LIVE THROUGH THIS: On Creativity and Self-Destruction

by Jacquelyn Lewis

Some of these essays from creative women who have dealt with depression feel unoriginal, but others bring a fresh perspective–and they all posit a hopeful message.

This collection of essays on the sad yet seemingly frequent convergence of creativity and depression in women achieves mixed success. Including an essay in graphic-novel format and a photo essay by Nan Goldin, the book contains the personal accounts of women artists, writers, and performers who have struggled with crippling depression—sometimes manifested in drug abuse, eating disorders, or cutting—but all of whom have navigated through it with the help of their creative expression, either using art to explore their depression or to divert their attention from it. The subject of depressed, artistic young women is one that has been well-tread by popular culture and teen magazines, and some of the contributions feel like unoriginal reformulations of a very familiar narrative. Others, however, bring to the topic a fresh perspective, sensitivity, and even humor, in a way that is illuminating and hopefully helpful to those who are in a time of crisis. As a whole, the collection posits a hopeful message: that while the quirks and sensitivities of a creative mind often seem predisposed to depression, they are also the exact qualities that provide a special set of tools with which to find a way through the darkest moments.

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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