishments. But those beliefs can be changed.
Valerie Young, Ed.D. is an expert on impostor syndrome and commented in an Entrepreneur magazine article: “Millions of people, from entrepreneurs to celebrities, have a hard time internalizing their accomplishments.”
Mental health conditions such as autism and Asperger’s Syndrome, often considered a mild form of autism, can be challenging for many children and adults - such as British mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, and pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing,
Highly sensitive individuals make up 20 to 30 percent of the population. They “experience things more intensely, and therefore have had more difficulties learning to manage emotions because they become so overwhelmed by them.”
“I don’t know whether every author feels it, but I think quite a lot do — that I am pretending to be something I am not, because, even nowadays, I do not quite feel as though I am an author.” Agatha Christie
James Thurman Webb, PhD commented in a Facebook post about Robin Williams: "I have no doubt that he was a highly gifted man who struggled with existential depression. His intensity, sensitivity, and search for life meaning, characteristic of so many gifted people, permeated his life."
Intensity was an almost defining quality of Williams (and many gifted artists and other people). Polish Psychiatrist and Psychologist Kazimierz Dabrowski defined this intensity as overexcitability: an abundance of physical, sensual, creative, intellectual and emotional energy. As Dr. Webb and others have pointed out, intensity and other characteristics of giftedness may be misinterpreted as pathology.
HeartMath clinical studies “have dramatically demonstrated the critical link between emotion, heart function and cognitive performance." Their technology "helps you transform feelings of anger, anxiety or frustration into more peace, ease and clarity.”
Alice-in-Wonderland syndrome, thought insertion, clinical lycanthropy, Paris syndrome and more…
Douglas Eby's insight:
Madness and creativity: do we need to be crazy? - The mythology of the mad artist continues in various forms, supported to some extent by research. Video from World Science Festival: ‘Genius’ Dark Cousin’ – “But is there really anything to this idea of the “tortured genius”? Or is it just a romanticized notion exaggerated by film and literature? Philip Glass and Julie Taymor respond to striking data presented by Dean Keith Simonton, a psychologist who has studied the nature of genius for decades.” http://talentdevelop.com/3423/madness-and-creativity-do-we-need-to-be-crazy/
Artist Robert Genn notes that writer Eric Wilson "disparages our current love affair with putting on a happy face" and "Dr. Thomas Svolos of the department of Psychiatry at Creighton University School of Medicine thinks Wilson is right." Genn adds, "A state of thoughtful melancholy and sensitivity breeds an elevated creativity and a more profound happiness."