In the article The mind, as it evolves by Julia M. Klein, psychiatrist J. Anderson Thomson Jr. talks about treating an 18-year-old college freshman he describes as “intensely depressed, feeling suicidal and doing self-cutting.”
The article notes, “He decided that her symptoms might be a way of signaling her unhappiness to people close to her. He discovered that his client’s parents had pressured her to attend the university and major in science, even though her real interest lay in the arts.”
Not being creative, not being who you really are, can be profoundly depressing.
Reviewing The Van Gogh Blues, AnnA Rushton said the book “showed me how powerful a factor creativity is in the equation and the amazing energy that it taps into and releases. Eric Maisel makes transparently clear how very toxic it is when we suppress that energy and are not creating.”
[From review for Mslexia mslexia.co.uk by AnnA Rushton, writer and creativity coach creativecatalyst.co.uk]
Upper image: “Most of the nearly 3 million adolescents struggling with depression never get the help they need because of prejudice about mental illness, inadequate mental-health resources and widespread ignorance about how emotional problems can wreck young lives.
“The National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that 8 percent of adolescents and 2 percent of children (some as young as 4) have symptoms of depression.” [From article: Young and Depressed by Pat Wingert and Barbara Kantrowitz, Newsweek, Oct 7 2002]
Cutting as self-medication
Elizabeth Wurtzel – author of Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America: A Memoir – says:
“Cutting is the loneliest and most embarrassing experience, but once you talk about it you discover how many people have done the same thing.
“People that I wouldn’t expect would pull me aside after reading my book and tell me they also had a problem with cutting.
“It made me realize that I wasn’t alone.”
In addition to Elizabeth Wurtzel, other public figures that have reportedly engaged in self-injury include Shirley Manson, Angelina Jolie, Christina Ricci, Princess Diana, Johnny Depp, Courtney Love and Fiona Apple.
Elizabeth Wurtzel is also author of Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women, and commented, “All of these women [in the book] were fighting to find a little bit of freedom to be who they are, and I don’t think the results have been especially good for them. And I hope that the answer is not that we have to learn how to behave…
“People thinking that Sylvia Plath was a poor, sensitive poet, are not getting that she had great amounts of ambition and anger that moved her along, or she wouldn’t have been able to fight against that depression to produce such an incredible body of work by the age of thirty.”
See more Talent Development Resources pages with Elizabeth Wurtzel quotes