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CAMH Stories Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

The secret struggle of Lucy Maud Montgomery

For International Women’s Day, the team at Historica Canada that creates the iconic Heritage Minute has produced a new one about Prince Edward Island’s most famous artist - Anne of Green Gables novelist Lucy Maud Montgomery.

In the video, excerpts from her personal journals reveal her long history of depression.

“I like day-dreaming. I love this colourful little island of ruby, emerald and sapphire,” she writes. “Yet often my dark moods come.  I’m possessed body and soul by this depression. They say women shouldn’t write. Some days I almost give up.”

Several experts were consulted in the making of the video, including Lucy Maud Montgomery scholar Mary Rubio, and CAMH Senior Medical Advisor Dr. David Goldbloom.

Dr. Goldbloom suggests that popular culture depictions of mental illness inspiring artists to do great things is a bit of a myth.

“Literary history and recent psychiatric scholarship has shown a vulnerability to mood disorders among writers and other artists,” he says. “Despite the global success of someone like Lucy Maud Montgomery, her suffering was as real as anyone’s who struggles with depression – and most commonly a barrier to rather than an inspiration for creativity.”


 Published on March 8, 2018

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