explains a lot...
June 3, 2003 7:00 PM   Subscribe

SHINE ON YOU CRAZY DIAMONDS "Treating Mentally Ill Musicians Without Removing Their Muse."
posted by konolia (28 comments total)

 
aniiiiyuh yuh yuh yuh. gnaaang niiiyuh. yuh. [bites guitar, drools]
posted by quonsar at 7:15 PM on June 3, 2003


Treat the mentally ill? Feh!

*goes of the rails on a crazy train*


I'm sick of the therapeutic society. If Jesus was alive today, they throw him in the bin and say he had a messiah complex.
posted by jonmc at 7:26 PM on June 3, 2003


Well, if that topic bores you, check out the rest of that link. I think it's some alternative weekly.
posted by konolia at 7:35 PM on June 3, 2003


the real question:

wayne magnum = who?

wayne coyne (flaming lips)? jeff mangum (neutral milk hotel)?

my guess - tupac shakur. hence the concealed identity.
posted by onthestereo at 7:37 PM on June 3, 2003


I'm sick of the therapeutic society

Well, if we could figure out another way to keep folks like Cobain from killing themselves, I'd agree with you in a heartbeat.
posted by konolia at 7:37 PM on June 3, 2003


Speaking of medicating anything that moves...
Sound the alarm. there’s a new drug epidemic in town. And most of the city wants in on it. “In certain circles of New York, it’s just regular table conversation,” says a 37-year-old publisher. “I was at lunch with clients the other day—it was a totally professional situation—and I mentioned that I have to give a speech at my parents’ fortieth wedding anniversary. I said, ‘I’ve got to get some Klonopin; I’m going to be so uptight.’ Somebody else said, ‘Oh, I always take a Klonopin before a big presentation.’ One thing led to the next, and soon everyone at the table was talking about how they’re on Xanax or Klonopin or Vicodin. No one wants to go through the hassle of seeing a psychiatrist because they don’t necessarily feel there’s anything wrong with them. It’s just the way life is in New York: Everyone’s stressed about something.”
posted by konolia at 7:41 PM on June 3, 2003


Well, if we could figure out another way to keep folks like Cobain from killing themselves,

Nothing will stop somebody that hell-bent on death from their goal. Other than that they're a buncha high priced pseudo-freind and conformity police.
posted by jonmc at 7:45 PM on June 3, 2003


Nice post, I thought the article was very thoughtful. I had a friend who went through something very much like what the artist featured in the story did. He also was a talented, idiosyncratic songwriter and free-spirited person. This actually made it harder for his friends to accept that something had gone seriously wrong with his brain.

johnmc:
While under the care of his concerned parents, the television began sending Magnum the "personal messages" that eventually sent him over the edge. "I remember deciding to take off my shoes because Jesus had no shoes," he says. "And then running around [my parents' neighborhood] singing 'I Want to Be an Airborne Ranger.'" Things got ugly when he stripped naked and smashed a window, and his parents began to fear for their lives and his. "I felt I had lost all impulse control at that point," recalls Magnum. "I just wanted it to stop."
I don't think Magnum would be quite so eager to reject the 'therapeutic society'.
posted by crunchburger at 7:47 PM on June 3, 2003


Speaking of medicating anything that moves...

mmm yessss... count me in among that sad (yet trendy) crowd. i swear by my special friend...the little pink (no, not purple!) pill. god bless the pharmaceutical gods :)
posted by poopy at 7:50 PM on June 3, 2003


figure out another way to keep folks like Cobain from killing themselves

but folks like cobain killing themselves is a good thing.
posted by quonsar at 8:03 PM on June 3, 2003


Quonsar, I'm sure his daughter would agree with you. (/sarcasm)
posted by konolia at 8:05 PM on June 3, 2003


There is no doubt in my mind that depression, schizophrenia, and the hundred other psychotic illnesses that we are afflicted with helps our creativity in much more than the arts. I think some of the greatest politicians and generals also suffer from these things. You want examples? Churchill was known to be a major alcoholic (possible self-medication), Hitler wasn't known to be the most joyful person (depression). Scientists have been known to have strong autistic tendencies. Autism and psychotic illnesses are obviously not in the same ballpark, but the point that I'm making here is that perhaps something is necessary to jolt us out of thinking the way the average person thinks, that perhaps our chemistry must deviate from the norm in order to think so far outside of the box that we create something out of the unseen.
posted by ashbury at 8:26 PM on June 3, 2003


Mental illness is real, and seems to result from a chemical imbalance. The "therapeutic society" can be annoying and overly touchy-feely an awful lot of the time, but talk therapy can be effective...and any bit of hope that you can throw toward a suicidal person is unquestionably a good thing.

