Art and Horror

For a change, I want to take on a substantive topic on my blog: art and horror.

I’ve heard this question before: “How does such a nice, funny guy write such horrible things?” I imagine that quite a few of my peers have heard something like that before, too.

To support my answer, even before I write it, I’m going to list a set of immensely talented people who have passed away.

Chris Cornell (Soundgarden, Audioslave)

Chester Bennington (Linkin’ Park)

Robin Williams (comedian, actor)

Kurt Cobain (Nirvana)

Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots, Velvet Revolver)

Quite probably Heath Ledger (actor)

The common thread that these entertainers share is that they suffered from intense depression and died from it. You can call it suicide-it was-but the driver behind the choice to end their lives was depression. Mental illness is still an illness, a disease that can be fatal.

I bring them up because I propose that people who suffer from depression externalize their pain. Robin Williams spoke about that on a few occasions. Listen to Nirvana’s lyrics, and you’ll quickly pick up on Kurt’s anguish. The same can probably be said about Chris Cornell.

I’ve suffered from clinical depression (currently under control) all of my life. I can see that pain reflected in my work, both as a fine artist in college, and as a writer prior to 2015. What I could not hold within myself, I directed outward, and I know it.

I have peers who are also horror authors-it doesn’t matter whether it is physical violence style or psychologically twisted-who also endure a life with depression as a constant partner. They externalize, too. They’re also really lovely, funny, and talented people.

These days, though, externalizing my pain it isn’t the rule. There are works in progress that are uplifting, funny, and only touch on scary stuff rather than soak in it. My illness is managed, and I am living a life that is happier than anything I’ve ever imagined, consequently, there’s more positive energy in what I write.

I want to encourage anyone who suffers in silence with mental illness to seek out help. You’ve got nothing to lose, and incredible things that you might gain.