Bruce Springsteen is discussing his private battle with mental illness and he isn’t holding anything back. The 69-year-old rock legend has struggled with his mental health for various periods of his life, according to CNN. He went through a particularly low point mentally in his 30s and then again in his 60s. The struggle is nothing new to Springsteen, who watched his own father, Doug Springsteen, go through the same battle.
Springsteen said he watched his dad fight with many demons throughout his lifetime, eventually getting diagnosed with schizophrenia later in life. After witnessing his father’s pain, Springsteen said he wasn’t surprised when he began to experience the same trials. It was a part of his roots. Although the singer was never hospitalized for his own mental illness, he believes there were certainly occasions when he should have been.
In referencing his bout with depression in his 30s, Springsteen said it came out of nowhere and escalated quickly. It was so bad that he seemed to lose his grasp on reality. Luckily, he reached out for help before his demons could take over. “All I remember was feeling really badly and calling for help,” he said. “I might have gotten close to that and for brief, brief periods of time. It lasted for — I don’t know. Looking back on it now, I can’t say. Was it a couple weeks? Was it a month? Was it longer? But it was a very bad spell, and it just came.”
Now, even after many years have passed, Springsteen still finds himself battling with the same mental issues he did when he was younger. He has realized that not dealing with difficult things earlier in life causes that baggage to get particularly heavy as time passes. Springsteen admits he didn’t always let himself truly feel the pain of many experiences in his life. Rather than grappling with them head on, he pushed them aside and tried to ignore them. However, what he once thought was strength is taking its toll on him now. “Long ago, the defenses I built to withstand the stress of my childhood, to save what I had of myself, outlived their usefulness, and I’ve become an abuser of their once lifesaving powers,” Springsteen said.
The singer now wishes he hadn’t looked at denial as his only option. While he takes medication to help cope with his mental struggles, he doesn’t like to think where he’d be without it.