Is there such thing as creative depression?

Discussion in 'Suicidal Thoughts and Feelings' started by jameslyons, Nov 8, 2008.

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  1. jameslyons

    jameslyons Well-Known Member

    I find myself suffering through bouts of depression with frustrating regularity. Along with this deep-seeded depression lies the constant impulse to kill myself; something I first experienced at eleven and which still bothers me at 25.

    I do however, have a problem with finding like-minded sufferers. I write, and more importantly, am heavily invested in a creative culture where the principles of Romanticism, existentialism, and Absurdism call suicide forwards as a valid means of self-expression. As does the culture of writing.

    I regularly cut myself. I rarely spread to new cutting locations, choosing instead to cut over scarred flesh on both wrists and the crutches of my arm (where the Median Cubital and Cephalic veins are), but I'm not sad. As a writer of fiction I am influenced by the principles of story plotting in regards to my life; one such element is the knowledge that it's important to end a character's development at a certain point in order to preserve that character. What would happen to Hamlet were he not poisoned and dead by the time Fortinbras entered the palace? I ask myself if I should not also end my life as I do those I write about. Thus, I am culturally pushed to killing myself in addition to any reaction to emotional or physiological distress.

    I am a believer of Romanticism; one can find authenticity in life's emotions and the world can best be explored through emotion. I wallow in my feelings, both good and bad because they are the closest thing to pure creativity. By developing a high emotional IQ in the practice of writing, one is able to experience a multitude of life's themes, and the urge to make them manifest by death is too hard to resist!

    Under a great gloom, I experience tragedy. By killing myself in the midst of this great passion I make tragedy a real object in the world; it has value greater than my life. And as tragedy is made real so is it's opposite. I don't think anyone else would experience the joy of revelation but I suffer almost an orgasm thinking of the contentment I should feel. To die bringing pure truth in the world is worthy of my life---the Romantic in me says.

    Then there's existentialism which tells me that since I create my world, then these emotional feelings I have are absolutely worth living for. What's more, I am driven to accept them wholly, while everyone else I observe at a distance because they and I are incapable of every truly communicating to one another--each of us are prisons of our worlds, and the void between each person's experience is boundless and cold and abysmal.

    Does anyone else have experience dealing with depression rooted in the works of Shelley, Fitzgerald, Byron, Hemingway, Elliot, and Plath? Does anyone else know what it's like to read Hamlet and in it, to find several well-rounded arguments to end your life?

    I don't want to escape pain.
    I'm not looking to get back at anyone.
    I just have a siren call to the grave. And I don't feel my life has any value until I lie severely bleeding from several deep wounds. It's funny, I feel I can only exist as Louise Bryant, John Reed, Scott Fitzgerald, Anais Nin, and Victor Hugo exist to me---people who lived, suffered, and died; people who I only met as ghosts.
  2. aki

    aki Well-Known Member

    What an interesting post. I enjoyed this bit particularly:

    I often think expression and purity is truth, suicide is the ultimate expression I suppose.

    I don't know if I'm thinking the same way as you (I often think I understand what people mean on here but my mind seems to go off on tangents and stuff) but I do enjoy sadness, I enjoy reading about it, I think it's beautiful. I don't like the idea of heaven because a world of just happiness and joy doesn't make sense to me.

    Welcome to the forum. I feel kind of stupid cause I don't know what to say, but I really enjoyed your post.
  3. CJ87

    CJ87 Member

    Hey James, I can see from your post that you are a very creative and highly intelligent person, unfortunately this is also the perfect 'breeding ground' for depression. I really can't get drawn into a discussion about things as profound as you mention in your post because, 1) I probably wouldnt be able to keep up on an intellectual level and 2) I don't believe it is helpful or productive for someone who is depressed to discuss these things on such a deep level. Unfortunately logic is a flawed system and on some subjects, such as contemplating our own exsistence logic just falls flat. Also contemplating such deep thoughts in a depressed state can lead you to some pretty miserable conclusions which you would not other wise have entertained.

