Some "disabilities" can produce tremendous creativity


Van Gogh self-portrait

Vincent van Gogh (18531890)

 This talented artist may be as well-known for cutting off his ear as for his paintings inspired by the south of France. Historians agree that Van Gogh suffered from unstable mood, had recurrent psychotic episodes during the last two years of his extraordinary life, and committed suicide at the age of 37 (severe depression and severe mania are both associated with psychosis). Although there is some disagreement as to whether his mood swings during the last years of his life were from epilepsy, Bipolar Disorder, or both, his earlier history provides some strong indications that he suffered from a mood disorder.


Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865)

The 16th President of the United States, Lincoln was often depressed and had suicidal thoughts.


Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827)

The brilliant composer suffered from Bipolar Disorder, as indicated by his correspondence to others, and his erratic and occasionally "raging" behavior. Interestingly, recent analysis of strands of his hair found "unusually high" levels of lead, and the researchers feel that the unusual lead levels were responsible for his illness.


Patty Duke (1946 - )

A famous child actress, her long battle with Bipolar Disorder is related in her autobiography, Call Me Anna and her book, A Brilliant Madness: Living with Manic-Depressive Illness.


Buzz Aldrin (1930 - )

This astronaut flew to the moon in 1969, but was later hospitalized for depression.


Sir Isaac Newton (1643- 1727)

 No one would have predicted that Isaac Newton would ever amount to much. He had a miserable childhood with poor family relationships and didn't do well as a student. In fact, he didn't do well at anything until he got interested in mathematics. From that point on, he went on to become a brilliant mathematician and scientist. He co-invented calculus, discovered laws of physics, discovered the law of gravity, composition of light, and planetary motion. He suffered periods of severe depression and bouts of intense creativity and productivity.








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