Schizophrenics often suffer from split realities and a huge sense of paranoia. You can almost feel the paranoia in his art. Each piece seems so manic, I don't think there is one Picasso piece in which I feel a sense of calm, even when he's painting the most benign of subjects. He's no Monet, that's for sure.
Syd Barrett, lead vocalist and guitarist for Pink Floyd during their psychedelic years(and also a painter), was kicked out of the band due to allegations of mental illness fueled by heavy drug use. He however was a major influence on psychedelic rock, space rock and psychedelic folk. He ended up in a self-imposed seclusion for 30 years with just his painting and gardening to keep him company until he died in 2006.
The most influential drummer....ever and also the most tragic rock-n-roll tale on this list. In the 60's and 70's, there wasn't a song on the radio that didn't have Gordon on the drums. He played with The Byrds, Everly Brothers, John Lennon (Imagine), The Beach Boys (must've been interesting studio sessions with Wilson aka #5), Carly Simon (You're So Vain), Derek and the Dominos (Layla, which he won a Grammy in 1993 along with Eric Clapton, though he was in prison), Alice Cooper, Steely Dan and many more. He laid down the drum break on the Incredible Bongo Band's 1972 Bongo Rock album's version of "Apache", which was sampled by Sugarhill Gang to make the breakdance classic of the same name.
In 1983, after years of suffering with misdiagnosed schizophrenia (doctors thought it was alcoholism), he bludgeoned his mother so she wouldn't feel the pain of his stabbing her. He was trying to stop her voice in his head who he felt was responsible for encouraging him to starve, not sleep and who was responsible for the deaths of Karen Carpenter and another friend. In 1984, he was sentenced to 16 to life for second degree murder. The jurors agreed that he was schizophrenic, after he was finally rightfully diagnosed in court. However, California had passed legislation restricting the use of the insanity plea (this was during Reganomics when Regan also released all the mental patients out of hospitals to save money). As of today, 27 years later and after multiple failed parole attempts, he remains in prison.
The First Lady during the Civil War, with relatives on both sides of the war, was born into privilege but, profound grief later in life would prove too much for her to mentally handle. She was diagnosed with quite a few illnesses including bipolar as well as schizophrenia. The death of some of her siblings during the war, the assassination of her husband, and death of her two sons spawned an unshakable paranoia.
She went to go visit her oldest son in Chicago, convinced he was ill though he was perfectly healthy, she told him someone tried to poison her on the train and that a man took her purse but, would return it. She walked around with $56,000 sewn into her clothes, fearing that one day she would suffer poverty.
Placed in a fancy sanitarium in 1875 by her son who feared for her safety to herself, she escaped three months later. After writing about the sanitarium to the editor of the Chicago Times, the director fearing for harmful negative publicity, released her to her sister. She died, living housebound in her sister's house in Springfield at the age of 63.
Lead singer, songwriter, Bassist and Keyboard player of the Beach Boys, Wilson was overwhelmed by the demise of his second project with Capitol, Smile, and the birth of his daughter, Carnie. After production reins were handed to younger bro, Carl, Brian started slipping into cocaine. His family in an attempt to revive him and his career, put him in the care of Eugene Landry who would eventually create a puppeteer relationship with Wilson, controlling every move he made, including musical decisions, books, finances, and relationships (largely responsible for cutting all ties with The Beach Boys). Eventually, he would have his license taken away and a restraining order from Wilson. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia later in life, affecting his relationship with his daughters. He is still composing music, having done a cover of Buddy Holly song, "Listen to Me" for an upcoming tribute album for Buddy Holly, to be released September of this year.
John is the perfect example of straddling the insanity and genius line. A mathematical genius, in the purest sense of the word, whose work is used in market economics, computing, evolutionary biology, artificial intelligence, accounting, politics and military theory.
Famously shown in A Beautiful Mind by Russell Crowe (in what I believe is Crowe's best role), his paranoid schizophrenia had him believing that men in red ties were in a communist conspiracy against him and wrote Washington DC that they were establishing their own government. He heard voices, had a fear of persecution, and delusions. He was forced into hospitals and only faked "normalcy" to get out. He said eventually he was able to "cure himself" by ignoring the delusions and voices but, felt extremely limited in his thinking.
The blues-rock guitarist and founder of Fleetwood Mac has been lauded by B.B. King, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page. Like others he succumbed to self-medicating with drugs and professional obscurity, eventually landing in psychiatric hospitals with electro shock therapy in the mid-70s. It was believed that LSD aggravated his schizophrenia.
In 1977, he threatened his accountant with a shotgun which landed him in yet another hospital. In addition to schizophrenia, he underwent bouts of prison, mental hospitals, heavy sedation and the growing of ten inch nails, according to Mitch Reynolds, the lady who looks after him, manages him and is a true friend to him.
In an answer to a Terrascope interview question, "Are you feeling good within yourself?" Green answered, "Not really, no. Sometimes something happens, I get a funny little feeling and everything goes right. I don't know what it is though. It seems to be someone else's hands. Other times I might be kind of miserable"
Though he was forced to go to a sanitarium, it only contributed to his paranoia and delusions. He was THE director of the Surrealist period. He ran the Bureau of Surrealist Research (yes, it was a real thing) in which he became frustrated with their only desire being disrupting the bourgeois art events and causing scandal. They kicked him out. He then went on to direct surrealist films. He also was famous for writing the manifesto for the Theatre of Cruelty.
Upon his return to France from a drug fueled trip to Mexico, he obtained a knotty walking stick that he believed belonged to St. Patrick as well as Lucifer and Jesus Christ. He went to Ireland, speaking very little English and misunderstood, he attempted to return the walking stick. On the boat home, he was convinced that two crew members and retaliated, landing in a straightjacket in jail. He died alone in a psychiatric clinic room, holding his left shoe, from an overdose of chloral hydrate.