    One last thing, I noticed you said you cut quite a bit, but you are not sad. This is only my opinion but i generally believe there is no effect without cause, no symptom without disease. So the fact that u cut suggests there IS a deeper problem, regardless of whether you are aware of or even experience it on a concious level. So with that in mind I'd say that this is something you should try to stop, and if you cant stop on your own you have to ask yourself why this is? It is not normal to cut, regardless of how you feel about it. You just need to try and see this from an objective view point and u can only get this by talking to others.

    Sorry about the lengthy post but basically the crux of the matter is sometimes less is more. Sometimes u really do just need to 'chill' and give your brain a rest, put it into a lower gear. Remember ignorance is bliss!

    Take it easy man! :cool:
  4. pit

    pit Well-Known Member

    You drink from the same font of melancholy as Fitzgerald, Poe, Baudelaire, and Jackie Collins. Congratulations.
  5. Stranger1

    Stranger1 Forum Buddy & Antiquities Friend

    Hi James,
    I don't have a clue to what you are trying to put across. I just want you to know that we are here so don't be afraid to talk to us!!Maybe tone down on the big words so we can understand more on what is happening with you..Take Care!!~Joseph~
  6. Zurkhardo

    Zurkhardo Well-Known Member

    You're grasp and understanding of all this is rather impressive. It is said there is a correlation between one's capacity to understand and quesiton this world and negative emotions like depression; rather than live in a veil of blissful ignorance you seem intent in diving headlong into what would scare and drive to sadness most people.

    And perhaps than in lies your root cause as well. Existentialism often carries on to nihilism, in that our lack of a percieved purpose, as individuals and as humans, may lead us to find existence meaningliess. I've often flirted with such ideas and thus can relate with you (also because I too am highly influenced by those very same authors you mentioned). I too see my sadness as something to be embraced, almost in the sense that it is better to be sad than not feel at all.

    However I value life and the act of living. If you were to end your life my friend, would you not miss out on those feelings and works that have so inspired you? Wouldn't you live in a state of nothingness, assuming of course you don't beleive in an afterlife?
  7. Erratic

    Erratic Active Member

    Right now, I am in no position to make nearly as eloquent a reply as your original post, so forgive me for my lack of writing refinement.

    Regardless of your inspiration, it's very clear that you're highly creative with a gift of expression. I wouldn't want to waste that were I you. Think of what you'd miss out if you ended it early? Who knows what people could have accomplished had they stayed their violent hand?
  8. worlds edge

    worlds edge Well-Known Member


    Quite frankly, I don't get it. You "experience bouts of depression," mutter about "great gloom," and yet also claim that you are "not sad." You're gloomy, depressed and suicidal, but not sad? Possible, I suppose, but I've never seen it.

    Why do you care one way or the other, since you seem think no one can speak to anyone else, given your existential side? Or even want to, since such contact might prevent you from "wallowing" (your word, not mine) in your emotions, given your Romantic side?

    If you adopted a straight up Nietzschean or Schopenhauerian approach I'd be a bit more sympathetic, I suppose. My personal bias is against Existentialism as unchecked mental masturbation of the sort that sent Heidegger to the Nazis and Sartre to Stalinism (at least for a time) and Romanticism as the naivete of a hothouse flower, pretty but not alive in any meaningful sense, though certain Romantics like Goethe could definitely pound out a poem.

    I suppose in all fairness I should now lay out what it is this shabby ol' Steppenwolf himself believes, so you can in turn throw tomatoes at me, like how I would reconcile British Empiricism (Locke and Bacon) with Schopenhauer and both with the later Stoics (Epictetus and Marcu Aurelius), but I'm not really in the mood. Perhaps later.
  9. touglytobeloved

    touglytobeloved Well-Known Member

    Oh yeah, i can imagine 100 diferent ways to die. Very creative. Combining methods to increase the possibility of dieing from 90 to 99.9%....
    And yeah, i do write sometimes, but rarely, i mean, i get a lot more inspirations, but i dont write them.
  10. jameslyons

    jameslyons Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your replies, everyone. This post has really helped take the edge off. It's funny, yesterday I was listening to music and in one song I felt open again and my sense of world-weariness went away--a depression is still there, but there's not as much compulsion to kill myself (yet).

