Big Rowan Ackison (greensh) wrote,
Big Rowan Ackison

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The (Un)fulfilled Artist

The suicide death of Robin Williams is becoming old news, but it tickled my mind today when I thought about the connection between professionalism, fulfillment, success, and the artist.

WARNING... if you think Robin Williams was sick because he committed suicide, or you just can't understand why people do commit suicide, this article is not for you.

Some questions to consider:

* Does an artist have to be fulfilled in order to be a professional?
* Is a successful artist always fulfilled?

A friend got me thinking along these lines because they connected fulfillment to being a professional. Robin Williams was professional and quite successful. Assuming his suicide was connected to being unfulfilled, did this somehow remove his professional status? If he was unfulfilled, did this make him unsuccessful? Good questions!

This rabbit hole goes even deeper. Could he have been fulfilled in his art, but unfulfilled in the rest of his life? Was his status and identity as an artist separate from that part of him that lead to his death?

A few more feet down the rabbit hole... can depression, and its horrific outcome, be completely separated from a person's public and private identity? Is depression a thing that defies professionalism, fulfillment, and success?

OK, it is time analyze the rabbit hole. It is my experience that depression is complex. It does live separately from other aspects of a person's life, and at the same time, it is triggered by aspects of that life. Depression is a leech that robs energy from life, and in that it ignores professionalism and success. In time it can destroy these. The relation between fulfillment and depression is complex, perhaps different for each person, but IMO there is some aspect of fulfillment missing in a terribly depressed person. Did Robin Williams fully embrace his artistic career and find despair in some other of his life? Perhaps. The lesson here is that outwardly successful people can still struggle mightingly with depression. Success and fulfillment of the outward mean little in the life and death struggle.
Tags: depression, fulfillment, suicide

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