Category: Creative Arts

Top 3 Strategies From 2016 Peoria Blogging Forum

One of the things that I enjoy doing is attending events for bloggers, such as the 2016 Peoria blogging forum. Two years ago, I decided to join such an exciting event where bloggers from several states gathered to discuss different topics about our common interest – blogging. Below are some of the strategies that I learned during the personal forum:

  1. Be Authentic. Branding is one of the essential aspects of blogging. If you want to become a famous blogger, you need to be authentic in everything that you do. Never buy followers or fake your engagement, as it will only hurt your career. At the same time, make sure, to be honest in all your articles and posts.


  1. No To Click Baits. Every blogger wants to drive topic to his blog. It is only reasonable for every online writer out there. However, there are several methods on how to make this happen without using click baits. These are titles created for the sole purpose of making people “click” on the link, but in truth and fact, the content is not related to the said title.


  1. Connect And Engage. The nice thing about blogging is that it has a community of writers and readers. As much as possible, make an effort to connect to these people every now and then. Meet bloggers who share the same interests as you do. At the same time, interact with your readers by replying to their comments or commenting on their posts.

Blogging is such a fun and fulfilling hobby. It may take time before you can create an outstanding blog, but once you do, all the efforts will be worth it. If you continue to do it right, you may end up earning from it.


The Creative Arts And Mental Illness

Just last week, I read a classic novel by a favorite author of mine, and this was about someone who experienced a mental disorder. I got into profound contemplation about how mental illness has been part of the olden times, and how the arts have played a role in recovery.

The novel was a masterpiece, the author sharing insights about life, love, and death. It also featured an artist, much like the popular icons Vincent Van Gogh and Virginia Woolf, who lived with a chronic illness but kept on because of his creativity.



Indeed, science has discovered much connection between creative arts and mental illness recovery. Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, and Robert Schumann were thought to be mentally ill but continuously lived and worked their way towards success through their creations. These three famed artists, amidst their complex minds, created beautiful poems, music, and stories.


How They Differ – And How They Are The Same

The diagnoses of psychiatric disorders long ago were not supported so much by clinical evidence but from the artists’ biographies that showed physical, emotional and mental abnormalities. These were also proven through pathography, wherein psychological and literary analysts explained the relationship of the artists’ psychological and pathological aspects. Others were also found to have above average or excellent scores in their writing or art classes.


I was a bit confused with the findings but I did agree that there was something similar about mental disorder and creativity – and it was how these two deviated from the normal ways of thought. Someone with a mental illness did not think and behave normally, to be creative is to do something that is extraordinary. However, the effects of not being normal differed. For mental illness, it was depression, panic, and delusions. For being creative, it was beautiful poems and stories, magnificent paintings, and award-winning music. A finding once showed that intense euphoria and productivity are both characters of bipolar disorder and creative work.

The number of mentally ill artists who flourished in their field of art should instill hope to those who have mental health issues, but not the urge to resist treatment. The list of ill creators included Jane Austen, Anton Chekhov, Sigrid Undset, Sebastian Bach, George Elliot, John Million, and last but not the least, William Shakespeare.

Yes, Shakespeare’s in the list, and here’s the catch question: Was Shakespeare depressed, considering the words he wrote from Hamlet? Perhaps he was – or not.


Final Thoughts

I guess I am elaborating on this book that I read and re-read because I want to emphasize the importance of seeking the help of a mental health professional if you have been diagnosed with a mental illness. No doubt, creative art is among the most effective therapies, but only in conjunction with counseling and the proper treatment plan that has been carefully examined and prepared for you.

There are a variety of therapies for the mentally ill, and art therapy is only one of them. Ask a psychiatrist or a therapist about these and get the help you need.


