Vincent Van Gogh was only 37 years old when he died and at that point had only sold one painting, he suffered from Mental Illness and sadly did not live long enough to see the extent of his legacy – which includes his works now being some of the most expensive in the world.
He was prolific in his later life having created over 2,000 paintings in his last decade with 860 oil paintings that were mostly created in the two years before his passing. It’s been documented that the staples of his diet were coffee, cigarettes and bread while also drinking heavily created a very imbalanced diet. It’s argued these factors may have contributed to his mental illness.
He suffered from Psychotic episodes and delusions, but being born on March 30 1853, he spent his life in a period where mental illness was either incorrectly diagnosed or treated, or completely undiagnosed leaving those suffering with no chance to manage or move beyond their illness.
He did spend time in psychiatric hospitals and later came under the care of the homeopathic doctor Paul Gachet. Sadly however, his depression got the better of him leading to his suicide attempt on July 27 1890 the left him fatally wounded, passing two days later.
There are some lessons to be learnt from the life of Vincent Van Gogh, and thankfully we have hindsight to guide us…
Mental Illness can be difficult to manage, diagnose and indeed treat, but we’re lucky that with today’s medical technology we can do these things. Sufferers of mental illness can now lead complete and fulfilling lives with a level of health and happiness unachievable in decades past.
The stigma is almost gone… By that we mean that there’s always someone to talk to who can help outside of the medical sense – if you struggle from mental illness and you open up to someone, you’ll no longer be labelled, rather be greeted with empathy and an open mind to assist in a productive and meaningful way.
Foundations like Livin who’s credo reads “It ain’t weak to speak” is part of a movement of suicide prevention and mental illness awareness that continues to make positive change for those who may need help.
Mental illness may not always be classified as a “disability”, but the NDIS have some guidelines that might help you or someone you know:
Psychosocial disability is a term used to describe a disability that may arise from a mental health issue.
Not everyone who has a mental health condition will have a psychosocial disability, but for people who do, it can be severe, longstanding and impact on their recovery. People with a disability as a result of their mental health condition may qualify for the NDIS.
If you or someone you know is suffering from a mental illness of any kind, we urge you to discuss it with those around you, visit a healthcare professional for medical advice and indeed if you’re considering your options, contact the NDIS via their website (https://www.ndis.gov.au/understanding/how-ndis-works/mental-health-and-ndis) or call 1800 800 110.