As this CNN article points out, “[e]xperts say mental illness does not necessarily cause creativity, nor does creativity necessarily contribute to mental illness, but a certain ruminating personality type may contribute to both mental health issues and art.”
Hardly would I be so bold as to call myself an artist. But ruminating?
“Sensitivity to one’s surroundings is also associated with both creativity and depression, according to some experts.”
I have suffered with depression—manic and accute—since I can remember, since long before I ventured out into life on my own, since long before my family ever knew me as more than just one of the children, one of Jr.’s kids, one of the Hogle clan. It had something to do with being gay, I felt, yet its claws dug much deeper than that, its venomous breath reaching to depths I scarcely knew existed.
“Some have pointed out that being engaged in creative pursuits makes a person more open to experience, while others say the pressure of being engaged in the arts causes negative emotion…”
Always did I pay attention to that which so many left unnoticed; always did I ponder that which too many left unconsidered. A curse? Perhaps.
“‘Creative people in the arts must develop a deep sensitivity to their surroundings — colors, sounds, and emotions,’ says Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, professor of psychology and management at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California. Such hypersensitivity can lead people to worry about things that other people don’t worry about as much, he said, and can lead to depression.”
Certainly I’ve been accused of paying too much attention to things that a majority ignore. In fact, I’ve been told I notice more by orders of magnitude than others who stray within the same spaces I often haunt.
“‘The arts are more dangerous [than other professions] because they require sensitivity to a large extent,’ [Csikszentmihalyi] said. ‘If you go too far you can pay a price — you can be too sensitive to live in this world.'”
Am I so inclined as to be oversensitive? Am I too observant as to be a burden upon those around me with my constant noticing, my constant feeling?
And is this the cause of my dreadful sense of doom that vexes me at every turn?
Am I just too sensitive?
— — — — — — — — — —
 A pair of fox squirrels (Sciurus niger) enjoying a bit of breakfast.
 Heavy dew on a blade of grass, each droplet dazzling like a jewel in the morning sunlight.
 A pleated inkcap (a.k.a. fairy parasol, little Japanese umbrella or Japanese umbrella inky; Parasola plicatilis [formerly Coprinus plicatilis]) not yet mature yet facing its demise under the blanket of hot sunshine.
 Empty swings in soft focus and morning light, the scene left just as I found it on a hot and humid day when early morning felt as stifling as late afternoon.
 A captivating fence made of unprepared timber and barbed wire stretching around a pasture that holds nothing more than hay bales.