It is not easy to talk about mental health. There is still a stigma in this issue in certain sectors of society, and frankly most people seldom understand what it feels like for those who suffer from it.
This is true even for the famous ones. Mental illness can strike anyone, whether one is powerful or powerless. The celebrities we watch and sometimes hate for their bizarre behavior may, in fact, be suffering from mental illness. And although it doesn't excuse bad behavior, it can definitely explain it.
Years And Years frontman Olly Alexander is not known for acting up in public. In fact, compared to his contemporaries in the pop world, he has avoided controversy.
But like millions of people, he does suffer from depression and anxiety. In an interview with the Guardian columnist Owen Jones, the singer and actor has candidly opened up about what he went through as an adolesecent and how he coped with his mental distress saying, "
I always had really, really bad nightmares, like night terrors or whatever they’re called,” Olly told Owen Jones. “I used to wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to move ... I’d hallucinate and have really scary visions."
When asked whether it was more depression or anxiety, he replied, " I was really like showing signs of being in distress, having issues with food and not eating, you know like self-harm"
On top of that, he had to deal with coming to grips with his own sexuality, " I was about fourteen when I really fell in love with like, my best friend...I was like, obsessed with him, " Olly said. “I was like, ‘Please let me not be gay! I’ve got enough to deal with!’”
Jones then asked him if whether being gay has fed into his mental distress. "I think that connects it definitely." Olly replied "Growing up in a straight world; it's difficult" he mused.
As to what treatments he went through to cope, Olly talked about seeing counselors and undergoing therapy “CBT (Cognitive behavioral therapy) is really helpful if you have a panic disorder or anxiety, which I was definitely experiencing at one stage,” he said.
He also has a message to young people who may be undergoing what he went through, “The first thing you start to think is you’re alone and you’re crazy,” he says and then adds, “ But it's not the case, so many people experience similar things There is a support network out there... make use of it."
Watch the full interview below: