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Kat: defeating the ‘tortured artist’ stereotype

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Suffering is not a sign of creativity, it’s a sign of illness, and no one should have to be ill to be counted an artist.When I was 15, my friend told me I would become depressed later in life because, she claimed, all creative people suffer from mental illness.

Five years later, my psychiatrist mentioned something similar. She said the link between creativity and mental illness appeared to be very strong — artists like Vincent Van Gogh probably suffered from bipolar disorder.Mood disorders are apparently very common amongst us creative folk.

The Sylvia Plath effect confirms this: it was a study analysing the correlation between mental illness and poets, particularly female writers and especially female poets like myself.When you combine

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