Tag Archives: madness

Totally confirming what I already knew…

I adore reading non-fiction about how the brain works, and a couple of days ago I was browsing through a hugely oversized book called “The Human Brain” by Rita Carver.  The pictures were pretty to look at, but I wasn’t truly interested by the book until I came to page 168: “Creativity and Madness”.  Here’s a quote:

Creativity and certain types of insanity share certain features, such as intense imagination, a tendency to link things that may seem unconnected to others, and openess to ideas that others may swiftly discount.  The difference between highly creative people and those who tip into madness is that creative people maintain insight.  They recognize that their imaginings are not real and remain able to control any bizarre symptoms and channel them into their work.

I always knew I don’t think the way ‘normal’ people do – now I know what sort of people I do think like.  I guess I’m not kidding when I say I have an insane brain!

Local Data

Rita Carter continues that: Very creative people score highly on tests for mental disorders but rarely fill the diagnostic criteria for these conditions, so their mental states can be seen as somewhere between normal and insane.

Yup. That is me all over.  Then she includes a cool little graph that shows the results of those test scores.  Insane people, are, as you might imagine right there at the top, in the 90%.  Normal people are at about 30-40%.  Writers (and yes, she did chose writers as her ‘highly creative’) score in at about 65-70%.

All this made me interested enough to do a quick google search.  I came up with this article, called “Creative Genius or Psychotic?”  Here’s a quote from the article:

Those who are gifted with a high level of creativity, are also predisposed to certain forms of psychoses. Indeed, even some of the traits long since considered to be associated with certain forms of mental illness are shared by those who are inherently creative. What follows will be a breakdown of creativity, intelligence and psychoses, and how they all are interrelated.

Is is psychotic of me to think this is deeply cool?

Now that explains everything.

It’s been a good day in genealogical research.

First my brother discovers we have a direct blood-related ancestor that came over on the Mayflower.  This guy:


He has the dubious distinction of fighting the first duel ever in America, and sounds like he was in and out of trouble a number of times.  I think I have an inkling of why he was sent far, far away from England.  😆

And then, oh joy of joys, this man is officially part of my family:


King Henry the Eighth.  How funny to discover he’s in my family tree, just as I finish watching season 2 of The Tudors on Showtime!  Since none of his children produced children of their own (at least not any of his three legimate children), the link to my family is through the sister of his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Joanna “the Mad” of Castile, a queen in her own right.  My first mad relative.  So that’s where it comes from!

Here’s my ancestress, Mad Joanna:


And then, to top it all off, I discover I’m also related to another of King Henry’s wives, Anne of Cleves.  Her father, John III of Cleves, is a direct blood ancestor of mine, though my line descends through Anne’s sister, rather than Anne herself.

Some of you know a desire of mine is to find a royal ancestor and duplicate her portrait with me wearing replica of her gown.  I may have found my subject with Joanna of Castile – or I could do Isabella I.  She’s the queen who funded Christopher Columbus’ trip to find America, and she’s also directly contributed to my genes.

And since I’ve only just found this royal connection, who knows which branch of royalty I’ll end up discovering next?