The “I’m a Mess” singer, 30, told the world about her experience in a series of tweets last year, declaring that she was “not ashamed anymore” of her mental illness. Nearly one year after bravely coming forward, the New York native told Self magazine as part of her March 2020 cover story that she wants to help “normalize it” for other people who might be facing the same struggles.
“I felt like me opening up to my fans was me finally saying, ‘I’m not going to be imprisoned by this.’ And maybe it’ll make somebody not feel imprisoned, in that moment, if they feel like they’re going through a rough time. That’s why I decided to really open up and to free myself from that.”
Although she only recently spoke about her experience publicly, challenges with her mental health aren’t a new development in her life. Rexha admitted to “always [being] anxious, scared of what was going to happen,” even as a young girl.
“It made me feel just weird feelings, weird emotions, weird thoughts all the time. Not normal thoughts,” she told Self, describing the extreme highs and lows she experiences day to day. “It’s the war you have inside your head: Will it affect my career? Will people judge me? Will they want to work with me? … I felt very sick, and there’s only so much you can take as a human being. I made an adult decision to take another step to better myself.”
“For the longest time, I didn’t understand why I felt so sick,” Rexha tweeted. “Why I felt lows that made me not want to leave my house or be around people and why I felt highs that wouldn’t let me sleep, wouldn’t let me stop working or creating music. Now I know why.”
She recognized that it was a big risk to put so much of her life out there, but fans were quick to send an outpouring of support and love her way. Now that she’s accepted her own struggles, Rexha wants to be a beacon of light and positivity for people all over the world.
“I won’t allow it to label me,” she explained to Self. “It’s something that I’m going through, but it’s not me.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
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