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Tuesday, 15 November 2016

On Artists and Depression



Last week, prominent author coach Rayne Hall sent me an advance review copy of her new book, Write Your Way Out Of Depression. This after we had a conversation on Twitter about a month ago, about famous writers from history who suffered from depression.

Then, on the same day as receiving the ARC, local radio presenter Roxy Blows was talking to a musician on her Mix 93.8 FM Radio show here in Johannesburg. I can't remember what the artist's name was, but one of the things he mentioned was that most musicians suffer from depression.

I've often suspected that creative people of all sorts tend to have some form of depression or anxiety disorder - whether diagnosed or not. What's more, one of my Facebook friends is a painter, and she often posts about her depression.

The thing is, I don't know whether being an artist makes one depressed, or if it's just that depressed people tend to be more disposed to the creative pursuits.

I have heard before that emotional trauma can lead to depression, if your resilience isn't strong enough. Even if you are resilient enough to get through a particular trauma, multiple traumas in a short space of time can really wear you down. An example was losing your beloved pet. Okay, it's sad, but you can deal with that. A week later, one of your parents passes away, and a month after that, you have a big fight with your long-term girlfriend and end up breaking up with her.

All these things have a cumulative effect on your psyche, and eventually, you crack.

Although it feels silly to put what I'm about to say in the same league as the above, there are many different types of trauma. I think that rejection is a valid form, and as artists of all types, we're used to suffering rejection after rejection as we try to get our work noticed by the world.

Do you think that could be a cause? Or is it something else?

What came first - the depression or the artist?

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