Suicide. The mere mention of the word makes most of us disturbingly uncomfortable. Yet, just as we run outside, and down the street wearing only a bathrobe, transfixed by a cavalcade of emergency vehicles' flashing lights, urgently needing to know "what happened," our morbid curiosity about suicide overcomes our apprehension. Sure we're squeamish and will deal with it only if we can act like adolescents, hiding their eyes (with open hands) or covering their heads (with see-through blankets) while watching "scary" movies. Despite our fear and outrage, we are still compelled to sneak a peek!
[...] It was filled with studies and research data proving there is a definite link between mental illness, suicide and creative individuals. Besides being shockingly fascinating, was it any coincidence that my friend was a talented writer? Is it surprising to learn too, am a dedicated writer and have dabbled in many other creative pursuits, including art, drama, music and dance? Moreover, oddly, prior to my friend's death, life's journeys took me on alternative paths and I hadn't engaged in any type of writing endeavor for quite some time. [...]
[...] She had been depressed for most of her 36 years and besides being skeptical that anything would help, was afraid medication may prohibit her creative output. Before beginning treatment, she brought a portfolio of her work so the doctor could witness any effect it made on her artistic ability. Dr. Friedman commented, stark black and white photos, she had captured the homeless and poor. Her kinship with the dispossessed was obvious, and the images were sad and moving.” She began treatment and within two months noticed her lifelong pessimism, insomnia and fatigue had lifted. [...]
[...] In order to carry out the social responsibilities everyone expected of him, he wrote a book, and tried to describe the social and political problems of his country, but failed miserably. The book was a “classic failure of an artistic talent as a result of the self-imposition of social commitment.” His suicide was one way of showing how difficult it was to be a writer in Latin America. I began this course of study after my research of the short story, The Yellow Wallpaper lead to the realization its author Charlotte Perkins Gilman had committed suicide. [...]
[...] I couldn't see the link between Gilman's suicide and the creative mind. Yet as I examined it deeper, it became crystal clear. It was hardly about cancer. Her entire life and work embraced death. She lived in order to die. Works Cited: “Creativity, Depression and Suicide.” Suicide and Mental Health Association International. http://suicideandmentalhealthassociationinternational.org/creativity.html. October Dawdy, Philip. Suicide Too Many.” Seattle Weekly. Jan http://www.seattleweekly.com/generic/show_print.php?id=50265&page=&issue=040 2&. October Friedman, Richard, M.D. “Connecting Depression and Artistry”. The New York Times. June http://www.nytimes.com/2002/06/04/health/psychology/04CASE.html?tntemail0. October Granato, Sherri. [...]
[...] One letter said he felt finished as a writer; and no longer had any creative impulses. In another, he felt the repressed and exaggerated ways the crisis of cultural and educational life and liberty in Peru was represented, was too much for him. The problems faced in Latin America were not discussed in the public. Strict media censorship was replaced by literature. The suffering was removed or distorted in the press. All evils that were buried by military power, not mentioned in political speeches, taught in universities or discussed in magazines, found a new medium for communication, in literature. [...]
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