# Artistic Depression

#### zoobyshoe

right now I just started doing some freelance editing (I'm only 19; just getting started). Saving some money to produce my own shorts, build up a resume, take it from there.

I'm doing editing right now because it's what I'm most technically skilled and comfortable with, plus you get to work from home a lot of times with the whole digital thing going on now.

cinematography.com is a forum where I find most people know their stuff, and they have editing/audio/directing sections, so I usually go there for help.

A debilitating depression would not work for a moviemaker. It's a LOT of hard work... especially if you're producing your own films, starting out and don't have a resume... you have to take care of city permits, actors releases, finding a crew you can count on, etc. etc. etc. ... I don't see anyone in a very deep depression taking on such large projects.
Editing is the essence of art, so your experience now with this will serve you well.

Yesterday you were 20. How did you, today, become 19, and where can I get some?

#### zoobyshoe

is an infestation of 19 year-old proto-filmmakers at least a little less unbearable?
There's an infestation? How many of you are there?

#### zoobyshoe

A guy is used to date is now a somewhat successful artist with art galleries exclusive to him in Connecticut and I forget where else. He didn't show up one night for our date, thenm called me two years later asking if I was ready to be picked up. He was joking, of course, he confessed to being bi-polar and having serious issues buit was under medication and felt he could handle a relationship again. He was gorgeous, rich and talented and my youngest daughter talked me out of seeing him again. She said I had an obligation to another guy I was kind of dating at the time, which died shorty there after.
Two years later! That's funny. Bi-polar people are really weird to date, or just even be friends with. You never know what's coming.

#### moe darklight

Editing is the essence of art, so your experience now with this will serve you well.

Yesterday you were 20. How did you, today, become 19, and where can I get some?
:rofl: my birthday is in 5 days... for the past month I've fluctuating between thinking of myself as 19 and thinking of myself as 20... it's really hard. I don't know why... just the number "20" sounds so... definite and scary ... "20" ... I've been easing myself into it.

and yea, it definitely will. I never thought I would fall in love with editing like I did. I remember watching the oscars as a kid and always wondering "'best editor?' who cares about editing?" ... but it's amazing how you can completely change a movie's tone with the editing. It's an art all to itself. And I'm learning a lot about what to keep in mind for later when I start filming more... like what to do and what not to do to makes sure the editing goes smoothly.

Last edited:

#### moe darklight

A guy is used to date is now a somewhat successful artist with art galleries exclusive to him in Connecticut and I forget where else. He didn't show up one night for our date, then called me two years later asking if I was ready to be picked up. He was joking, of course, he confessed to being bi-polar and having serious issues but was under medication and felt he could handle a relationship again. He was gorgeous, rich and talented and my youngest daughter talked me out of seeing him again. She said I had an obligation to another guy I was kind of dating at the time, which died shorty there after.
you have an interesting story for every situation.

Artists like that are what make the stereotype so popular, because they do exist... nobody would notice a bipolar accountant or lawyer (other than their bosses who would get them fired), but society has a fetish with the "mad genius" idea.

Last edited:

#### Evo

Mentor
you have an interesting story for every situation.
Many people have told me I need to write a book about my life, it's a series of bizarre events. KKK bombings, sniper attacks, witnessing a murder, and military substandard housing catastrophes that would make you blow cheese out of your nose. Oh, and being "escorted" out of the Imperial Palace in Bangkok by a group of soldiers with machine guns pointed at us. I still don't know what that was about, we were told not to ask, just drop it.

Last edited:

#### moe darklight

Many people have told me I need to write a book about my life, it's a series of bizarre events. KKK bombings, sniper attacks, witnessing a murder, and military substandard housing catastrophes that you make you blow cheese out of your nose.
wow! and I didn't even know about those! you should; I'd read that book... although... my completely unbiased opinion is that you should give the rights to your life story to an aspiring young filmmaker, eh ... no? ... ok... just a thought (o, she'll think it over. who'd refuse that once-in-a-lifetime offer)

#### EnumaElish

Homework Helper
This is the way it is for working artists: you can't just drop things if you're not in the mood. You have to push yourself through distractions and keep the work going.
Point well taken, zoob; if Michelangelo is an example for a working artist who makes a good living out of his art, at the other extreme you have artists like Van Gogh who were never seriously in it for the money -- or else, disappointed at their misfortune, which I am sure did not help with the depression. Could VVG stop working if he did not feel like it? Could he cut off an ear on a "whim"?

