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I would think that different kinds and degrees of depression are probably more or less helpful to creativity. Sadness, loss, sorrow and pain are often expressed creatively but those feelings aren't depression. I'm guessing that severe clinical depressions are not creative until they are treated and on the upside, and the kind of ground-down garden variety depressions that most people medicate themselves for, are distinctly un-creative. Maybe the most creative depressives are those people with depressive and somewhat dramatic personalities who are not also crushed by anxiety. Just a guess---
My father killed himself when I was 1-1/2 and my sister was 3. We are both now well over 50. Our mother was depressed all our lives--and certainly all of her life. But it was only in therapy that I learned how to deal with the reality of her depression, which as a child I didn't understand. She would regularly threaten to 'take a gun to' her head (as did my father). Naturally, this was shocking and always threw me into a frozen state of fear and guilt, until my therapist suggested a different response: "Okay, Mom. If you think that's your best solution to your problems." The first time I said it was the last time my mother ever threatened to kill herself. She died at 84 of natural causes.
What does your guest think about the relationship b/w depression and creativity? My feeling is that depression can't be any good for anything, but there is that correlation between great artists and depression.
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Leonard Lopate hosts the conversation New Yorkers turn to each afternoon for insight into contemporary art, theater, and literature, plus expert tips about the ever-important lunchtime topic: food.
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