The curse of a creative mind is that it’s always active and always seeing the world in unusual ways and can sometimes contribute to or enhance any mental issues one has. For my part, I have been obsessed with conspiracy theories throughout my life, and, in some instances, have only recently come to ignore them. I used to be a dedicated believer in conspiracies surrounding the Kennedy assassination, but decided, relatively overnight, that the only explanation that makes sense is that Oswald acted alone, guided by motives we’ll never fully comprehend. Since accepting that belief, I have never questioned it.
I have, at times, exhibited traits common to those described as obsessive-compulsive, bipolar, and paranoid, without ever being diagnosed as any of the above. In fact, beyond being diagnosed as depressed, no doctor has ever cited me as exhibiting symptoms of any other mental disorder. A psychiatrist I was working with in the mid-00s even said I was not bipolar. Of course, any of these disorders can mimic any of the others, but otherwise I have never been diagnosed or received treatment for anything beyond depression.
Quite a few creative individuals have not been as lucky. So, on some level, I regard myself as fortunate, even though I’m frequently plagued with questionable notions and thoughts which suggest a deeper meaning. I question every decision I’ve ever made and carry with me a litany of slights and moments when I acted contrary to my best interests, though I also realize the futility of retaining such information. I’m also, at times, plagued with anxiety, and depression is always looming on the periphery, though I have not experienced severe depression in quite some time.
The way this influences my writing is by giving me the ability to draw connections between unrelated situations. What is a conspiracy theory if not a collection of random occurrences that our brains perceive as having some relation to one another. Just as I can imagine a massive network of shadowy individuals who are hard at work trying to thwart any projects I undertake, I can write about it from a fictional standpoint and turn it into a story people might find entertaining.
There’s an old saying, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you.” Depression, anxiety, and other mental conditions are real and should not be ignored even if someone is able to make use of the byproducts of these conditions in crafting their writing. The neurotic author is almost an archetype in our society and quite a few have had demons they’ve borne during their lives. Fortunately for all, they leave us with memorable characters and intriguing storylines conjured despite the pain that inspired them.