Miscellaneous Rumbles

What do Kurt and Ludwig have in common?

1

They’re no longer with us? No, that’s not it because Brian has it as well and he’s still here. I’m sure you’re way ahead of me. My question though is “Does a higher percentage of great musos have it than other celebs?”. In case you haven’t already guessed, here’s a doco on it. If you see it right through to the end, you may have it, too. If not so inclined, you can tune in where the case histories kick in at about 12:30.

2

(8 hours later)

Hmmm... Interesting. That nobody's interested or doesn't want to appear so. The stigma of the subject matter, I wonder, or is it just me? It's true I've ruffled a few feathers in the past. Maybe I'm trying to make amends by re-opening the lines of communication? Best to let it go probably lest I'm perceived as a tad obsessive. It's not the first time I've kept flogging a dead horse when ignored. Pity - I wouldn't have minded objective opinions from you guys and gals on any new songwriting material I may come up with in the future...or just simply feeling I'm amongst friend*.

4

Best to let it go probably lest I'm perceived as a tad obsessive

Too late.

5

A friend of mine I used to play in a band with tried to top himself a few years ago before being diagnosed as bi-polar. I myself am not bi-polar but deal with depression on a daily basis. I think it comes with the territory. I am a photographer for a living and know lots of artists, creative kinda people. I have long suspected that being bi-polar, suffering from depression - you know, all the good stuff - goes hand-in-hand with being creative.

And even if you don't suffer depression before you start a career in something creative you probably will as soon as you put yourself out there.

6

Speaking only for myself, failure to engage with this 82-minute long film has nothing to do with stigma, and I am not on here enough to know or care about forum drama.

7

Important topic for sure. But I didn't watch the film sorry - too long. I've had close personal contact with it in relationships so I know a bit about it. Didn't post because I don't have anything worthwhile to add.....

8

I suppose you are referring to Kurt Cobain and Ludwig van Beethoven, right? And are suggesting a (causal?) relationship between their 'genius' and their condition? I don't like that thinking, but not because of the stigma. It turns the relationship on its head. Bipolar people produce sometimes great material in their manic episodes if they have exceptional talent and skill but not because of the mania. The manic episode removes inhibitions, self-doubt and often the need for sleep – sometimes concomitant hallucinations also expand the boundaries of reality – but if you don't have the wherewithal to translate these phases into art you're 'just' manic. There's this really damaging notion of 'genius' as a kind of Faustian bargain: you have an exceptional gift in some area but you have to pay for it (bipolar disorder, drug addiction, a difficult childhood...). This view obscures the rather mundane fact that art, like everything else, is hard graft that takes talent, training and acquired skill. The 'troubled genius' view is also very unkind on all the bi-polar people who go through hell and don't have a symphony to show for it.

9

The admittedly-long documentary names Ludwig van Beethoven, Kurt Cobain and Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, amongst many others, in the first couple of minutes but I didn't feel comfortable being so outright.

Thank you above for responding with your valid views whether expansive or brief. It's a serious subject that needs de-stigmatising. That's the important message. I understand if some members choose to stay away or shoot the messenger.

Yes, I agree that manic depression isn't responsible for creativity but is a by-product of it. And, of course, there's no substitute for hard work. But there's no virtue in achievement conceived in pain.

10

I think everyone are different degrees of bi-polar. It's our nature. You are in control of your perspective. If you dwell on the negative you will react negatively. If you focus on the positive you will react positively. Every perceived negative incident in your life can be used as a learning tool to grow if you are disciplined enough to accept it. While it's true that some people do have a chemical imbalance did the chemical imbalance cause the depression or did the depression cause the chemical imbalance? I'm not sure.

11

I suppose you are referring to Kurt Cobain and Ludwig van Beethoven, right? And are suggesting a (causal?) relationship between their 'genius' and their condition? I don't like that thinking, but not because of the stigma. It turns the relationship on its head. Bipolar people produce sometimes great material in their manic episodes if they have exceptional talent and skill but not because of the mania. The manic episode removes inhibitions, self-doubt and often the need for sleep – sometimes concomitant hallucinations also expand the boundaries of reality – but if you don't have the wherewithal to translate these phases into art you're 'just' manic. There's this really damaging notion of 'genius' as a kind of Faustian bargain: you have an exceptional gift in some area but you have to pay for it (bipolar disorder, drug addiction, a difficult childhood...). This view obscures the rather mundane fact that art, like everything else, is hard graft that takes talent, training and acquired skill. The 'troubled genius' view is also very unkind on all the bi-polar people who go through hell and don't have a symphony to show for it.

– Nick45

Great message and excellently communicated. Since high school I've really suffered from panic attacks. Buddy- I know what you are saying but the clinical diagnosis is one where there is a chemical imbalance. In my condition, I either do not produce enough of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA or the receptors that make it work, for a possibility of a few reasons, do not "pick it up".

I'm trying to explain something complex into something simple so forgive me for not making this linear. But simply put GABA is our body's natural tranquilizer. It stabilizes you in times that create a "fight or flight" response. The problem with people who suffer from anxiety disorder, and especially panic attacks, is the physical response of from the body not correctly processing GABA. It is hell and there is more to it than just being nervous.

