We’ve all heard versions of this throughout the lifetimes of many iconic artists across all creative fields. The poet who stuffed her head in the oven to stop her pain. The painter who ate sunflowers and paint to feel joy. The movie director who thought it appropriate to psychologically torture his leading ladies to push his films. The musicians who passed away from living high risk lifestyles before turning thirty, inadvertently starting the 27 club.
It’s 2020 and we need to stop romanticizing pain. There is nothing inherently beautiful in suffering. Much like the criticism on glorifying Filipino resilience during times of tragedy, the best takeaway from stories of suffering artists is to not be afraid to ask for help. They don’t need to be put on a pedestal or given accolades for not being okay. We need to destigmatize their issues and offer them support.
It’s 2020 and we need to stop romanticizing pain.
In Psychology Today, Albert Rothenburg, M.D. argues that the link between creativity and mental illness is being popularized because of the increasing biographies of iconic artists that feature some form of it. He writes, “Suffering is an intrinsic component of mental illness but, despite traditional romantic beliefs about creative people, such disruption seldom contributes directly to creative inspiration.”
He says that creativity can exist without it. For our own sakes, we have to acknowledge that fact as well.
Art by Rye Antonio