Van Gogh and Mental Illness

Van Gogh was an artistic genius who also lived with mental illness much of his life. He opened up about his life and struggles in letters to his brother, Theo. In one letter, he said, "Let us keep courage and try to be patient and gentle. And not mind being eccentric..." displaying self-compassion in respites of mental illness. In another letter,  he seemed totally unforgiving, saying, "I am so angry with myself because I cannot do what I should like to do, and at such a moment one feels as if one were lying bound hand and foot at the bottom of a deep dark well, utterly helpless." But his greatest motivation came from believing that work and love are the keys to a fulfilling life:

How much sadness there is in life! Nevertheless one must not become melancholy. One must seek distraction in other things, and the right thing is to work.

Life has become very dear to me, and I am very glad that I love. My life and my love are one.



Posted on March 20, 2015 .