Who gets it? Many doctors have explained that it is most common in Type A personalities and artistic and creative types. Johnny Winter is one. The wide receiver Steve Smith from the Carolina Panthers is another.

The bottom line is there is a social stigma that is not flattering associated with it. Same goes for bi-polar disorder and clinically diagnosed depression. I could go on for pages on the topic and won't but it is a shame that an additional challenge for sufferers of these conditions is a reality from the social stigma associated with it. So in answering Buddy's point....it is an ailment that is as physical as a broken leg but many think it's "just all in your head". Instead of a broken bone though, there is something "broken" in the central nervous system.

I've actually met Alan Alda(at a Fordham Alumni event) and asked him about his thoughts on the matter as his mom suffered from bi-polar disorder. He took our conversation very seriously and after 20 minutes, really shared some constructive points. It is a tough reality that is real, horrible, and very physical(even though the root cause cannot be seen).

12

Is the question you asked the one you want answered?

Being a musician most of you reading this will understand the sine wave. It's not a one off. It's very much a part of life and appears in various forms throughout the physical world and of course into the world of theoretics and supposition.

Charles Bukowski pointed out rather eloquently how one must suffer for good art. To some extent I think that is true. The Blues can be a celebration but deep down, the Blues as Son House points out, is the expression of pain someone feels when the person they love rejects them and that love they are holding dies before them.

I can play the Blues and I know how to write some but I can't really express it so that it hits home to someone who's wife or husband left them because their love grew cold. Been married to the love of my life since 21 so while I appreciate it, I don't honestly really get it the same as someone who has all the experience. Not to say I am not a good actor and I can shine on most of the people I meet, but really, deep down I know I am a tourist when it comes to the Blues.

Now that's just one example of one genre of music. It's a big big world out there right?

So let me change the big picture and say it's not suffering, it's experience that's the thing. Everyone has a life that follows that same sine wave. There are ups there are downs and some people just roll with it while others are so sensitive to it, they sometimes make some very bad choices in an effort to find some relief from it. Anxiety and depression are two sides of the same coin. Being up and manic is not better than being low and introverted. Both hurt.

It's dealing with them that's the thing. Logically A + B = C just doesn't always do it. I know that when I am racing, I need to keep my wits about me and sometimes I can control all that spastic energy and focus it into something really good. At the same time, sometimes I can accept that for all that high energy, there is going to be a low ebb and to just ride it out, access my comfort zone and let those around me help me heal and rise back up after. It doesn't always make sense that way when I am in the throes.

Each person experiences this in their own way and so, it's different to everyone. What I say doesn't cover what someone else feels, but there are a couple of points that are akin to what everyone feels wherever they are on that sine wave.

In the end it's not that you have some chemical imbalance, distorted reuptake pairs or functional or dysfunctional reaction to it. It's about how you express your experience that makes for great art.

Do you have to suffer? Nope. For those who express their thoughts as the suffer and find how to turn that into art... well what a wonderful thing that is.

So what's the connection between Cobain and Beethoven? It isn't just one.

13

Good input Jetrow and if I can expand a bit..... I believe that at a very basic level, most artists are very competitive. That immediately sounds like I am suggesting that the competition is against others but actually it is for the need/hunger to get better at what they do and what creatively drives them. Anyone, even those without a physiological condition, can experience manic episodes in the pursuit of fine tuning their product......only in to find that it never meets the absolute satisfaction. A driven and inspired artist can "overdue it" drive themselves into a manic frenzy....needing to "get it right". Whether clinically victimized by a psychological/physiological condition or not, I believe both individuals were just never satisfied. They found themselves always in a state of competing against just themselves......and this can bring an intolerable situation.

I find that as someone with anxiety/panic attacks, my inspiration to create releases the energy and diverts the focus from the affliction to the need to creatively express and create. For those Type A athletes that feel it, the need to win is the main goal. Many in that boat find that winning/obtaining the final goal still isn't "good enough" Terry Bradshaw from the Steelers said some of his worst bouts of depression came from after winning the Superbowl.

15

I suppose you are referring to Kurt Cobain and Ludwig van Beethoven, right? And are suggesting a (causal?) relationship between their 'genius' and their condition? I don't like that thinking, but not because of the stigma. It turns the relationship on its head. Bipolar people produce sometimes great material in their manic episodes if they have exceptional talent and skill but not because of the mania. The manic episode removes inhibitions, self-doubt and often the need for sleep – sometimes concomitant hallucinations also expand the boundaries of reality – but if you don't have the wherewithal to translate these phases into art you're 'just' manic. There's this really damaging notion of 'genius' as a kind of Faustian bargain: you have an exceptional gift in some area but you have to pay for it (bipolar disorder, drug addiction, a difficult childhood...). This view obscures the rather mundane fact that art, like everything else, is hard graft that takes talent, training and acquired skill. The 'troubled genius' view is also very unkind on all the bi-polar people who go through hell and don't have a symphony to show for it.

– Nick45

...all the bi-polar people who go through hell and don't have a symphony to show for it.


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