THIS IS A NEW SERIES WHICH CONSISTS OF ME LOOKING BACK AT ARTISTS WE LOVE AND HAVE INFLUENCED US THAT ARE UNFORTUNATELY NO LONGER ALIVE. THESE ARE PUBLIC FIGURES THAT WERE VERY OPEN/KNOWN FOR THEIR MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS, BOTH RUMOURED AND DIAGNOSED.
DISCLAIMER: THESE POSTS HAVE MENTIONS OF SUICIDE, DEATH, SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND/OR RAPE THROUGHOUT, SO VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.
If you’re a bookworm or poet enthusiast such as myself, then you have for sure heard of Sylvia Plath. Or maybe for some the name rings a bell. Sylvia Plath was an American poet and short-story writer. The one sentence by her that stands out to me the most has to be:
I took a deep breath
and listened to the old brag of my heart:
I am, I am, I am
I’ve read most of her work for school and leisure, and it’s incredible the way she expressed herself.
Sylvia Plath was born in Boston on October 27th 1932. On February 11th 1963, she was found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning in her London home after putting her head in the oven. The rooms between the kitchen and her sleeping children were sealed with wet towels and clothes. She was only 30 years old.
There were several factors that may have contributed to her first formal diagnosis of depresson…
- Her father Otto’s beath when she was eight
- The difficult relationship between her and her mother Aurelia – this can be lined up along the pressure and expectations Aurelia put on her
- Sylvia’s life as a woman in the 1950s, she was trying to be a professional, wife, mother and housewife
- Her socioecinimic background
- Exhaustion and an unconfirmed sexual assault whilst still in America
- Her rejection from the Harvard writing course
These are all variable that could have played a role in her initial struggle. When her mother noticed cuts on her legs after Plath returned from her internship in NYC, she took her to their family physician.
Sylvia Plath was formally diagnosed with drpression when she was 20 years old. Posthumously, scholars have continued to put forth various firther diagnosis which could help understand the roots of her suicide.
The known phenomenon named after herself, the Sylvia Plath Effect (coined by psychologist Kaufman in 2001), is how poets are more susceptible to mental illness than other creative wirters. Although many studies were done that demonstrated creative writers are prone to mental illnesses, this relationship was not examined in depth. Kaufman further demonstrated that female poets were more likely to experience mental illness than any other writers. In addition, female poets were more likely to be mentally ill than other eminent women, such as politicians, actresses, and artists.
To read past ‘Dim the Spotlight’ posts, click here.
If you our someone you know displays any symptoms of mental health problems, please contact your local suicide hotlines, which you can find below.