He’s commonly known as The Boss, but even major rock stars like Bruce Springsteen have mental health struggles. Springsteen has written about his mental health issues in his autobiography, and now he’s speaking out again to the press about dealing with depression.
Born to Run in the Family
Bruce Springsteen has mental illness in his family. He just confessed to Esquire that his father was a paranoid schizophrenic. It was a hard upbringing. Springsteen said his father never told him he loved him, and his dad often spent long periods alone in the house in silence.
When you have a parent who is mentally ill, it can certainly make you afraid that your mental health could be at risk, and indeed Springsteen explained, “I have come close enough to [mental illness] where I know I am not completely well myself. I’ve had to deal with a lot of it over the years, and I’m on a variety of medications that keep me on an even keel.”
Without taking the right meds, Springsteen adds that “the wheels can come off a bit.” This isn’t the first time that Springsteen has used vehicle metaphors for his mental health. He also told Vanity Fair that his depression was “a freight train bearing down, loaded with nitroglycerin and running quickly out of track.”
Springsteen is also concerned about mental illness with his own family, and he’s kept a dutiful eye on his children as well. (Thankfully Springsteen’s kids are well, and mental illness has apparently skipped a generation in his family.)
The Boss Deals With His Mental Health
Springsteen reportedly had a breakdown when he was 32 right after releasing his album Nebraska. He’s not totally certain what caused it, but it drove him into therapy, and he also started taking medication as well. He even wrote a song in his 2012 Wrecking Ball album called, This Depression. (While he got into therapy years ago, Springsteen also had another bout with depression when he was in his early sixties.)
As Springsteen’s wife, Patti Scialfa, realized, when her husband was writing about his depression in his autobiography, he used a similar method to writing songs. “You solve something that you’re trying to figure out through the process of writing,” she told Vanity Fair. “I think it’s great for him to write about depression. A lot of his work comes from him trying to overcome that part of himself.”
And indeed, many artists use songs, movies, books, as a well to express themselves and exercise their demons. Springsteen’s work has always captured the point of view of a working class life, but ever since coming to terms with his mental health, he’s gone within and gotten more personal about his emotions.
Even with all his wealth and success, Springsteen knows that depression can be a lifelong battle, but he’s willing to put up the fight, and his continuing bravery in the face of some tough mental health challenges should make him even more of a hero to many.
KEYWORDS: MENTAL HEALTH, DEPRESSION