In an earlier post focused on the connection between creativity and mental illness, there were some excellent comments, including people asking to know more about Van Gogh (the famous European painter) and his well-documented challenges with mental illness and inner demons.
After conducting research, I’ve found that Van Gogh suffered (and, yes, I will use the word “suffer” as he seemed to live a rather tortured life) from a host of mental and emotional health problems.
Van Gogh smoked extensively, drank absinthe (a potent and sometimes lethal alcoholic beverage), and massive amounts of coffee, and is said to have a very poor and nutritionally-empty diet. These factors, of course, could have spurred on or impacted any of his emotional or mental conditions.
In addition to self-diagnosed epilepsy, Van Gogh lived with bipolar disorder, possible sun stroke, Meniere’s Disease, lead poisoning, hallucinations and depression.
Living with one of these illnesses could be debilitating but, the fact that Van Gogh was able to create works of art while battling chronic malnutrition, addiction and mental and physical illness is an amazing feat! I continue to be amazed by the secret lives of artists. However, as Susan K says in the comments section linked above in this post, is the price of mental illness worth it to the people who live it?