I just found this article on Huffington Post and it has got my skin a’tinglin’.
It’s a list of 11 incredibly well-known, well-respected and talented artists who had lifelong battles with depression.
Picasso. Van Gogh. Michaelangelo. Gaugin. Did you know they all had depression or bipolar disorder?
It is, to me, a brilliant reminder that depression and bipolar disorder can be worked with, not just in spite of. Picasso, for example, created a whole collection of works whilst heavily depressed which is known as his ‘Blue Period’.
I’m not an art expert – but I find it so inspiring to see that this collection of people, who produced so many beloved works of art, went through the same pain we go through. The same heartache, the same exhaustion, the same loneliness.
The article mentions one of my heroes, Tracey Emin. A British contemporary artist who creates incredibly personal and controversial works such as ‘My Bed’ (above) which is the actual bed in which she spent several days post-break up feeling suicidal, later turning the bed itself and accompanying detritus (such as dirty pants!) into an art work.
Whatever your opinion is of Tracey’s work, I admire her. Firstly, we both grew up in the same town so to me she represents somebody who came from my home town (albeit my childhood was way less traumatic than hers) and made good. Something I hope I might do one day 🙂
Secondly, her work is her feelings, moods, experiences laid bare. (Like, seriously laid bare. We’re talking nudity and articles stained with bodily fluids). Her work is so honest and she is committed to taking all these parts of her life and personality, even those that are dark or heartbreaking, and creating pieces for the world to see. That’s brave!
Usually I am the first person to think “that’s great for her/him/them, but I could never do that…” yada yada yada, the usual way my brain likes to remind me of my inferiority. Well, maybe I will follow their footsteps one day! I am writing a blog about it, that’s a good step!
The point is, they were able to create something. if they can do it, so can we. I’m not referring to making art (although we can all pick up a paint or pencil) or wearing our mental health on our sleeves. I mean working with our true selves. Achieving whatever goals or desires we have. Getting up. Making something of the day, whether its working on a project or simply getting dressed and making ourselves some dinner.
Articles like this remind me that we are not alone. And that we can do it.