Vincent Van Gogh

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In the summer of 1881 Vincent Van Gogh asked for his cousin’s hand in marriage and was turned down. He was very insistent on seeing her and took action on this by holding his hand in a flame and holding up the words “Let me see her for as long as I can keep my hand in the flame” (Wikipedia, Letter 193 from Vincent to Theo, The Hague, May 14, 1882). In 1885 Vincent’s father died (ArtBook: Van Gogh; A profound and tormented genius—his life in paintings, 1998). In December of 1888, Vincent Van Gogh had been living with a fellow artist and friend, Paul Gauguin. They lived in “Yellow House”; the house that Vincent rented and had painted a picture of in September of that year. On the December 23, Van Gogh approached Gauguin with a razor blade and then left Yellow House in a panic and fled to a local brothel. This led Vincent to cut off part of his ear, which he then gave to a prostitute (Wikipedia, Rita Wildegans, 2007). Vincent spent 3 days unconscious in the hospital after that night and was released back home on January 7, 1889 (Jen Green, 2002). In January and February Vincent was at the hospital a lot due to his hallucinations and paranoia. He thought that someone had poisoned him. In March the police closed down his house after a petition was signed by some of the locals and then was admitted into the town hospital in Arles (New World Encyclopedia, 2008). Vincent reported once to his brother Theo that looking at his face in a mirror calmed him. In April, Vincent’s brother Theo got married and Vincent started to feel like a burden on him (Jen Green, 2002). In May 1889, Vincent agreed to go back into hospitalization at the Saint-Remy asylum. He reported during his stay there that painting soothed and healed his spir... ... middle of paper ... ...know the way he was feeling at any point in his life. I don’t know that there were a lot of psychiatrists and therapists around during his time but while researching him, it seemed like he was in touch with at least two doctors in his life that helped him with his psychological issues. So if Vincent Van Gogh were alive today I would still have him talk to doctors or one psychiatrist that he is comfortable with. I don’t know what kinds of treatments were available for someone in the late 1800’s but today I would see if Vincent was interested in taking a combination of mood stabilizers with antidepressants to help his manic episodes and his depressive ones. The textbook says that using these in combination with each other also may “reduce the risk of future depressive episodes, just as they seem to prevent the return of manic episodes” (Comer, 2011 p. 224).

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