Some time ago I took myself to the cinema to watch Lars von Trier’s film Melancholia.
Three quarters of the way through the film I got an attack of claustrophobia or anxiety (or perhaps just melancholia) and had to leave the cinema, so I never found out if the two planets collide at the end or not. Even though the film is on Netflix I still haven’t caught up. It is a strange film, but then it portrays strange lives. Is there any life which is not a strange life? What is normal and how do we know?
In any event, I was much less interested in the idea of an apocalyptic collision between two planets than I was in the film’s portrayal of depression, how sufferers feel isolated, even when surrounded by others: perhaps especially when surrounded by others. The main character (played by Kirsten Dunst) is so ill she can’t even get through her own wedding day and who can blame her, it’s a pretty dire wedding. Sometimes in depression things which are relevant and important just don’t feel relevant and important, even though everyone is telling us that they are. That idea in itself leaves the thinker outside the group.
There are times I regard with bemusement things others may find of vital interest; there are days when life seems to scroll my vision across like credits rolling at the end of a programme. I am like the viewer who has already gone to the kitchen to make tea without seeing the list of hard working people whose labours have gone into the film’s creation.
I continue to be fascinated by links between the artistic nature and mental health. I do believe there is one. I also believe trying to craft words, music or pictures out of nothing (although it’s not out of nothing it’s out of the psyche) leave us vulnerable to disturbed layers in the sediment of our sub-conscious. But is it then the case that an artistically inclined person is more open to adverse mental health effects than say someone who has created a business plan from nothing or a scientific formula?
Logically it doesn’t seem possible. According to friend Google through whose kind offices I have just discovered that Charles Darwin suffered from schizophrenia, scientists are also prone to depression. I also discovered the completely unverified fact that that individuals who score straight A’s at school are four times more likely to suffer from bipolar disorder.
So be of good cheer guys we are all brighter than average. Let’s be wise as well and take care of ourselves.