#### EnumaElish

Homework Helper
Many people have told me I need to write a book about my life, it's a series of bizarre events. KKK bombings, sniper attacks, witnessing a murder, and military substandard housing catastrophes that would make you blow cheese out of your nose.
Can I have a signed copy?

Last edited:

#### EnumaElish

Homework Helper
Evo said:
Oh, and being "escorted" out of the Imperial Palace in Bangkok by a group of soldiers with machine guns pointed at us. I still don't know what that was about, we were told not to ask, just drop it.
Oh, you and your wild groupies!

#### hypnagogue

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
There is a meme to the effect that mentally ill people are also very creative. People still believe the old saying "There is a fine line between genius and madness". It is clear that some people romanticize mental illness as the gateway to genius.

It's a meme that should be killed because, in fact, most mentally ill people lead terrible, painful, unproductive lives.
There is scientific evidence that bipolar disorder is associated with creativity (e.g. 1, 2, 3). According to at least one abstract, this same pattern emerges even when considering people whose profession involves art: "Analysing psychopathology and creativity among various professions, higher rates of psychopathology, especially affective symptoms, have been found in art-related professions." (link) So it's not just an urban legend, and the idea shouldn't be killed off just because some people misunderstand it e.g. by thinking that the door to creativity is mental illness.

#### Evo

Mentor
wow! and I didn't even know about those! you should; I'd read that book... although... my completely unbiased opinion is that you should give the rights to your life story to an aspiring young filmmaker, eh ... no? ... ok... just a thought (o, she'll think it over. who'd refuse that once-in-a-lifetime offer)
My people will talk to your people.

I need someone that can turn my experiences into a book. People have told me that even a 900 number to listen to my love life horrors would be worth $1.99 a minute. :rofl: I dated the vice president of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) after Tom Hayden. We worked together at Pacifica radio, where I sat next to Arlo Guthrie on the PBS documentary "The Great American Dream Machine" about the KKK bombing of our tower. Last edited: #### rewebster My people will talk to your people. I need someone that can turn my experiences into a book. People have told me that even a 900 number to listen to my love life horrors would be worth$1.99 a minute. :rofl:

I dated the vice president of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) after Tom Hayden. We worked together at Pacifica radio, where I sat next to Arlo Guthrie on the PBS documentary "The Great American Dream Machine" about the KKK bombing of our tower.

(we haven't heard any more, so---OK---go ahead and post the 900 number--and \$1.99 is probably just the 'teaser' price, too)

Last edited:

#### hypnagogue

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Can depression or mentall illness affect the way a child ties their shoe? Yes. Can it affect the way they eat? Yes. Can it affect the way they speak? Yes. Can it affect the way they do homework? Yes. Can it affect the way they interact with others? Yes. Can it affect the way they draw? Yes.
Yes, mental illness has a pervasive impact on just about everything a person does. The unique thing in the case of art though is that in at least some non-significant fraction of cases the link between the two might be positive, rather than neutral or negative.

There is evidence suggesting that art therapy helps alleviate symptoms of depression (e.g. 1, 2,
3). So it's possible that for some, being in a depressed state creates motivation to create art. And it should be uncontroversial that motivation boosts the quality and quantity of one's work.

Another interesting possibility is that the relationship between creativity and mood/temperament is not direct but mediated by a third factor. For instance this study suggests that depression and creativity are both elevated by the psychological process of rumination.

#### zoobyshoe

:I've ... but it's amazing how you can completely change a movie's tone with the editing. It's an art all to itself. And I'm learning a lot about what to keep in mind for later when I start filming more... like what to do and what not to do to makes sure the editing goes smoothly.
I read this book shortly after it first came out:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0306802724/?tag=pfamazon01-20

and it was a real eye opener about how import editing is. A good editor can take a bunch of random footage from vastly different sources and cut it together into an amazing film. The success or failure of a movie can be 80% due to the editing.

#### zoobyshoe

Point well taken, zoob; if Michelangelo is an example for a working artist who makes a good living out of his art, at the other extreme you have artists like Van Gogh who were never seriously in it for the money -- or else, disappointed at their misfortune, which I am sure did not help with the depression. Could VVG stop working if he did not feel like it? Could he cut off an ear on a "whim"?
Van Gogh is just about completely anomalous among artists but he is taken as the industry standard. He was supported by his brother. He didn't have to paint to get that support but he painted anyway, and prolifically. He used to do two and three paintings a day. After the ear incident he spent the rest of his life in and out of asylums, and did, indeed, go through periods of weeks of being curled up in a ball staring out the window unable to paint.