How Women Can Improve Mental Wellness

Do you constantly feel sad about something in your life? Are you feeling down most of the time because of reasons that you could not identify? Is it your goal to improve your life to something better? If you answered yes to all these questions, then consider yourself lucky because you came to the right article. In this write-up, some of our expert writers are going to discuss how a woman like you can have an improved mental wellness. Here are the ideas to keep in mind:


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The Underpinnings Of DID In The Movie “Psycho”




Hollywood’s fascination with mental health issues is depicted at the end of the spectrum. Mentally ill individuals are often categorized as individuals who are murderers or a lonely but lovable guy who needs a love of a good woman to make the blues and addiction go away. Movies do not always give the real-life depiction of mental illnesses because after all, in general, these issues are annoying.  Who would want to invest in a story plot with countless therapy sessions, long hours spent sleeping and doing nothing and endless trial and error on medications? Cinema is vital in shaping the societal perception and awareness of the world around us; however, it can also bring exciting information and inaccurate characterization to draw controversy and publicity to the story which might lead to profit.




People are fond of scaring themselves and what is scarier than monsters, the idea that ordinary people around us are capable of doing heinous crimes without any apparent motivations; thus, the prolific releases of suspense thrillers with serial killers’ plot. One of the most iconic films with a serial killer as the central theme is the movie, “Psycho.” Psycho was released in 1960. It is a Phoenix office clerk named Marion Crane who is tired of her life. Her dilemma is that she can’t marry her lover, Sam because most of his money is spent on alimony. One day, when Marion’s employer trusted her to bank 40, 000 dollars, she took the chance to embezzle the funds to start a new life. While driving to Sam’s store, she got lost and decided to stay in a motel. A motel is run by a depressed manager, Norman Bates who is also a serial killer with multiple personality disorder or dissociative identity disorder.

Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a severe condition wherein a person’s identity is fragmented into two or more personality states or distinct characters which alternately controls an individual. Some individuals describe the disorder as an experience similar to possession. Despite the movie Psycho being released before the modern classifications of the disorder, the director, Hitchcock did showcase the classical symptoms and elements in the diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder.




DID stems out from traumatic events or childhood. It is believed by experts as some coping mechanism of the psyche: considering that the traumatic events happened to someone else. The psychiatrist in the movie pointed out two events in Norman Bates’ life: the death of his father and committing matricide. Another symptom displayed as DID in the movie is social impairment. He lived in isolation and didn’t mainly have any friends or a reliable support system. Also, his illness showed a disturbance in the day to day life; however, one aspect of Mr. Bates that doesn’t fit the DID diagnosis is having conversations with his mother, which more appropriate to be classified as hallucinations or delusions which is often seen in schizophrenia patients. In the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-V), it states that there are recurrent gaps in the recall of everyday events, relevant personal information and traumatic events that are inconsistent with ordinary forgetting. Through this movie, the general public is made aware of rare mental illnesses. It is also essential to learn more about this condition and dispel misconceptions that having the disease will lead to being a serial killer.

A Beautiful Mind: Hollywood’s Best Rendition On Schizophrenia


The movie industry often has a bad reputation for creating biography movies. Oftentimes, the storyline is sensationalized to the point of deviance from reality. Majority of the producers’ concern is the number of the tickets sold justifying such acts as giving the public what they paid for.

In general, people watched movies to be entertained and to see something out of the ordinary or unusual. Mundane and routine theme stories aren’t so popular in the general arena. Despite these perceptions of the movie industry, mental health experts recognized the movie, “A Beautiful Mind” for creating awareness of schizophrenia to moviegoers and the society as a whole.




“A Beautiful Mind” is an Oscar-winning film released in 2001. It depicted a brilliant mathematician named John Nash who was played by Russell Crowe.  Nash developed symptoms of schizophrenia when he was around 30 years old after he made significant contributions in the field of mathematics, an extension of game theory and math of decision making. As the disease progresses so does his symptoms, he had hallucinations and bizarre behaviors. Over the course of several decades, he was off and on anti-psychotic medications and in and out of hospitals. Later in his life, Nash claimed recovery from the disease without any medications. He attests these improvements to natural hormonal changes of aging.  Research, done before medications for schizophrenia was available, revealed that about 20 percent of schizophrenic patients recovered on their own while the remaining 80 percent did not. Latest studies show better prognosis in the management of Schizophrenia when accompanied with antipsychotic medications.




Schizophrenia is a disturbance in thought processes further characterized by an inability to grasp reality accompanied by abnormal social behavior. The common symptoms identified with the condition are false beliefs, hearing or seeing things, decrease in social interaction, and emotional expression as well as lack of motivation. According to studies, schizophrenia affects about 1% of the population. Oftentimes, individuals with schizophrenia have other mental disorder co-morbidity such as depression, anxiety or substance abuse disorders. The onset of the condition comes gradually beginning in young adulthood and may progress throughout one’s lifetime; however, there are also accounts of children with schizophrenia although considered as a rare occurrence. Despite many efforts to pinpoint the cause of the disorder, like any other mental illness, it is believed to be caused by numerous factors such as environmental living conditions, genetic predisposition, brain chemistry and structure, history of cannabis usage, certain infections, parental age and poor nutrition during pregnancy. The diagnosis of schizophrenia is based on observations on his behaviors, reported experiences of people around him and the patient’s personal experiences. There is no exact cause of the mental illness; the treatment goal is to focus on elimination of the symptoms of the disease.




Enduring chronic disorders such Schizophrenia can be heartbreaking not only to the patient but also to the family. It can be debilitating and frustrating to the point of seeking assistance in doing simple daily tasks such as taking a bath or eating. Having awareness on these topics might encourage everyone to focus on their mental health.

Passion For Creativity Leads To A Healthier Mental And Emotional State




Art is the expression of one’s soul; any form of expression is therapeutic.

Whoever said art does not benefit the mind and the soul clearly doesn’t know how to create nor appreciate one. For art is a way to allow the brain to articulate the tragedies and victories of a person’s life.Granting creativity access to one’s being is like letting the rain wash away all the sorrowful and disappointing fragments of the day.

While others are not so convinced with the healthy perks of art, construed by the negative misconceptions and beliefs towards the discipline, there are numerous studies that support the thought of creativity as a form of therapy for various ages and genders.

Art is universal. The creativity of the mind is not merely contained by what others can perceive.

Art goes beyond the superficial factoids of a person’s emotions. It conveys multiple hidden elements about somebody that can only be revealed through a stroke of a brush; a strum of a note; sculpt of an angle; the eloquence of the mind. Which is why, if you really want to know someone hand them a piece of paper and a set of coloring materials or a musical instrument or whatever it is that a person prefers to let the creativity flow from the system.




Art’s beneficial contributions

  1. Reduction of stress

Any artistic activity is calming. It takes the mind off of the world for a period of time, blocking out any forms of stressors. Being exposed to aggravations and nuisances can bruise a person’s emotional well-being and drain the mental state to the point of losing all composure and just screaming all frustrations out to the void. Art can take you away from that dire moment of your life and just let you reconnect with yourself. This then promotes healing of the soul.


  1. Boosts self-esteem

In life, there are things that you can’t win. And it’s quite frustrating that, no matter how hard you put your mind, body, and soul into something that you do, the outcome is still disappointing. But with art, there is a promise of creation, a bit of a struggle, and result. Art provides a sense of accomplishment which then boosts a person’s ego and self-worth.




  1. Increased concentration and motivation.

Creativity does not require skill or experience. However, in constant practice, a person can achieve improvement. Art is sometimes overwhelming for it does not pledge favorable conclusions; you may not like what you’ve made. Still, the person has gained something out of it. The process of creativity can increase a person’s focus, motivation, and ardor in performing different kinds of tasks.


