284. Vincent van Gogh’s Mental Illness

Van Gogh

Those who have studied Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) are well aware that he had an eccentric personality and unstable moods, committing suicide at the age of 37. Less known is that he suffered from depression and that there are bipolar aspects to his history. Two noted episodes of depression were followed by sustained periods of increasingly high energy and enthusiasm, first as an evangelist and then as an artist. Some of his greatest works came from the manic stages of his life.

A noted educator of bipolar disorder, having that condition himself, once told me, “When I’m depressed, I wish I were dead; when I’m manic, everyone else wishes I were dead.” There’s a lot of truth to his joke. Van Gogh was insufferable when in his manic stages and morose when depressed.


About Patrick Day

In 2010, I escaped from four long years of deep, dark depression. This blog shares lessons I learned from those years as depicted in my autobiography - How I Escaped from Depression - as well as other insights about depression and anxiety that only come from someone who has gone through it. When you have a heart attack, you become an expert in heart attacks. When you have diabetes, you become an expert in that condition. As such, I am an expert in depression, with a four-year experiential degree and graduate studies in how to live a life going forward that keeps the ever-lurking Depression at a healthy distance.
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