#### zoobyshoe

There is scientific evidence that bipolar disorder is associated with creativity (e.g. 1, 2, 3). According to at least one abstract, this same pattern emerges even when considering people whose profession involves art: "Analysing psychopathology and creativity among various professions, higher rates of psychopathology, especially affective symptoms, have been found in art-related professions." (link) So it's not just an urban legend, and the idea shouldn't be killed off just because some people misunderstand it e.g. by thinking that the door to creativity is mental illness.
I wouldn't call those abstracts "scientific evidence", so much as officially noted anecdotal evidence. The first sentence of the Hungarian one is a particularly bald assertion that simply paraphrases the old saw that artists are tempermental:

"It has been known for a long time that people with salient social and artistic creativity suffer more frequently from psychiatric illnesses than the average population."

I think that whatever means you use to evaluate someone's "creativity", a psychotic person is much better equipped to get a high score. Their delusions are usually interesting: full of fantastic facts and plots and characters, and magic and conspiracy, And, hypomanic and manic bipolar people are much more likely to do and say things without regard for rules, convention, propriety, decorum, proper procedure, etc, and come out scoring high on a "creativity" scale for it. Should we call this more or less distorted behavior "creativity"?

I am aware that a lot of bipolar people are attracted to work in the arts, as well. The arts are considered "sexy" and exiting and manic people crave exitement and risk and, lets admit it, sex. Are these bipolar people any good at art, though? The ones I know personally are mediocre to poor. Their stuff doesn't even stand out as particularly creative in concept: it's kind of dull.

This issue came up on a bipolar forum where I used to post (I was there wondering about the link between epilepsy and bipolar: why do the same meds work for both?) and the bipolar posters all lamented that they had none of this famous bipolar creativity. When they were manic all they did was spend money recklessly, shoplift and steal, have promiscuous sex, talk incessantly, and get speeding tickets. I think the percentage of bipolar people who might actually be any good at some art is a very small one.

I met a bipolar woman in a Denny's one night who told me she had written 127 songs that day. I asked to see them and she said "Oh, I don't write them down I just write them in my head." Is that really creativity or just a sad delusion? (On a questionaire, though, that writing songs in her head might be written down as "often engages in composing music- VERY CREATIVE!") I suspect most of this "creativity" reported by bipolar people who claim to be engaged in creativity is really this sort of half delusional thing: people staying up four days straight writing a novel that is actually disjointed, rambling junk.

#### hypnagogue

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
I suspect you may have some veridical insight into this, but at the same time, if anyone is going on anecdotal evidence it is you. In two of the links I provided, bipolar individuals scored statistically significantly higher than healthy controls on a psychometric scale designed to assess creativity. One of those studies also included a "creative disciplines" control group as well, which also scored higher than the healthy control group, giving the scale some additional credibility. I am sure I could cull a bunch of other studies but I won't belabor the point.

#### zoobyshoe

In two of the links I provided, bipolar individuals scored statistically significantly higher than healthy controls on a psychometric scale designed to assess creativity.
This is what I'm questioning. How is such a thing measured? Who determines what constitutes "creativity" and how do they prevent what you and I would agree is really psychotic or nuts from registering as "creativity"? How would they distinguish Dali from a girl who "writes" 127 songs in her head in a day?

Yes, just about everything I said is anecdotal. My point isn't to convince you of anything in particular but to explain why I don't personally buy these memes about mental illness and creativity: I just don't see it borne out in the mentally ill people I meet and have talked to online.

#### zoobyshoe

Yes, mental illness has a pervasive impact on just about everything a person does. The unique thing in the case of art though is that in at least some non-significant fraction of cases the link between the two might be positive, rather than neutral or negative.
I'm not sure that you could assert that there is never a positive effect on shoe tying in some non-signifigant fraction of cases of shoe tying while depressed.

There is evidence suggesting that art therapy helps alleviate symptoms of depression...
Yes.
So it's possible that for some, being in a depressed state creates motivation to create art.
Well, this manner of stating it implies the disagreeable (to me) notion that one has to suffer to create art. It implies that to make a person into an artist you have to get them and keep them depressed. This was a common notion of the Romantic era. It's not true, because I know some really good artists who are positive, upbeat people.

