There are studies on the connection between the artistic impulse and mental illness. The best are books written by Kay Redfield Jamison, especially her “Touched With Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament.”
In that book, she charts hundreds of writers, from George Gordon Lord Byron to Virginia Woolf, and reveals how the mental illness played a role in their writing.
In this podcast, I speak about my own struggles with manic-depression, and how it has played a role in my own impulse to write, my own need to get words on the page that reflect whatever’s in my head. It relieves the pressure; and, if I’m lucky, it’ll make for a good piece of literature.