This month we read Mark Vonnegut’s 2010 memoir, Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So. Dr. Vonnegut describes his family as highly creative but plagued with a deep history of mental illness. Unable to escape his dark family legacy, the author struggles with bipolar disorder and alcoholism. Luckily, Mark also inherited the Vonneguts’ intellectual and creative abilities, which helped him to overcome these substantial set-backs to become a successful pediatrician, writer and artist. NPR and psychiatrist and blogger, Dinah Miller, reviewed Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So and Diane Rehm interviewed Dr. Vonnegut about his book in November of 2010. In January 2012, The Boston Globe ran a brief interview with Mark Vonnegut, in which he talks about books and mental illness.
I also found an article in PLoS One entitled, Familial linkage between neuropsychiatric disorders and intellectual interests, by BC Campbell & SS Wang, who found “heightened prevalence of bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and substance abuse in the families of those pursuing the humanities” in the results of a survey of undergraduate students at Princeton University. Sounds familiar.