Do writers need to be hurt and depressed to crank out the best work?
Creativity and depression are linked. There have been studies that show that those who are creative also have a tendency towards depression. David Lynch has described depression as his “Suffocating Rubber Clown Suit of Negativity.” He states that a person needs to be in a positive state in order to create; to be able to catch ideas and explore. This is a great paradox for many to digest who know Lynch’s work; some of the darkest I have ever seen. Lynch has stated that for all the darkness there is also great light; there is balance.
Some research indicates that artists create as a sort of catharsis, a self-induced therapeutic activity to combat depression; I am inclined to agree. I use writing to help me understand what may be confusing, troubling…I often feel that I have either no one to talk to or no one who would understand. Again, I often write to understand and it does make me feel better. This same research points to creativity being a result of depression; depression, itself, does not breed creativity, but an individual’s choice to combat depression breeds creativity; the need to explore, understand, empathize, uncover emotions and possibilities from various points of view. Artists are hypersensitive human beings that need to exorcise thoughts and feelings into a creative art form.
I believe artists are at their best, however, when they keep on the sunnyside of life. Creativity may be a form of catharsis, but I’m not sure a miserable creator makes the best work.
What are your thoughts? A “tortured artist” is a cultural stereotype for creative types. Do you agree with the general perception that the best artists are depressed individuals? How do you relate to this stereotype?