Are Freethinking and Creativity Really Mental Health Issues?

What would happen if our creative lives and businesses had to exist under the threat of a mental illness diagnosis?

“Dissent is essential for progress” – Thomas Eddison

“My work is more important than what you think of me” – Brene Brown

“Not everyone thinks the way you think, knows the things you know, believes the things you believe, nor acts the way you would act. Remember this and you will go a long way in getting along with people.” – Unknown

I recently read this article dated 16 November 2013, and it shook me to the core! It is entitled ‘Non Conformity and Freethinking Now Considered Mental Illnesses’. The film ‘The Matrix’ immediately sprung to mind. The article states that “In the last 50 years, the DSM-IV (DSM-IV Codes are the classification found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) has gone from 130 to 357 mental illnesses.” Some of the criteria for these diagnoses are apparently “”oppositional defiant disorder” or ODD. Defined as an “ongoing pattern of disobedient, hostile and defiant behavior,” symptoms include questioning authority, negativity, defiance, argumentativeness, and being easily annoyed. Other ‘symptoms’ include arrogance, narcissism, above-average creativity, cynicism, and antisocial behavior.”

I started to wonder what would happen to our lives and our businesses if we indeed became the watered down versions of ourselves, that it is suggested is required in some parts of the world, in order to live life free of the danger of being locked up, or at the very least medicated.

Another question also rises to the surface – exactly which sections of society would be targeted for these traits? As the article and attached video interview state, children are a primary target – maybe because of their inability to refuse treatment. Another concern is that a number of the people who are in positions of authority, and meant to be representing us, are exhibiting just such symptoms – so does it come down to ‘personality traits’ for them, but ‘mental illness’ for those that seek to question their judgement and possibly oppose them?

What is creativity?

“Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and valuable is created (such as an idea, a joke, an artistic or literary work, a painting or musical composition, a solution, an invention etc.). The ideas and concepts so conceived can then manifest themselves in any number of ways, but most often, they become something we can see, hear, smell, touch, or taste.”

The above definition would also include science as a form of creativity, so it begs the question – “Would creativity be permitted in certain profitable professions? For example, didn’t scientists come up with the ideas for GMOs, chemtrails, fracking and all the chemicals that are poisoning us today? If these particular ideas weren’t so lucrative for a selected few, wouldn’t they also be sectioned under the Mental Health Act? Or is it just creative people who challenge these already established organisations who would come under observation?

I believe that everyone is creative, though the predominant belief appears to be that creativity is confined to the arts – painting, music, writing, acting, dancing etc. However, there are brilliant and creative people in businesses of all kinds – their flashes of creative genius make a massive difference in people’s lives – both positively and negatively. What is important is that the people who work for the good of the planet don’t get their work suppressed, in the event that those who benefit most have the power to throw the mental health card in their direction.

A further question is “Who decides at what level creativity is deemed a mental illness?” Correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t the people making the assessments be the ones that are already indoctrinated into the accepted belief systems – the ones that are trying to fit all of us into one box or another?

Creative geniuses of the future are already being medicated and their minds tamed just because they don’t think or behave the way ‘normal’ people are meant to think and behave. So many children are being diagnosed as troubled or broken, and their parents lead to believe there is something wrong with them, when what is actually wrong is the system. The system is outdated and many parts of it no longer apply, but there is so much money and time invested in it that it is easier to medicate the children, brainwash the parents, and keep everyone living in the past.

What would we lose?

There are already many countries around the world where sections of the community live under these types of pressures. Places where to be authentically you and speak out is too frightening a prospect. Places where individuality, creativity, fun and joy are stamped out each and every day. Places where a few people feel they have the right to dominate and control others – robbing them of their loved ones, belongings and sense of self. These are often soul-less places where expansion, adventure and new and exciting ideas are alien. Places were progress can rarely take place because there is too much invested in keeping things exactly the same, and where any positive creations are kept to the few and not shared with the masses.

If a system like this is abused then people will live in fear of being truly seen. The tallest poppy in the field syndrome, where they would be in danger of being cut down to size, so would hide their light. Only the very brave would challenge it. It would be like giving a child an outfit to wear and telling them they must wear it every day for the rest of their lives and not grow out of it. It would stunt growth and imagination and this would create limited choice.

My local market is a good example of what happens when a system is abused. When I first moved into the area it was wonderful, you could get absolutely anything there. However, in recent years what has happened is that one community of people got greedy, so when anyone vacated their market stall they took it over. Not a problem you would think, except for the fact that they filled the stall with the same kind of products that were on all their other stalls. There was nothing new to be seen and the market has gradually declined and become a shadow of its former self.

In Conclusion

I think that every person is unique and should be treated as such. Yes, there are people who are a danger to themselves and others and where action is necessary. However, I am sure we have all heard stories of people who have been targeted because they did something that other people judged as unacceptable, which just boiled down to a difference of opinion and not a mental health issue at all. In the not too distant past, unmarried mothers sometimes found themselves in this position. I believe that we need to be very watchful to make sure that systems like this don’t get abused.

All the time I hear about new inventions and ideas that are so inspiring and absolutely brilliant – to clean the oceans, solar panels for roads, using recycled wood to make shelters for the homeless, to name but a few. I look forward to many more years of equally brilliant creativity and imagination, and that will only happen if people have the confidence to be themselves and create freely without fear of recrimination.