I would rather characterize what happens when someone gets relief from depression by doing artwork as a subset of getting relief from depression by getting mentally involved in any absorbing activity. Somewhere in the collection of assorted essays by Einstein he says the same thing about physics: something to the effect that it was a way to keep his mind occupied when he was feeling socially alienated. Some people turn to gardening for the same reason and effect, and I've already mentioned journal writing a few times.
And it should be uncontroversial that motivation boosts the quality and quantity of one's work.
If you mean it invariably boosts both, then I don't agree. I have great doubts about the quality of the 127 songs the girl wrote in one day, and Beethoven, who wrote the remarkably small number of only 9 symphonies, never-the-less made them of such awsome quality that most wouldn't trade a single one of them for all the symphonies of Hayden.
Another interesting possibility is that the relationship between creativity and mood/temperament is not direct but mediated by a third factor. For instance this study suggests that depression and creativity are both elevated by the psychological process of rumination.
This makes perfect sense to me. I think I said to Moe earlier that people given to "deep, brooding introspection" are likely to end up in art or science.

#### rewebster

Yes, mental illness has a pervasive impact on just about everything a person does. The unique thing in the case of art though is that in at least some non-significant fraction of cases the link between the two might be positive, rather than neutral or negative.

There is evidence suggesting that art therapy helps alleviate symptoms of depression (e.g. 1, 2,
3). So it's possible that for some, being in a depressed state creates motivation to create art. And it should be uncontroversial that motivation boosts the quality and quantity of one's work.

Another interesting possibility is that the relationship between creativity and mood/temperament is not direct but mediated by a third factor. For instance this study suggests that depression and creativity are both elevated by the psychological process of rumination.
It seems, as for most processes, 'time' has to be allotted in some way, too, for the creative process--and the more time the better it is thought, it seems, sometimes---e.g. "think tanks"--------are 'disturbed'/(creative) people allowed more "time" 'to themselves'?

Last edited:

#### rewebster

I am aware that a lot of bipolar people are attracted to work in the arts, as well. The arts are considered "sexy" and exiting and manic people crave exitement and risk and, lets admit it, sex.
Men/male artists, to some women, it seems, are considered 'the bad boys' (doing something 'different and interesting'/("not normal"); and, sometimes, bipolar people may go into the 'arts' as a form of self-therapy, in the same way that they may go into psychology/psychiatry.

#### zoobyshoe

Men/male artists, to some women, it seems, are considered 'the bad boys' (doing something 'different and interesting'/("not normal");
I think this is true. Given two otherwise comparable guys, women will almost always gravitate toward the artist over the CPA or mechanic, etc.
and, sometimes, bipolar people may go into the 'arts' as a form of self-therapy,
Depressed people may turn to art for its potentially therapeutic properties but it's important to remember that manic people don't have a problem with being manic and don't seek relief from it. Bipolar people attracted to the arts are almost certainly seeking potential exitement of one form or another.
in the same way that they may go into psychology/psychiatry.
I'm not aware of any bipolar people attracted to psychology/psychiatry as a profession. However it is true that bipolar people seem much more likely to inform themselves about the contents of the DSM in great detail and also to research any med they're given, than people with other diagnosis. People diagnosed as schizophrenic, for example, seem apathetic about the implications of that diagnosis.

Last edited:

#### rewebster

I'm not aware of any bipolar people attracted to psychology/psychiatry as a profession. However it is true that bipolar people seem much more likely to inform themselves about the contents of the DSM in great detail and also to research any med they're given, than people with other diagnosis. People diagnosed as schizophrenic, for example, seem apathetic about the implications of that diagnosis.
I've heard of several people over the years in psychology/psychiatry that have committed suicide---they were the ones that made the 'news'---who knows how many had 'breakdowns' and that didn't around to be known to happen,---not saying they were bi-polar as that wasn't reported though.

Some report somewhere I heard around said that 20% of the population would/will/has had a major psychotic episode --major enough to get professional help or should have gotten professional help---and another report said, if I remember right, something like 90% have had or will have an minor episode that would or should be looked at. Some of that is like the butcher telling you that his meat is good for you, too, though.

#### zoobyshoe

I've heard of several people over the years in psychology/psychiatry that have committed suicide---they were the ones that made the 'news'---who knows how many had 'breakdowns' and that didn't around to be known to happen,---not saying they were bi-polar as that wasn't reported though.

Some report somewhere I heard around said that 20% of the population would/will/has had a major psychotic episode --major enough to get professional help or should have gotten professional help---and another report said, if I remember right, something like 90% have had or will have an minor episode that would or should be looked at. Some of that is like the butcher telling you that his meat is good for you, too, though.
These numbers sound way too high. Depends on how they are defining all these terms, I suppose.

### Physics Forums Values

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving