Sunday, 3 October 2010

Creating Imaginative Hats (1)

I must start with two warnings about imagination.

Firstly, imagination can be dangerous - so long as you know your are wearing your Creative Hat(see previous blog) you are safe. If you don't you could be on your way (as I was) to psychosis which, for me at least, started as the best of all imaginings - it was as if I had a direct line to God and all his answers.

The best analogy I've ever come up with is it was rather like the best dream you've ever had. I felt complete, serene, at peace and at one with the world. However bit by bit the dream became first a little odd and quirky, then uncomfortable, followed by distinctly unpleasant through to sinister and finally a full blown nightmare. My subconscious brain had totally taken over my waking hours.

Initially my brain decided to escape all my troubles by creating a world of its own, but my troubles still existed in the real world and would therefore not leave me alone, hence it ended in a full-blown psychotic episode for which I was quite rightly and thankfully sectioned. I wouldn't have got better otherwise.

That was 12 years ago now, fortunately I've never had another episode and that's mainly because I now check which hat I'm wearing and set a time limit on how long I wear the Creative Hat for. I can be wearing it for a long periods of time (months in fact) so long as I have plenty of breaks and sleep and eat well. The balance for the Creative Hat is reality itself. Always keep in touch with it and participate in it. It was in fact stress that was the root cause not creativity of my run in with psychosis but in an effort to get a holiday from the stress, it was predominantly my Creative Hat that took over. I doubt that psychosis is possible without it.

Lack of food and sleep can all too quickly lead to psychosis. I'm not sure if this story is true but, I heard of an American DJ who tried to break the world record for going without sleep live on air. Medics had to intervene. It can take as little as two weeks without regular sleep, possibly even less depending on your own metabolism to reach this state; but many, many months and even years to fully recover from it. Not least to recover your standing in the world... hence my inclusion of rebuttals to the stigma on this blog site now.

The second warning is about assumptions. Assumptions belong in the world of imagination only. Nowhere else. They are at best, harmless guesses; at worst unjust judgements upon others. A good example is the responses to my telling people of my cat's death. Some people sent lovely messages of condolence, while others didn't. I could guess my heart out as to why in either case but that does not mean I would be right. There can be any number of reasons why people don't respond - from not having heard, to not knowing what to say, to being immersed in their own bereavement or troubles of those closer to them than you are. Always deal in facts, but be prepared for any answer (kind or cruel) when you ask. Always ask people direct. Many a good relationship has been ruined by hearsay. After all none of us like it when others make assumptions about us do we?

I wish I could claim never to make assumptions now but sadly I can't. At least I'm getting good at recognising it when I do though and putting a stop to them immediately.

Warnings over.

I'm currently working on several ideas for inclusion in part-two all involving creative exercises to have some fun with. My starting point will be my second book recommendation "Use Your Head" by Tony Buzan, and in particular the chapter on Mind Maps.


  1. I'm going to recommend your blog to some friends who work for MIND. I think they will love it.

  2. Well, as you know I volunteer for MIND, but as a volunteer I'm not permitted to promote it to 'service users' which is as it should be. My branch already know I'm doing this... the more the merrier really if only to fight the stigma by dealing in facts not guesses!


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