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General Concerns
136
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
Ludwig van Beethoven, one of the most influential
composers of all time, is believed to have had
schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Some say his
“manic” episodes seemed to fuel his creativity
and allowed him to break the mold for classical
music forever. He wrote his most famous works
during times of torment, loneliness, and psychotic
delusions. The only drugs available then to bring
some relief were opium and alcohol. When his
deafness became apparent, he wrote, “I joyfully
hasten to meet death . . . for will it not deliver me
from endless suffering?” In a letter to a friend, he
referred to a two-year-long depression. The next
year he begged Providence for “but one more day
of pure joy.”