My brave spirit!Who was so firm, so constant, that this coilwould not infect his reason?ARIELNot a soulBut felt a fever of the mad and playedSome tricks of desperation. All but marinersPlunged in the foaming brine and quit the vessel,Then all afire with me. The king’s son, Ferdinand,With hair up-staring—then, like reeds, not hair—Was the first man that leaped, cried, “Hell is emptyAnd all the devils are here.”
– William Shakespeare, The Tempest
That last line has kicked around in my head for a couple of days, and I think I know why. I’ve been working on an article about the link between the creative mind and depression, and this quote made me make that embarrassing ‘wo-hey!’ noise people make when their mind is doing it wrong. Being prone to depression myself, it has felt exactly like that at times – that hell is empty and all the devils are here, in my mind, just chillin’, turning my formerly logical, productive self into a pile of numb that alternately cries because I can’t get through folding the laundry or makes me sit in bed all day watching Orange is the New Black.