“The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: a human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive. To him a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death. Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create…so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some unknown, strange inward urgency, he is not really alive unless he is creating.”
One can better understand why, applying Ms. Buck’s definition of the creative mind, so many of them suffer from super-sensitivity and often take their own lives. There seems to be a greatly increased rate of depression, manic-depressive illness, and suicide in eminent creative people, writers and artists especially. High sensitivity may be among the reasons high ability people may be vulnerable to suicide, but another reason may be social pressure to achieve. Those desperate to live up to an ideal they’re convinced others expect of them could be a risk factor for suicidal thinking. Most artists are very emotional people who may have a romantic idea about the way things should be and are depressed and anxious when things don’t go the way they expect. Perhaps more than other artists, writers can be seduced by the attractiveness of suicide as a means of controlling their life story. Sometimes suicide becomes a powerful image or metaphor, one that takes root in the mind and flourishes. Writer Sylvia Plath had the notion that a great artist’s life must end in death, “You stop before you write more bad stuff.” She applauded Ernest Hemingway’s suicide saying “Good for him.’”
Kentucky native, Hunter Thompson, perhaps most famous for his 1972 novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, was a victim of suicide. Playwright William Inge, who wrote numerous plays, including Bus Stop which was made into a film starring Marilyn Monroe, is another example. Others who come to mind are Virginia Woolf and Vincent van Gogh. One would think that talent in the creative fields would be a joy and a blessing, however, often times just the opposite is true.