Imagination lives inside our minds, invisible to the naked eye. We witness the unfolding of our thoughts, alone. Does that make them delusions? Where do we draw that line?
In childhood, art seeped through my pores. I expressed myself with ink, color, and words. Children’s books flowed from my fingers like fluid speech; my typewriter became an extension of myself.
Without imagination, my world would be dark. An environment void of creativity is unfathomable. However, for a twelve-year-old girl struggling with her first signs of depression, my darkness was leading me into that cavern. I knew nothing about delusions and their possible connections to my imagination.
Years later, dancing between depression and mania, I had a psychotic break. When I was twenty-five years old, I checked into a psychiatric hospital, where the “schizo” part of my disorder came out to play. I had hallucinations, nightmares, and delusions. These are events I could never have imagined. I was filled with untruths, convinced they were facts. During this period in my life, I coped with madness by utilizing words and colors. My imagination was my safe haven, the location of my inner peace.
I believe that delusions differ from imagination in many ways, though they share key ingredients. Both are intangible, but delusions cause us to reach an edge and blindly fall into chaos. Imagination is kept secret in our minds, a place only we can visit. We are free to wander safely and dive head first into an abyss of our choosing. Imagination is openly followed. Delusions are intruders.