Dr. Kay Redfield Jameson lives with bi-polar illness. She has been a very successful psychologist and writer. She believes that the research shows and the truth of the matter is that there is a correlation between mood disorders and highly creative artwork.  However, she says not to romanticize mental illness. Though many creatives and famous creative artists had mental illnesses that had an affect on their artwork, this did not come without its price. Byron and Van Gough, for example, wanted treatment for their illnesses. Many wanted to be treated and to get help, and some committed suicide at a young age. She makes the point that it is not a choice between being creative and taking medication.

Dr. Shelley Carson has a focus in her studies on psychopathology and creativity and teaches at Harvard. She says that most people who are creative do not have mental illness. She says people who have bi-polar and are creative are most creative right around the up and down from normal ranges of mood. She says the flight of ideas in mania and the feeling of ‘greater clarity’ may be part of what improves creativity in mental illness. She says anyone can become more creative by following the steps in her book. So you do not need to have mental illness to be creative.

Rachel Hofer