RITA SOULAHIAN KUYUMJIAN
Rita Suluhian Kuyumjian graduated from Yerevan State Medical University. As a psychiatrist she specialized in McGill University in Montreal. Currently she is an associate professor of psychiatry in McGill University, where she has been teaching for thirty-five years. She is also the Director of Psychiatric Outpatient Department of St. Mary’s Hospital in Montreal. She is the author of five books, including Diary Notes of a Journey to Armenia, Memoirs of a Psychiatrist (Montréal, 1991), Archeology of Madness: Komitas, Portrait of an Armenian Icon (New Jersey, 2001), Trilogy-April 24, 1915 (London, 2010).
CREATION AND MOURNING
Using a psychoanalytical approach, it is possible to have a basic idea of Komitas’s spiritual world based on his main health problems. Studying childhood traumas in creative and personal life of artists, we can say that Komitas’s tendency to reveal the roots of Armenian music was an idealized attempt to mourn the deep sorrow of childhood parental loss (a symbolic resurrection). The mental illness that struck him at a later age, in response to the new and magnificent mental trauma called Çanghϊrϊ, put an end to his innate tendency to fight against mourning by composing.
Komitas’s creative activity was extremely important for his mental stability. His amazing attempts to revive the fundamentals of Armenian music paved the way for successive stages of mourning (they are generally characterized as denial, anger, sadness and determination), but his inability to respond to the monstrous crime of the Armenian Genocide by composing, his psychological trauma, which was even worse than mourning, led to mental disorder. This inability caused severe post-traumatic stress disorder with psychotic symptoms in Komitas.
Komitas’s creative life ended in 1916 when he was taken to hospital after the planned destruction of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. Komitas’s memory clock had stopped. He was frozen in time. Komitas could only feel anger and indifference with which he was isolated from the real world and was surrounded by a world in which there was no pain or loss.