Romanticising Depression - End Note


The "Neurotic Artist"

This is a complex area for me.

  1. I am a creator, one who makes and breaks under the pressure that is found in our collective madness.
  2. I have been the senior counsellor of the Women’s and Children’s Counselling Centre, and the senior lecturer of the Philosophical and Arts College of Therapy
  3. At this time of my creativity I am writing a play on Nietzsche and for those who have not discovered my website, you will find bulletins, information and Nietzsche’s Yellow Dancer - I paint also. The play is called Alone

This was written in response to an article: "Listening to Prozac". My answer is: How about "Listening to Life" and "How much truth can you bear?"

I have spent hundreds of hours in my counselling practise listening to regrets, alienation, division and loneliness. I am also aware that there are people who are genetically affected by depression and who develop a "blueness" towards life, but they also develop “a redness and whiteness” (Picasso).

I have referred people to doctors to be helped by medication and all at some stage will come off the medication because they complain, "I am not in my life. I cannot feel anything. At least when I was sad I could feel my personal sadness".. Even though it might seem "irrational" that they would be sad there are reasons for this sadness, reasons that assist in personal growth.

Goethe writes, "One must die many times before they are born, and taste tears in their bread". I do not have theories or solutions to life, for life is not to be solved but lived, but what always assists even in these cases is the opening up of the internal world of exploration, the world of ideas.

Thinkers who have travelled this road and have left messages of challenge and inspiration to the rest of us who are seeking and searching,

The other "depression" that I have seen is the "reactive depression". This is of epidemic proportion - the Camus Plague.

It is generally self-imposed through a long term loveless and meaningless futility in living and alienation from the self and others - "the cell of the self" as Eliot wrote.

Will chemicals remove this?
Will outside sedation and comfort bring the

"the courage of conscience" or the "ownership of the self?

"In more than twenty years as a physician, I never have seen any suffering that begins to touch the horror of loneliness. The cries of this condition are gut-wrenching and only friendship can really ease the pain" (Dr. Patch Adams).

Does Prozac offer "friendship"?
Does it offer the "ownership of the self?"

Does it offer meaning and purpose in the human condition, in the Sisyphus repetition and "fret and tear" (Keats) of being in the "agon" of life? (Heraclitus)

I have no solution or answers, simply more questions!

I do remember clearly when I was working with a psychiatrist who wanted to read my work, and I offer what is asked of me, so I gave him a copy of my poetry, "The Shadow of the Barbarian". He proceeded to ask me, "Do you suffer from depression?"

My heart response was to hide from this man who wanted to remove from me my struggle, my sight, my imagination, my vision and my ability to keep alive and "rage
do not go gently into that good night
". He had not seen that this poetry was written as a result of the work that I had been involved in with refugees. He did not even acknowledge the existence of this world that was burning as we spoke.

He wanted to make me "happy" and to remove the heart of the world from me.
I smiled and responded, "I do not suffer from depression, but rather from grief and despair. And this is not about self division or alienation from my life, but rather a world pain, a desire to bring harmony where there is discord. And all the while I am aware that I will not make any difference, but I still continue, and in this "eternal recurrence" I suffer from both grief and joy".

What would Nitse (Greek spelling) say?
What would Kierkegaard say?
What would any thinker "mover and waker" say about having their instinct,
imagination and vision removed or sedated?

Maybe we need clarity and not mix syphilis or epilepsy with "artistic depression". They are two different areas of investigation and research. Epilepsy and syphilis are not "depression" and therefore should not be categorized with the human condition of aloneness and sadness.

Now as for the "creative", not the "neurotic", artist creativity is carnivorous and when it smiles that is when it is most carnivorous!

To make, create and invent, you desire the "madness and reasons" of love in the physical. Original thinkers suffer from despair and grief as they suffer from joy and reverence, from all consuming devotion for and against the laws of life and death.

I believe I have never had any goal
other than finding out what man is.
Where from? Wherefore?

I feel a certain contempt for people who sit scribbling together words, sentences, chapters, on how we should lead our lives and do not move on the outmost edge of the consciousness where you hear the “screams from the inferno".

Original thinkers, inventors, creators deal with concepts and matters that cause conflict "agon". The mind has been created to deal with chaos and that is why Nitse wrote "out of chaos a star is born". Since psychology has not been able to determine the "spark" of rebellion, creativity is in Love with the "spirited and tender" (Platol) and all those who refuse to "go gently into that good night".

Heraclitus was correct in saying "there is dialectical unison in fire". It feeds and consumes, it gives all and takes all, so "artists" arethe lasting ones.

Do they suffer from grief and despair? Of course!

How can you go into life and not let it touch you, all of you?

Such people:

Do they suffer from grief and despair? Of course!
Would they want this dealt with as a "mental illness?" Of course not!

It is NOT a mental illness, it is the soul of their fire, in making and breaking!

The creator who is in LIFE, reaches out beyond the limit of the average experience and extends his world beyond the limits of the so called "normal" experience and expectations, of the taught and comfortable.

In the eyes of the "run of the mill" psychologist or psychiatrist, this means that he is abnormal - not above normal, not below, but abnormal. And abnormal is psychopathological!

The creative, the "neurotic artist", or those in life somehow or other must be sick.

What would Nitse and Kierkegaard have been like if we removed their "agon"?

In 'The Twilight of the Gods', such people have the courage to go above and below ( and don’t forget sideways) in areas that most people avoid.

Therefore they do suffer from grief and despair because they see into the veil of appearance, and still continue to want to create beyond and above nihilism.

Camus wrote, "There is no joy for life if there is not despair for life."


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