Episode #3: The dark side of creativity

July 25, 2017

Seattle, WA - January, 2016
Where there is art, depression often seems to follow. After some shocking deaths in the past few months (e.g. Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington), I couldn't help but to get this thought out of my head. Growing up, I guess I was always naive enough to not realize that the art I was consuming - either music, literature or anything else - reflected real struggles and pain.
I could not fathom how, or even why, those creators would come up with such deep, meaningful and dark content. How could they even imagine such things? At times, I felt like it was borderline unreal. No one could possibly experience that. Now, it's clear to me how we lacked the discussion about mental illnesses in the 90's. We came a long way, but there is still a lot to talk about.
Chester's death bothered me a lot more than I thought it would - considering I was never really a massive fan of Linkin Park. I mean, I liked the band and their first couple of albums were a huge part of my teenage years...but still. I came to the conclusion that to me it was always about their lyrics. What made Linkin Park stood apart from other bands of the genre was their highly emotional, raw lyrics. So I decided to take a look at their last single "Heavy".

I don't like my mind right now
Stacking up problems that are so unnecessary
Wish that I could slow things down 

I wanna let go but there's comfort in the panic 
And I drive myself crazy
Thinking everything's about me
Yeah I drive myself crazy
'Cause I can't escape the gravity
 I'm holding on
Why is everything so heavy?
Holding on 

To so much more than I can carry
I keep dragging around what's bringing me down 

If I just let go, I'd be set free 
Holding on 
Why is everything so heavy?

The art is a reflection of the artist. Whatever we create, is somehow related to what we experience and feel. Sometimes, we hide behind metaphores. Sometimes, the cry for help is crystal clear. How can we still miss the signs? How can we be of any help? I honestly don't have the answer to any of those questions but it is something that lives in the back of my mind every single day.
Yesterday, I was reading an article about the letters Tchaikovsky wrote to his family and friends. I was amazed by how fully aware he was about his lapses into depression and how he kept holding on to the beauty and meaning of things even though he often felt like his soul was wrecked.

“Life is beautiful in spite of everything! […] There are many thorns, but the roses are there too.” - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

The autor of said article wrote that artists have both the poison and the cure to their problems because, like Tchaikovsky, they can see the meaning and beauty of life despite how they feel. I kind of agree with him. But I am gonna end this today with a few questions for you: Is depression so intrinsically related to art that we can't separate them anymore? Do artists need to be depressed to create or even just to feel inspired? 

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