  1. Enhances innovative thinking

When engaging in art, designing things and writing a piece, part of the brain is triggered; that part that is not normally utilized for most of the day. By way of thinking creatively, you tap into the brain’s mechanism to produce chemicals that can spur and inspire innovation. People who are adept at thinking creatively can easily suggest alternative solutions to various forms of predicaments within the workplace or in the community.




  1. Resilience to changes

The repercussions for the passing of time do not exclude anyone; therefore, it is the mind’s objective to adapt to the changes. A person’s life depends on the ability of the mind to become resilient to whatever it may encounter, most especially with unfamiliar territories and circumstances. When a person was engaged in addiction or has experienced trauma, the brain should reroute itself. Art can be therapeutic in a way that it lets a person recover from forms of negative occurrences, depending entirely on creating improved thought processes. By doing so, art creates a new pathway of knowledge and skills that can lead a person to become smarter in dealing with crises they might encounter.

While art can just be a form of past time or hobby to some people, to others, it is an escape.  Creativity has shown significant beneficence not only to children who have mental disorders but also to adults who are going through a rough time. So to say, art incorporated into life is highly advantageous.


Mental Illness Behind The Jane Eyre Novel




Literature is said to be the written reflection of the society, culture and its issues based on a particular time.

Jane Eyre was a novel written by Charlotte Bronte about a heroine finding her way and place in the society. It challenges the cultural and religious norm of that time. Also, it tackles gender and social class issues and places the main characters in the position to examine their moral and spiritual sensitivities. The element of suspense in the novel was the existence of a ‘lunatic’ first wife who was described as, “what it was, whether beast or human being, one could not, at first sight, tell: it groveled, seemingly, on all fours; it snatched and growled like some strange wild animal: but it was covered with clothing and a quantity of dark, grizzled hair, wild as mane, hid its head and face.”

Bertha Mason, the first wife, of Mr. Rochester was of Creole descent and has a family history of madness. Due to the insanity and the animalistic behavior of his wife, Mr. Rochester opted to imprison his wife in the attic under the care of a nurse. In the Victorian era, locking away or domesticated attention of mentally ill individuals are considered less harsh then taking them in the asylums. The ‘madness of Bertha’ has influenced society’s perception and awareness of mental illness.




Due to the popularity of Jane Eyre, some experts and academics even studied and compared the condition of Bertha Mason to an individual diagnosed with Huntington ’s disease. Huntington ’s disease also called as Huntington ’s chorea is a hereditary disorder which leads to the death of brain cells. Early symptoms show subtle problems with mood and mental ability. Next, overall lack of coordination and unsteady gait is observed. As the disease develops, jerky and uncoordinated body movements become noticeable. Physical ability slowly worsens until coordinated movements become difficult and the person is unable to talk. Mental abilities are also affected which causes cognitive and psychiatric disorders. Similar to Huntington’s tenets, Bertha Mason depicted a disorder with a strong family history which is suggestive of an autosomal dominant inherited condition with adult onset and culminating in suicide.

Many criticize Bronte on her depiction of Bertha’s Creole heritage and her complexion along with her madness as evidence to be identified as savage but at the same time also seen as a doppelganger for Jane. The doppelganger takes on the novel may not be too far-fetched since Jane Eyre is even imprisoned by the red room as a child and abstract sense of confinement as a woman of low social class. During those times, women suffer too many restraints and rules. Thankfully, the rigid social level, the limitations of women and stigma of mental illness are improving and far better as compared before; however, the issues remain and despite countless efforts from advocacy groups and healthcare sector. Feminists groups, female initiative campaigns, call for gender equality and reports of sexual assaults stay as problems that are yet to eliminate. After all, the feelings of entrapment of Jane Eyre and Bertha Mason might still be the same confines we face today.




With the present situation, a lot has changed since research, science and digital technology have intertwined and allowed the discovery of treatments and innovations on how to treat and handle mental illness. There has been a lot of promising changes, however, we still need more human involvement and understanding in relation to our attitude and behavior with persons suffering from mental illness.

