Writer Pearl Buck famously commented, “The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive.”
I don’t agree that being highly sensitive makes us “inhuman” in any sense, but the trait can bring with it emotional challenges.
A number of highly sensitive and creative people have used drugs and alcohol as self-medication to ease the pain of their sensitivity, to deal with emotions, or try to enhance thinking and creativity.
Sometimes they risk addiction.
Beethoven reportedly drank wine about as often as he wrote music, and was an alcoholic or at least a problem-drinker.
To think that there wasn’t much information about drug and alcohol addictions during his time.
Among the many other artists who have used drugs, alcohol or other substances are Aldous Huxley, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Edgar Allen Poe, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Allen Ginsberg, composer Modest Musorgski, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Raymond Chandler, Eugene O’Neill, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Dorothy Parker, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe, John Steinbeck, and Tennessee Williams.
> Continued in my article Artists and Addiction
Amy Adams – referring to shooting a scene in “American Hustle” commented: “I have a tendency to overcomplicate things as an actress, and Sydney [her character] is all over the place here. She doesn’t know who’s telling the truth, and that experience of not understanding what reality is in a moment is terrifying. Let’s just say I needed a cocktail when we finished that day.”
Many people use alcohol, marijuana or something else to relax and de-stress, especially from the challenges of physically and emotionally intense work like acting.
But a number of artists use and abuse drugs, substances and activities – often as self-medication – to the point where they risk addiction.
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