Brian Wilson opens up about his depression

The Beach Boys, one of the most iconic and well-known music groups in the American pop culture, swept the nation in the 1960s with its hits like “California Girls”, “Kokomo” and “Help Me, Rhonda.” The band consisted of Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, their cousin Mike Love and their buddies Al Jardine and Bruce Johnston.

However, everything was not so smooth in the group as it appeared. This came to the fore through the 2015 movie “Love & Mercy” which talked about lead singer Brian being addicted to drugs and suffering from mental illness during his singing career.

And now in his second autobiography titled, “I am Brian Wilson: A Memoir,” published in October 2016, Wilson talks about music, his struggle with mental illness and the toll of LSD on his life. In the book, Wilson talks about his struggles with mental illness which were a result of bad drugs.

While the band’s success grew, Wilson’s life continued to sink into a mess of drugs and depression. Wilson was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, a mental disorder that combines symptoms of mood disorders and schizophrenia, the book said. Wilson also talks about his bad experiences with drugs and how drugs can be dangerous to one’s health. Wilson regrets taking LSD and advises people not to take psychedelic drugs as they are harmful for the brain.

In an interview to the Ability Magazine in 2006, Wilson discussed about his mental health, his love for music and how his family kept him sane and gave him contentment. Wilson said that he had auditory hallucinations for 40 years and that he could not get over them. He revealed how the voices in his head said derogatory things to him all day and how he had to be strong and stand up against them. It was a daily fight for him, he confessed.

The auditory hallucinations started when Wilson was 25 years old and was already a successful musician. Wilson started getting treatment for his condition at the age of 40. According to Wilson, the treatment has made his life a little easier and has made his symptoms bearable. Wilson also spoke how the derogatory voices in his head were accompanied with intense fear that triggered stress and depression. Wilson confessed that his depression got to the point where he was unable to do anything, even write songs.

Musicians more prone to mental illness

According to a study by the University of Westminster, UK, titled, “Can Music Make You Sick?” compared to the general public, musicians are more likely to suffer from depression. The study found that 71.1 percent musicians believed to have experienced anxiety and panic attacks, whereas 68.5 percent musicians believed to have experienced depression. As per study author Sally Anne Gross, the highly stressful working conditions experienced by the DJs becomes a cause for mental illness in the music industry. The findings suggested that the music industry might be making musicians, those working in it or having ambitions to work in it, sick or contributing towards their levels of mental illness.

Recovery road map

Creativity and mental health are closely related. A study by North Trøndelag Hospital Trust, Nord-Trøndelag University College, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and Nord University, musicians are 50 percent more likely to be on medications for mental health issues, compared to general population. The study concluded that creativity that is associated with artistic and musical performances may be associated with substance abuse and affective disorders.

If you or your loved one is suffering from any kind of mental disorder, contact the California Mental Health Helpline to know about the best mental health centers in California. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-559-3923 or chat online to speak with our representatives who can help you find the best mental health treatment centers in California.

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