Do you know what Mozart, Rosie O’Donnell, J.K. Rowling and Sir Isaac Newton all shared in common? Nope, it’s not just great hair. They were all clinical depressives.
The feature Inspirational…In Spite Of Depression, which hit the homepage of MSN.com last week, features these subjects and several more. It was commissioned as part of a campaign giving hope to anyone dogged by depression. (As a bonus, the front page also linked to an older story I’d penned on Insomnia & Creativity. Artist Mark Inglis, a close friend, is quoted at the tail end.)
Research for this article led to some really interesting insights into the subjects’ lives, not all of which made the final article. For example, when Billy Joel tried to off himself in 1970, he drank a bottle of Pledge furniture polish. This apparently made him clean and lemony on the inside, but did not take his life. Instead he just had gas and a trip to a mental ward. Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, had a genetic predisposition to depression; both his mother and his grandfather had taken their own lives. The other gotta-be-kidding me factoid from the Aldrin research was that his mother’s maiden name was actually “Moon.” What are the chances?
Finally, if you’re interested in an excellent read about greatness matched with depression, see Lincoln’s Great Depression, originally published in The Atlantic in 2005.
Enjoy the articles, and try to stay sunny.