Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Question for God...

why is the creative thinking community so burdened with mental illness?
A friend sent me this list today...
1641 Isaac Newton - bipolar disorder, depression, schizoid symptoms, paranoia
1709 Samuel Johnson - obsessive-compulsive disorder, Tourette's syndrome
1731 Henry Cavendish - autism
1757 William Blake – bipolar disorder, hallucinations
1759 Robert Burns - anxiety disorder
1770 Ludwig van Beethoven - bipolar disorder
1777 Heinrich von Kleist
1788 Lord Byron - bipolar disorder
1795 John Keats – bipolar disorder
1805 Hans Christian Andersen - bipolar disorder
1809 Charles Darwin – panic disorder, agoraphobia
1809 Abraham Lincoln – depression
1809 Edgar Allan Poe - depression, paranoia, alcoholism
1809 Alfred Tennyson - anxiety disorder
1810 Robert Schumann - bipolar disorder
1812 Charles Dickens – depression, bipolar disorder
1816 Charlotte Bronte - anxiety disorder, depression
1820 Florence Nightingale – bipolar disorder, hallucinations
1821 Charles Baudelaire - bipolar disorder
1828 Leo Tolstoy - depression
1844 Ludwig Boltzmann - bipolar disorder
1845 Georg Cantor - bipolar disorder
1849 Johan Strindberg - depression
1853 Van Gogh – schizophrenia, bipolar disorder
1856 Nikola Tesla - possible obsessive-compulsive disorder
1863 Edvard Munch – bipolar disorder
1872 Calvin Coolidge - depression
1874 Winston Churchill – depression
1877 Herman Hesse – bipolar disorder
1882 Virginia Woolf - bipolar disorder, psychosis
1883 Franz Kafka – anorexia, obsessive-compulsive personality
1884 Sara Teasdale - bipolar disorder
1885 Sigrid Hjertén - schizophrenia, modernist painter who died of a botched lobotomy
1888 Eugene O'Neill - depression
1890 Vaslav Nijinsky – schizophrenia
1895 Anna Freud - anorexia
1896 Antonin Artaud - schizophrenia
1896 F. Scott Fitzgerald - depression, alcoholism
1897 William Faulkner - bipolar disorder
1899 Ernest Hemingway – depression
1900 Zelda Fitzgerald - schizophrenia
1901 André Malraux - Tourette syndrome
1902 John Steinbeck - anxiety, depression
1903 Mark Rothko - depression
1905 Howard Hughes - obsessive-compulsive disorder
1906 Samuel Beckett - depression
1906 Kurt Gödel - paranoid delusions
1911 Tennessee Williams - depression
1913 Frances Farmer - paranoid schizophrenia
1913 Vivien Leigh - bipolar disorder
1922 Jack Kerouac - schizophrenia
1928 John Nash - schizophrenia
1928 Anne Sexton - bipolar disorder, anorexia
1930 Buzz Aldrin – depression, alcoholism
1932 Sylvia Plath – depression, bipolar disorder
1941 Lionel Aldridge - paranoid schizophrenia
1944 Ray Davies - bipolar disorder
1946 Syd Barrett - schizophrenia, bipolar disorder
1946 Tom Harrell - paranoid schizophrenia
1947 Elton John – bulimia
1948 Nick Drake – depression
1950 Karen Carpenter – anorexia
1953 Kim Basinger - agoraphobia, social phobia
1961 Princess Diana – bulimia
1966 Jeff Buckley - bipolar disorder
1967 Kurt Cobain - bipolar disorder
1969 Elliott Smith - depression, alcoholism

I think I know the answer... the enemy wants to steal beauty.
The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection.
::: Michelangelo :::


Dave said...

Or is it that these mental anomalies (much like sand in the oyster) lend a hand in creating these unique personas?? ;^)

Janet Fraser said...

i love this perspective! thanks SO much for this comment! ~J

Jenna said...

I kind of agree with Dave, I was going to say something along the lines that relating to the world in a different way creates a unique relationship with it and thus unique outlooks. It's not like they were creating bad things, but beautiful things - something Heavenly inspired. Maybe not from Satan.

Janet Fraser said...

thank Jenna-
This morning i was thinking about how it could have been different if they hadn't had to deal with these things... but i'm beginning to see that the hardship was not only a distraction but also something that shaped their art in a unique way. That's pretty cool...

Melinda said...

This is a special post! I might venture to add Martin Luther to the list, who was saddled with OCD/scrupulosity.

April said...

This is a great question Janet, and one that I've thought of a lot as well. I'm currently going through a devotional called, "God Calling" and one of the entries also offers a possible "reason" (It is written as if God were speaking to us):

"Much that you must accept in life is not to be accepted as being necessary for you personally, but accepted, as I [Christ] accepted it, to set an example, to share in the sufferings and difficulties of mankind."

Sometimes the things we go through in life are for the benefit of others...so that we can minister to someone out of a place of being able to RELATE to what they're going through. I'm reminded of what John Franklin said last week, "it's not about me."

All I know is that from the list you provided, it's nice to know that I am in very good company!

Jenni Clayville said...

we all know I'm relatively "sick" and you DO always talk about how creative I am.

These are my peeps, yo!

btw... I miss you.

Joni said...

That's very interesting. I'm depressed and pretty creative generally. Maybe our abnormal brains have to look at the world differently to cope. I'm afraid my daughter will also be depressed(family trait) by some of her actions and life approach. And she has the most creative mind I know--in a 7 yr old!