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The Van Gogh Blues: The Creative Person's Path through Depression by Eric Maisel, PhD
Creativity : Creativity & Depression

Creativity and Depression

Is there a link? Do creativity and depression go hand-in-hand? What do the experts say? What do creatives say?

Some people believe that there is a definitive link between depressive disorders and the ability to express deep, intense levels of creativity. Others claim that there is no link (or not enough information available at this time) to support the belief. Eric Maisel, Ph.D. has put forth that depression in some creative people may be a symptom of lack of meaning (or meaning-making) in one's life. Therapist Lisa Riley writes how depression could spring from the repressed voice of creativity.

Wherever on the spectrum of this controversial subject you side, the following collection of books, articles, anecdotes, and research details some eye-opening relationships between creativity and depression in individuals.


Creativity & Depression Articles & Sources

Meaningful Life, Meaningful Work, Meaningful Days
An excerpt from chapter 3 of The Van Gogh Blues: The Creative Person's Path through Depression by Eric Maisel, Ph.D.

Existential Depression: Eric Maisel Interview — The Van Gogh Blues
Eric Maisel, Ph.D. discusses existential depression and meaning-making based on the material presented in his book The Van Gogh Blues.

A Self-Coaching Guide through Eric Maisel's "The Van Gogh Blues"
As a highly creative individual well-acquainted with both the cyclical nature of creativity and the cyclonic nature of depression, finding a book written by a psychotherapist on the combined subjects was a welcome discovery.

Mental Health: Creativity and Depression
Multiple articles by Douglas Eby discuss the relationship between depression and creativity. Includes book excerpts by Marie Osmond, Psychiatrist Kay Redfield Jamison, Rosie O'Donnell, and Patty Duke.

Famous People with Mood Disorders
Drawn from Kay Jamison's book Touched With Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament. Lists writers, composers & musicians, poets, and artists.

Creativity and Depression: Getting Out of the Hole
By Susan M. Brackney, author of the Lost Soul Companion: Comfort and constructive advice for struggling actors, musicians, artists, writers, and other free spirits.

Updated 1/5/14