Are Artists Always Unstable? [The Myth of the Confused Creative]

When creatives struggle, we tend to look at the wrong cause

“He can’t help it.”

“She’s just eccentric.”

“Genius does that to you.”

“You know how creative people act.”

For years, the public has made statements like this as they watch artists go through times of emotional and relational conflict. Whether they be famous rap artists who suddenly break from tours, actors and actresses who check into rehab facilities, or high-profile couples in the arts who have public feuds splashed over the airwaves, these artists are viewed differently when they struggle. Audiences and onlookers almost expect instability and odd behavior from them. It’s as if being creative gives the artist no choice but to live in a cloud of mental and emotional confusion.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

While there is a natural tendency for creative people to be more sensitive, there is nothing in science nor Scripture that mandates that creative people must be unstable.

The reason for mental and emotional struggle isn’t the music, nor the stage, nor the calling to create.

It’s being human.

Blaming great torment on great talent would be the same as blaming God for giving us talent. Scripture says that God never gives a gift that he regrets. However, because we tend to worship the giftedness of a person, we stop seeing the humanity of the artist and see only the gifting as the primary factor in everything the artist touches.

It’s not that artists aren’t unique. We simply share the same issues as everyone else. Those issues are magnified on stages, on platforms and in the media when we achieve success. But they are no different than anyone else’s struggle.  Artists, like everyone else, live in a fallen, unstable and sometimes unforgiving world.

And, like everyone else, we will sometimes stumble.

The question isn’t whether artists deal with mental and emotional issues more often or more deeply.

It’s how we should respond.

Do we see someone fallen on the roadside, shake our heads in pity and move on to the next show?

Or, do we stop and find a way to help, encourage and assist?

Will we simply restate the obvious fact that there is a problem? Or, will we strive to be a part of the solution?

There’s only one solution for people who are hurt, whether they are artists or not.

People who will help.

Do you feel artists are more likely to face emotional and mental challenges? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below. 

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4 thoughts on “Are Artists Always Unstable? [The Myth of the Confused Creative]

    • Thanks for your thoughts Rochelle! I’d definitely have to agree based on my own experiences, but I still wonder if that is something we’ve picked up from years of seeing others struggle, or if it’s truly part of being a creative. My gut feeling is that we might be accepting a destiny that’s not truly ours. I’m planning to research this a lot more in the coming months. -ACP

    • I tend to agree with that. But I’m really interested in why that is. I’m hoping more research and more talks with artists will reveal that.