A personal look into a connection between creativity and depression in musicians : an honors thesis (HONRS 499)

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Henry, Rene L.
Zembower, Christian Michael
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Thesis (B.?.)
Honors College
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It's a sunless summer day where rain clouds take over the sky.It's the rows and rows of dead flowers left behind.It's like being alone on a desert island while hurting inside.It's feeling sorrow, pain, loneliness, anxiety, and anger all at the same time.The inner most workings of a personal hell are hidden by merely human flesh.The disease fuming inside can only be tamed, never cured.This is my cancer, my hell.This is my depression.My reason for writing this paper is very simple. I just want to learn more about my illness and its implications to my field of study. My goal is not to make some striking discovery or write a guidebook for those like me; I just want to learn. My first memory of feeling emotion stems way back to my early childhood. I was about five years old when I got in trouble for expressing my feelings. I can't even remember what happened. I just remember my dad saying something that hurt my feelings. However, when I expressed this feeling, I was punished. From that moment on, it seems that I did my best to control my emotions and not let others see what I felt. As a five-year-old, I probably didn't make this conscious decision, but this memory always surfaces when I research the origins of my depression. It wasn't until I was in junior-high school that my philosophy started causing problems for me. My parents were at each other's throat and there were so many things I wanted to say. Finally, not being able to keep things bottled inside anymore, I snapped.I can't remember the exact date or time when I made that first cut on my arm, but I remember the relief I felt. It was my freshman year of high school and my self-esteem was at an all time low. Unfortunately, my self-esteem just kept spiraling downward. Throughout high school, I kept mostly to myself. I came home each day and practically locked myself in my room. When I did come out, I just fought with my parents. There were days when I found it very difficult to even get out of bed, let alone go to school and face the world. I was a senior in high school when I first started planning ways to kill myself. At that point, things were getting really bad, so I finally told a friend. I told her about all of the cutting and other problems. She offered her support and advised me to get professional help. I ended up telling my mom andstarted going to counseling sessions. I never took the counseling very seriously, and neither did my parents. After going only a few times, I managed to pretend that I was all better' and the issues were dropped.College was better at first. The new experiences really made me think that things would be different, and I was finally going to be happy. Still, I'll never forget the day during that first semester when my residence hall assistant (RA) came to me with concerns raised by my roommate. After that, I went to counseling and my RA kept all of my scissors (my cutting tool at the time). By the time I moved to a new dorm my junior year, things were much better. The counseling seemed to help me get my life back on track. I was a happy, lively person. I had lost weight, classes were going well, and I loved life. I have often heard people say that you should be very careful of the recovering' depressant. This is because when they are feeling better, they have the energy to do something destructive. I'm not sure if I finally had enough energy or if something just snapped. Either way, I finally attempted the unthinkable.That night in the hospital changed my life forever. I have never appreciated life as much as I did after physically running through the cold, rainy streets that night. I had hurt myself both physically and emotionally and knew that I needed some major help. From that day about a year ago, I have not intentionally hurt myself. I have learned through the help of friends, family, and counseling that life is worth living for and that everyone, including myself, is special and important. I take life one step at a time now and just try to let things happen. I now know that life is very precious and should not be taken for granted.At certain times during my depression, I would get really creative and write numerous amounts of poetry. I think that I could have composed some wonderful music if I had only the motivation to work. My clarinet and music became an outlet for some of my inner feelings and struggle. Not only could I express my emotions through music, but I could also pride myself on being good at something. As I mentioned before, my reason for writing this paper is very simple. I just want to learn more about my illness and its implication to my field of study. My goal isn't to make some striking discovery or write a guidebook for those like me; I just want to learn. I want to see how depression has played a role in the lives of famous musicians and how other people like myself deal with this disease.