From Kanye West to Earl Sweatshirt, the beginning of June has been full of musicians speaking out about their mental illnesses.
In his new album Ye, West addresses his bipolar disorder. Many fans have wondered if the artist struggled with a mental disorder because of his erratic behavior over the last few years, but West had stayed silent on the issue up until June 1. The cover of Ye says “I hate being Bi-Polar/ it’s awesome.”
Additionally, in the song “Yikes” from the album, West raps, “That’s my bipolar sh*t…That’s my superpower n—-, ain’t no disability.”
He also spoke with radio host Big Boy, confirming his diagnosis. Speaking about it, West said that his disorder is his superpower because it helps him create.
A few days later, rapper Earl Sweatshirt announced that he was canceling his remaining tour dates because of his battle with anxiety and depression. His representatives said, “He thought he would be ready to perform but simply is not yet able to. He would like to apologize to his fans and promises to be back as soon as he is able to.”
Earl has struggled for a long time with his mental health but this announcement marks the first time that he has canceled tour dates because of it.
West and Earl may have spoken about their mental illnesses the most recently but they are far from the only musicians to open up about their challenges. Let’s take a look at some other musicians who have spoken about their disorders.
The legendary pop diva opened up to People Magazine in early 2018 about her bipolar diagnosis. Carey was diagnosed in 2001 after being hospitalized for a mental breakdown. She was afraid of speaking about her illness for almost 17 years but decided to address it in order to help fight the stigma against mental disease.
In her interview with People Carey said, “I’m just in a really good place right now, where I’m comfortable discussing my struggles with bipolar II disorder. I’m hopeful we can get to a place where the stigma is lifted from people going through anything alone. It can be incredibly isolating. It does not have to define you and I refuse to allow it to define me or control me.”
Demi Lovato was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2015. Like Carey, she has spoken about the stigma surrounding the disease and how she does not want to be defined by her illness.
Kesha has been vocal about her battle with anxiety, bulimia, and anorexia. In December 2017, she wrote an essay about the extra pressure that the holiday season puts on those with mental disorders.
Kid Cudi has spoken about his lifelong struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts in many interviews. In 2016, he checked himself into rehabilitation to deal with his illness.
The hit singer opened up about her struggle with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks in 2016. Gomez, who has been fighting lupus since 2012, has taken time off from creating music and touring in order to focus on her mental and physical health.
In 2016, Lady Gaga discussed how difficult the acclimation to fame was for her. She said that after her sudden rise to popularity, she dealt with severe depression and anxiety and needed to take time off to “stabilize.”
In a 2016 interview with Vanity Fair, Adele opened up about her battle with postpartum depression after giving birth. She said, “I can slip in and out of [depression] quite easily. I had really bad postpartum depression after I had my son, and it frightened me. I didn’t talk to anyone about it. I was very reluctant…Four of my friends felt the same way I did, and everyone was too embarrassed to talk about it.”
Cyrus spoke about her history with depression in a 2014 ELLE interview, saying, “So many people look at [my depression] as me being ungrateful, but that is not it—I can’t help it. There’s not much that I’m closed off about, and the universe gave me all that so I could help people feel like they don’t have to be something they’re not or feel like they have to fake happy. There’s nothing worse than being fake happy.”
It is incredibly important that musicians with such immense followings are using their platforms to fight the stigma against mental illness. So many people in the world struggle with mental disorders but don’t always have the resources to grapple with or understand what they’re feeling. The fact that these power players in the music industry are so candid about their illnesses is not only inspiring but also potentially life-saving for some of their fans.