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Creative minds who wrestled with depression

10-04 | Rachael

Creative minds who wrestled with depression

The misconceptions around mental illnesses often hinder a person from talking freely about his or her disorders. While other chronic illnesses like diabetes or cancer do not have so many prejudices attached to them, mental illnesses, on the contrary, involve stigma. Instead of accepting a mental illness as a medical condition, some people would rather make a mountain out of a molehill by projecting them as character flaws.

Mental illnesses, such as depression, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, etc. affect millions of people every year. Nearly 18.5 percent of people in the United States alone experience various mental illnesses in a given year. Other factors, such as environment, psychosocial issues, lifestyle, genetics, etc., can individually or collaboratively trigger a range of mental disorders.

Driven by their immense imagination skills, it has been reiterated from time to time that creative minds often grapple with a host of mental conditions, such as anxiety, depression, etc. One of the common beliefs among the masses is that the field of creativity demands intense rumination, deep imagination, etc. Trapped between innovative ideas and out-of-the-box concepts, many creative minds, including writers, painters, filmmakers, etc., have struggled hard with undiagnosed depression that tends to wreck their normal life.

As mentioned above, most people suffering from such a clinical condition often feel reluctant to talk about their disorders due to the increased stigma around mental disorders.  Consequently, people fail to enunciate effective efforts. Unlike others,  artists are able to use their weaknesses as a springboard for producing creative pieces of poetry, painting, stories, songs, etc.

Some of the prominent names in the field of art and writing who had a tough time with depression and at the same time expressed their emotions through their art are as follows:

  • Fyodor Dostoevsky: The renowned Russian novelist who captured the darkest emotions of the human heart through his words struggled with chronic depression. In order to overcome his disorder, he developed a serious and destructive habit of gambling.
  • Vincent van Gogh: One of the historical and influential artists of all time, Vincent van Gogh struggled with the problem of depression. “Dear Theo: The Autobiography of Vincent Van Gogh” gives an honest account of his emotional turbulence that he had to go through.
  • Hans Christian Andersen: The dynamic storyteller known for his timeless fairytales and heart-rending stories, such as “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Little Mermaid,” struggled with depression. His stories became a channel to release his emotions. He never married and most of his life was covered in the veil of despair. It was believed that genetics, boredom and war are likely be the reasons for his unhappiness in life.
  • Henry James:Henry James, one of the iconic American authors, is known for his notable novel “The Portrait of a Lady.” James, who is no stranger to depression, used to alleviate his illness by writing serials and novels. In fact, several literary critics opined that his lifelong bachelorhood may probably be due to his crippling fear of intimacy.
  • Jackson Pollock: The legendary painter and a major figure of the abstract expressionist movement had endured his inner demons for several years until he was encouraged by his brothers to seek treatment. Despite his ongoing treatment, he suffered a nervous breakdown in 1938. Though he was not able to completely overcome his depression and alcohol problem, he did produce some of the exquisite pieces of artwork during his two-year sobriety.

Turn creativity into strength, not weakness

Depression is a crippling disease that can destroy a person’s normal functioning in daily life. In order to avoid the risk of developing it into a chronic disease, it is important to take some essential self-care steps. One can distract his or her mind by indulging in creative activities and spending time with family and friends. Rather than keeping one’s inner fears and inhibitions limited to himself or herself, one should feel free to share such thoughts with an expert or a loved one.

If you or your loved one is suffering from depression, it is imperative to seek professional help. The Depression Treatment Helpline of Colorado assists in accessing the best depression treatment centers in Colorado that specialize in delivering evidence-based intervention plans. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-427-5668 or chat online with our advisors to know more about the depression treatment in Colorado. Apart from treatment, adequate support and affection from loved ones are necessary to help people stay motivated and positive.


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