16 Musicians You Love Who Coped With Mental Illness

Zayn Malik’s recent exit from a performance was because he was battling with performance anxiety. This has brought about a lot of buzz regarding other celebrities who have also struggled with some or the other form of psychological monsters. A lot of people resort to art and music to release and express these abstract feelings in order to heal from them.

From eating disorders, mood disorders to self-image issues and every kind of abuse, we found out all the musicians you know and adore who have locked horns with the mental illness demon:

  1. Kurt Cobain
    Possibly one of the most famous singers ever, the grunge/alternative rock band Nirvana’s frontman was known to suffer from manic depression (bipolar disorder). This disorder refers to a person’s tendency to have extreme emotions, primarily hyperactivity and sadness, with no sense of balance. Cobain refused any medication or therapy for his condition, and is rumored to have committed suicide because of his feud with mental illness and drug addiction.

  2. Amy Winehouse
    Mixing genres like soul, blues and jazz music, this iconic singer had her own history of depression, drug abuse and bulimia. Winehouse’s song ‘Rehab’, much like all her songs, came from personal experience and expresses how she just needed a friend. The combination of an eating disorder and alcohol addiction eventually defeated her body’s functions and killed her at the age of 27.

  3. Syd Barrett
    Legendary band Pink Floyd’s founding member and singer, Barrett got heavily involved in drug usage and eventually couldn’t function normally enough to continue being part of the band. David Gilmour took over and Barrett continued to experiment with music, solo. It is speculated that he had schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, and that his addictions might have caused it.

  4. Adele
    The break up song expert has admitted to have had a struggle with stage fright, and mentioned that Beyoncé helped her overcome it. Performance anxiety is found in about 60% of performing artists.

  5. Marilyn Manson
    An introverted child, Manson directed all the negative experiences he had inward. He was sexually abused and humiliated. These occurrences scarred him deeply. This is a pressing concern in our society where quiet kids are made to be submissive and ragged on the basis of their introversion.

  6. Tina Turner
    Her solo career was very successful, but her private life had been quite a mess. Turner endured child sexual abuse, and domestic abuse by her husband in her later years. Such instances can lead to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), where a person subjected to emotionally intense and hurtful moments does not recover from the injury it causes mentally, and it goes on to affect them even after a substantial amount of time.

  7. Maynard James Keenan
    With his band Tool caught up in a fair amount of controversy, Keenan has skeletons in his own closet, too. The cryptic and twisted singer revealed that he was a survivor of sexual abuse when he was a child.

  8. Demi Lovato
    With the mix of bulimia, bipolar disorder and drug addiction, Lovato spent a lot of time in rehabilitation to combat her demons and emerged confident and happy. Bulimia is an eating disorder 
    where a person eats as much food as they like (usually when they’re feeling low) and later throw up everything. Eating disorders emerge from deep-rooted self-image issues where one is extremely unhappy with their appearance and adopts unhealthy means to achieve the body type that they feel society finds acceptable.

  9. Ian Curtis
    English rock/post punk band Joy Division’s singer and lyricist fought epilepsy and depression, which eventually led to his suicide at the age of 23. Depression is a very common but serious mood disorder where one feels sad, lifeless, lonesome, and hopeless. These feelings become overwhelming to the individual and can hamper their daily functioning to the point of not getting out of bed for days at a stretch.

  10. Zayn Malik
    The recent news regarding the former member of One Direction brought mental illness to light to the general audience. Malik said that he was thankful to Adele for helping him cope with panic attacks and nervousness. Anxiety disorder 
    refers to the persistent state of mind where a person feels a deep sense of fear and nervousness, where anxiety is a worry about the future and possible events. Anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety, panic attacks, PTSD, phobias, and separation anxiety. Friendly reminder: merely asking an anxious person to calm down does not help!

  11. Christina Aguilera
    The American singer, songwriter, actress and dancer was subjected to violent abuse from her father when she was a child.

  12. Dave Mustaine
    Megadeth singer and songwriter Dave Mustaine survived an abusive childhood and was extensively involved in drug abuse, too.

  13. Chester Bennington
    The vocalist of Linkin Park, the band that has been part of everyone’s life at some point or the other, too, has survived a sexually abusive childhood that still crawls in his skin.

  14. Courtney Love
    Punk and grunge band Hole’s musician Courtney Love has been suspected to have borderline personality disorder (BPD). This disorder has various symptoms such as impulsiveness, promiscuity, loss or lack of identity, and destructive tendencies. She has gotten into highly publicized legal troubles and many Nirvana fans blame her for her husband Kurt Cobain’s devastating suicide.

  15. Jim Morrison
    The Doors’ singer and otherwise poet, Morrison seemed to be having identity disturbances. This involves the inability to maintain one or more major components of a person’s identity and is one of the signs of a borderline personality. He died of heart failure, but no autopsy was actually performed, and thus the real cause of his death remains a mystery.

  16. Britney Spears
    Spears indulged heavily in drug abuse which led to a major public meltdown. She shaved off her hair and then admitted herself in a drug rehabilitation facility. She recovered and continued her musical career successfully.

If you know anyone with any kind of mental illness or trouble, listen to them and just be there for them. It’s a lifelong struggle and they need all the help they can get to make it out alive and sane.

Love music as much as we do? Try our suggestions!