There are plenty of famous people who have suffered the emotional pain of depression. A recent post by nursingschools.net “50 Famous Artists and Thinkers Who Have Struggled with Depression” compiles a nice list for you, demonstrating the wide variety of “well-knowns” who have battled the demon.
While I have mixed emotions about the notion that mental illness and creativity are linked, this article is an interesting and informative compilation.
I’m not sure why I feel ambivalent about the link between mental illness and creativity, perhaps it is because I do not want anyone who is really gifted or creative to feel like they will be pegged right away…perhaps it is because there is some shame or fear inside me that if I am without my illness, I might lose something? I know that during horrible painful times in my life I have been most creative, but still… I can be creative when not suffering as well.
When I was an inpatient in 2006 (at a psychiatric facility) Art Therapy was my most favorite time of the day. In fact, if I recall correctly, it was my most favorite thing about being an inpatient back in 1993 as well!
I became enthralled with watercolors. I loved to watch how the paper would soak up the color, how I could move it around and create different forms of expression with the paintbrush. I certainly would not call my efforts of a professional caliber, but some of my works were “not so bad”. I took this new hobby home with me after I was discharged and for a couple of months I avidly utilized watercolors as an outlet and a way to bring peace and comfort to my mind. For some reason, I have not been able to watercolor in the same way as I did then. I stopped, and then when I tried to pick it back up it felt very foreign. Perhaps it is because I stopped painting on a consistent and regular basis, or perhaps it has something to do with the level of depression and mental illness I was suffering at that time? No telling.
Either way, I believe Art Therapy is a very real and good form of therapy and an excellent outlet for emotional expression and also relaxation. In addition to the list I linked above, I would like to share with you a brilliant video I saw tonight, a truly amazing expression of pain and healing through art.
P.S. I’m completely confused by the copyright warning at the end of the video, if it is posted on YouTube then it is available for sharing, right? If I am infringing on any kind of rights then it is purely unintentional!