The leader/artist/depressive correlation that ashbury mentions is an interesting one as well. (On my "on-deck" shelf of books to read is this one -- maybe it'll have something good about that.)

As I think I've told you over beers before, jonmc, I like Paul Westerberg's work (both solo and with the 'Mats), but he was a MUCH better songwriter before he sobered up. 'Tis a pity.
posted by Vidiot at 8:47 PM on June 3, 2003


figure out another way to keep folks like Cobain from killing themselves

You think Cobain killed himself? Really? I never bought it for a moment.

I like Paul Westerberg's work... but he was a MUCH better songwriter before he sobered up.

WORD.
posted by padraigin at 9:11 PM on June 3, 2003


I want to be an airborne ranger I want to live a life of danger.
posted by nyxxxx at 9:54 PM on June 3, 2003


Well, if we could figure out another way to keep folks like Cobain from killing themselves, I'd agree with you in a heartbeat.

cobain's suicide lends added depth to his songs

he died so you could cry every time you hear 'all apologies'

thanks for being crazy dude
posted by kjh at 10:27 PM on June 3, 2003


This book has been a very interesting read and says that we don't have to be crazy or special in any other way to create great things.
posted by wobh at 10:34 PM on June 3, 2003


"Treating Mentally Ill Musicians Without Removing Their Muse."

I dunno about that; I've been ever so much better since I had my muse out.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:36 PM on June 3, 2003


interesting article, thanks konolia.

i'm at work, so i don't have the luxury of being able to find wonderful links for you all to ignore, but those further interested in the practicalities of music created by the mentally ill should investigate both station 17 and reynols. the former is a loose collective of patients at a german home for the mentally handicapped , and the latter is a psych-rock outfit featuring an incredibly and uniquely talented drummer/vocalist with down's syndrome.
posted by nylon at 2:44 AM on June 4, 2003


thanks konolia , its an interestin read that , the thing about having to be nuts or self - destructive in order to somehow be creative is a load of wank really.
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:54 AM on June 4, 2003


I should add that it sounds like "Wayne Magnum" actually suffers from schizoaffective disorder rather than the bipolar disorder described.
posted by wobh at 6:40 AM on June 4, 2003


nutso is nutso. and i ought to know so.
posted by quonsar at 6:51 AM on June 4, 2003


Schizoaffective is simply a subset of Bipolar type 1, but for some reason that is what many people think of when the word bipolar is mentioned. In general, the level of ignorance in the general public when it comes to mental disorders is mindboggling.
posted by konolia at 7:09 AM on June 4, 2003


I always have mixed feelings about posts like these. Yes, our society tends to turn to drugs rather that address the underlying issues causing the problem. Yes, far too many kids are on ritalin who are just high spirited or creative.

On the other hand, I've actually been seriously, debilitatingly ill, and psychiatric drugs played a part in dragging me out of that.

It's all in where you draw the line.
posted by Karmakaze at 7:10 AM on June 4, 2003


I thought the article was fantastic, and dealt well with the whole question of how do you keep your creativity and also your sanity.

Being in the artistic world myself, I know many people who fall into the "you must be crazy to be a good artist" camp and I just don't believe it's true. I think a lot of times when people think that they're doing they're best work (during some sort of manic or alcoholic episode), they are actually just doing they're most self indulgent work.

It is a concern to be over medicated on things like lithium. I think that was the point the writer was trying to make: make sure your doctor or therapist has had experiences dealing with artists, so that you can find the therapy that will work for you, keeping you creative but also sane.

And by the way, jonmc, alcohol and illegal drugs are medication just as much as lithium, prozac, zoloft, etc. But somehow these are more "acceptable" artist medications, even though they tend to compound the problems.
posted by witchstone at 8:05 AM on June 4, 2003


Argh! "Their" work not "they're" work in paragraph 2. Got a little carried away. Twice.
posted by witchstone at 8:07 AM on June 4, 2003


I'm sick of the therapeutic society. If Jesus was alive today, they throw him in the bin and say he had a messiah complex.

maybe he did.
posted by sa3z at 8:39 AM on June 4, 2003


As a person who plays music upon occasion, and whose husband has worked with musicians for over 30 years, I found this to be a valuable link on a timely topic. I think that the part of a person that is given to the muse is pretty much disconnected from the reality of day-to-day experiences. It seems that the more talented a person is, the more resources are required to support that talent - to the point where you have a Kurt Cobain or a Syd Barrett. How indeed to treat the craziness, without disturbing the musician from his or her muse? The article gives some hints as to how this might work. Thanks, konolia!
posted by Lynsey at 11:26 AM on June 4, 2003


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