Justin Bieber’s Mental Health Issues Are Longstanding And His Timeout, Tour Cancellation Should Be Respected [Opinion]

Justin Bieber recently canceled the final 14 dates of his “Purpose World Tour,” and is now taking a break from his music career for the health of his “mind, heart, and soul.”

Based on Justin’s subsequent emotional open letter to fans explaining his reasons — and his fraught history — it is abundantly clear that the Canadian needs a timeout.

However, as is typical with anything Bieber-related, reaction to the pop superstar’s tour leg cancellation from most media, some celebrities, and many in the toxic culture that is the blogosphere, has been predictably negative.

Some of that disaffection was a result of TMZ sensationalizing Bieber’s connection to Hillsong Church and their tacit claim that the megachurch was behind the singer nixing his last tour leg.

However, both Justin and Hillsong have since denied the church was the reason for the abrupt ending of the “Purpose Tour.”

In addition, Bieber’s reps released official statements revealing the prince of pop was “super exhausted” after his global trek.

It shouldn’t be too hard for the reasonably minded to grasp that a young artist who only pulled out of 14 shows after performing a whopping 152 concerts in 16 months, and who has been on tour for six out of the eight years of his career, has evidently reached burnout.

By publicly admitting he has limitations and needs to press pause on key aspects of his life, Justin re-sparked wider conversations about mental health and the importance of self-care.

While the disappointment expressed by those who had tour tickets is understandable, much of the criticism, disrespect — and in some cases, online abuse — directed at the singer after the tour announcement was indicative of a recurring theme when it comes to the Biebs.

Namely, that whenever the pop superstar tries to talk about his mental and emotional health, he has been accused of being “selfish,” a “brat,” “lazy,” or some other pejorative.

Such dismissal is especially ignorant and unacceptable given that this isn’t the first time that Bieber has opened up about his mental/emotional health issues.

In May 2016, the singer showed signs of the strain of fame when he shared his feelings of discomfort at “fake” award shows in an Instagram post.

That same month, the pop icon said he would no longer take pics with fans because the way he is frequently dehumanized by frenzied selfie-hunting fans left him feeling like a “zoo animal.”

In March of that year, Bieber canceled “Purpose” tour meet-and-greets with fans after an encounter with a dangerous “fan” and instances of harassment from members of the public during his tour stop in Boston.

In an Instagram statement, Justin revealed mental health issues were behind his decision. He revealed that the meet-and-greets left him “feeling so drained and filled with so much of other people’s spiritual energy that I end up so drained and unhappy.”

At the time Bieber explained, “I want to make people smile and happy but not at my expense. I always leave feeling mentally and emotionally exhausted to the point of depression.”

All of these declarations were treated with anger and derision by the blogosphere, most media, and some of the public.

Clearly, the media’s largely non-sympathetic and non-contextualized coverage of the singer’s history of mental health problems has played an undeniable part in shaping that collective non-understanding.

Back in February 2016, the Biebs admitted in his cover interview with GQ magazine that he previously took Adderall, a stimulant, to help him concentrate on work because of longtime sleep pattern problems.

In December 2015, after a year of grinding promotion during Bieber’s comeback, he revealed that he suffered from depression and anxiety in a shocking interview with the UK’s NME music magazine.

“I just want people to know I’m human. I’m struggling just to get through the days. I think a lot of people are,” Justin told the publication.

“You get lonely, you know, when you’re on the road,” he added.”People see the glam and the amazing stuff, but they don’t know the other side. This life can rip you apart.” Bieber also said that he lives with depression “all the time” and feels “isolated” by fame. In his Billboard cover profile last November, the superstar revealed he came “close to letting fame destroy” him.

Going further back, in the 2013 concert-movie Believe, the superstar’s mother — Pattie Mallette — described her son’s nature as “anxious.” In January 2014, after Justin’s first arrest in Miami, Florida, the results from his toxicology tests revealed the presence of marijuana and Xanax in his system. The latter is often prescribed for anxiety and panic disorders.

The then 19-year-old singer told police that he took Xanax whenever he felt “closed in,” according to an Associated Press report at the time.

Bieber himself first talked about his depression during an appearance at On Air With Ryan Seacrest to discuss his then upcoming new music.

Justin talked about his continuing struggle with becoming famous while very young in multiple interviews in 2015.

Fast forward to the mainstream media’s current baffled stance to the Biebs’ candid sharing of his reasons for canceling his final Purpose Tour leg, and stepping back from the spotlight for a “sustainable” life.

That bafflement is laughable when one considers the numerous times media outlets have screamed that the young star is having a meltdown or on the brink of one. For example, after he shared the Instagram post seen below last February.

The truth is, a large swathe of the gossip news cycle has been eagerly anticipating a Bieber breakdown since it started driving that narrative in 2013 when the pop star’s infamous annus horribilis began.

So, there is irony in mainstream media choosing to ignore or downplay Bieber’s mental health issues after he makes a valid judgment call to prematurely end his tour and take a career break for the sake of his “mind, heart, and soul.”

In light of a positive recent report from People magazine citing sources stating Justin is “doing better already” now that he is not on tour and is getting some R&R, clearly the 23-year-old’s hiatus is the right decision in the long run.

A source told the mag that “Justin is hanging out in L.A. with friends. He feels really bad to disappoint many of his fans.”

The insider added, “This is why he decided to write the open letter. He still feels he made the right decision.”

The confidante reflected that Justin “started out in the business as a kid, but he is older now. He wants to have control over his life and health.”

Notably, the source also revealed, “He hasn’t been feeling well mentally for a while. Canceling the tour was the right thing for him.”

Since the tour leg cancellation, Justin has spent time seeking spiritual guidance at Hillsong Church and the Zoe Conference and hanging out “with his church crew.”

Tabloids and the like have orgied for the past two weeks with a mix of fear-mongering, mocking, false or exaggerated claims about Justin’s interest in spirituality and his faith. But, the reality is far less outlandish.

“He needed to take a break and just focus on himself. He is doing better already,” a Biebs-insider shared to People. “He is focused on his spiritual journey. He wants to be stronger mentally.”

Another Bieber source says, “Being more spiritual and attending church is how he finds his energy and focus again.”

Based on a significant amount of online messages posted by Justin’s fans, many appear to be happy that a tour they already thought was too long has ended, and are glad that the singer took preventative steps for his health.

It’s worth noting that celebrities including John Mayer, Kelly Rowland, Sharon Osbourne, The View, Fifth Harmony, and a few others offered words of support to Justin amid the widespread gnashing.

Someday, perhaps more will understand that it’s OK for artists — and for anyone, for that matter — to help themselves before a situation becomes a crisis or a reason for a trending hashtag.

[Featured Image By Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images]