    Thanks for letting me rant!

    I do feel a bit of melancholy in regards to living, I do want and think I'll end up a suicide, and I do value the emotions of sadness, but I was thinking of several things:

    1) Most of the people who I admire and who killed themselves were in or past their thirties, not twenty-five. In fact most of them were in their late twenties or early thirties at the time of their adult development that I so admire.

    Maybe this episode was just one of the artistic mental bumps that can be added as a secondary fact like one of Faulkner's or Picasso's hospital visits.

    2.) I have several things that I'd like to leave behind that have yet to be written, printed, or published.

    3.)The romanticism of death, was replaced, I'm not entirely sure why, with a strong romanticism towards life. The ennui striped away. My personal drive was circumvented by the one thing that could change my mind, a matter most personal and private to me.

    I can't really articulate my transition. I hope it's not just a physiological thing. I would be really upset if both the suicide compulsion and current vitality were nothing more than a product of manic-depression disorder. That would be so

    Gmork, I agree with you, existentialism is mental masturbation, but it's nothing compared to the amount of narcissistic energy put into depression and depressive suicide compulsion. I appreciate your feelings and reactions.

    I was looking for a confirmation of sentiment. Not for a sense of community as much as a way to confirm if what I felt was depression. This resulted from reading page after page of "why do people kill themselves" sites and looking at the list while saying, "Nope, don't feel that, never,etc.."


    You also articulate the silliness of assuming someone who appreciates emotion should be driven to self-annihilation and thereby become lost to the value of perception. My problem is that when feeling depressed I drive towards death as a testament to the sense of tragedy and malignancy that surround me. I have a difficult time savoring it without the compulsion to act.

    Now the challenge is coming out of this hole I've dug for myself. I haven't been to class or work in three weeks, and I've been in constant isolation. I shudder to think of having to deal with my family and friends again, as whenever I retreat like this they grow angry and annoyed at me. The funniest reaction is anger that after being so candid about suicidal compulsion for weeks, I haven't killed myself.

    Alas, few can understand the desire to kill one's self, and even fewer understand that that compulsion strikes unprovoked with fierceness and then retreats deep into your core like a herpes sore. Wish me luck in rejoining society!

  11. Robald

    Robald Active Member

    Good luck old chap. I fear for the lack of empathy you are likely you experience in this world of considerably variable intellects! Hopefully you will find this experience a valuable one to remember.
  12. jonstark

    jonstark Well-Known Member

    I identify with some of your ideas, jameslyons.
  13. fromthatshow

    fromthatshow Staff Alumni SF Supporter

    You're the only one that seems to understand this :laugh:

    Thank you!
  14. betteroff

    betteroff Member

    I related pretty strongly to the first post and the poster. Maybe because I write and I am creative as well and creative people are often like-minded in many other ways too than just being creative.

    I don't know if you are interested in these kinds of things or not (though you might be if I'm right) but you might enjoy using google for search words "enneagram" and "enneagram type four". It's a personality type system and if I'm right, you are a personality type called "four". They are creative people who are always somewhat drawn to sad things, depression and longing. I once read a personality type description about fours that said that they see death EXACTLY as you described it in your post. I am a four and I see, too.

    I don't know how is this related to anything but just thought to mention because the thread reminded me so stongly about it.

    And the quote I was referring to earlier versus the one the first poster used:

    "FOURs often have an affinity with death, perhaps because it means the ultimate lament, the definitive longing, or also because only death can make beauty eternal. For dramaturgical reasons great love stories must almost necessarily end in death. The idea of Romeo and Juliet getting married, having children, and leading a wholly “normal” married life would be too banal; it would impair the universality and greatness of their love."

    "Under a great gloom, I experience tragedy. By killing myself in the midst of this great passion I make tragedy a real object in the world; it has value greater than my life. And as tragedy is made real so is it's opposite. I don't think anyone else would experience the joy of revelation but I suffer almost an orgasm thinking of the contentment I should feel. To die bringing pure truth in the world is worthy of my life---the Romantic in me says."
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2008
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