The Evolution Of Mental Illness




Despite many improvements in treatment and research of mental illnesses, there are still existing social stigmas that hinder the society from addressing the issue of increasing incidence. In the prehistoric times, mental illness was seen in a mystical perspective. Without division between magic, religion and health care, without any real understanding of the cause of the occurrence of the disease, the abnormal behavior is attributed to the supernatural. Treatment would include casting of spells by Shaman and exorcists. From 500 BC to 500 AC, various mental disorders were pinpointed as melancholia, mania, hysteria, delusions, and hallucinations. Then, in the 15th century, the ideas and opinions on mental illness surrounds in arguments of the existence of witches, finding basis and proofs that witches-oftentimes women-do exist, how to identify a witch such as deviant behaviors, insanity caused by possession of the devil, salvation of the soul was given more importance than the physical body and physical punishments.




The 16th century was a time when mentally ill individuals were dangerous and were locked up in order to protect society. Mental illness was a topic tackled in literature. This was evident in the Shakespeare’s plays, but it was most apparent in the play “Hamlet.” Several characters in Hamlet might be identified as mad. Most notable are Hamlet and Ophelia. Deaths of their fathers drove the madness showcase in this game. Hamlet’s behaviors suggested a mental disorder. For instances, seeing the ghost of his father and the ghost urging him to seek revenge is an example of hallucinations. Visual and auditory hallucinations are one of the symptoms seen in individuals with some form of schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. Many people with anxiety, depression and panic attacks also encounter hallucinations. At some point, Hamlet questions his insanity whether it is, in fact, the ghost of his father or rather the devil itself who is betraying his soul.  In the end, his madness and quest for revenge resulted in the most tragic of the story: Death to himself and his loved ones. Another major character who also exhibited symptoms of mental illness is Ophelia. Ophelia showed signs of depression over the death of his father. The death of her father also destroyed her self-identify and it too bloomed the feelings of helplessness regarding her own life. The subject of mental health during these times may not have prompted dramatic action towards the treatment and management of mental illness, at least it became a vehicle of awareness regarding the fact that mental illness exists and can happen to anyone.

In the 17th century, the general belief was that if “mad” people behave like animals, they would be treated as one. A neuroanatomist and doctor, Thomas Willis advocated treatments such as curative discipline, fetters, blows and medical treatment.  The law decree that a mentally ill individual lacked the ability to reason so his affairs are handed over to someone else – nearest friend – who will not substantially benefit from his death. The care of the ill was a domestic manner and cared at home or private mental institution.

The 18th century was a dark age for the mentally ill. They were classified as prisons who are oftentimes, neglected. During this period, there was the development of asylums usually away from the public. The 19th century was a breakthrough and become a pivotal point in what mental illness is today. The mentally ill were treated in a specialized facility resembling a homey environment. Decent beds replaced the prison room with pictures of nature and loved ones and other decorative objects. A structured schedule was implemented, and inappropriate behaviors were tackled with the goal of restoring sanity and become a productive member of society.




With the present situation, a lot has changed since research, science and digital technology have intertwined and allowed the discovery of treatments and innovations on how to treat and handle mental illness. There has been a lot of promising changes, however, we still need more human involvement and understanding in relation to our attitude and behavior with persons suffering from mental illness.

Art Therapy In Treating Mental Illness


Experts estimate that mental illnesses affect one in every three people. Imagine the extent and how widespread these conditions if their estimation is correct. The incidence of mental illness is at its all-time high, and the increase of these cases are attributed to the use of technology and probably, due to the lesser stigma about the condition, more and more people are seeking help and openly talking about it; thus, contributing to the statistics. concurs. In modern medicine, the treatment focuses mainly on pharmacology and psychotherapy.  Innovation and research continue to find a deeper understanding of the conditions and procedures; however, according to numerous accounts, people suffering from mental disorders shared that art therapy is a significant factor in their recovery.

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