Big Sean Gets Candid About Depression, Anxiety

By Beth Leipholtz 03/28/19

"I wasn't feeling like myself and I couldn't figure out why. I just felt lost—and I don't know how I got there," the rapper revealed on Instagram.

Image: 
Big Sean

Rapper Big Sean is getting candid about mental health—and according to the BBC, it’s inspiring other men of color to do the same.  

Recently the 31-year-old rapper utilized Instagram videos to discuss a period of his life that he says was difficult because of anxiety and depression. He says around his 30th birthday, he sought therapy for issues needing "special attention."

"I wasn't feeling like myself and I couldn't figure out why," he said on Instagram. "I just felt lost—and I don't know how I got there."

The rapper continued, “I got a good therapist. I was blessed enough to talk to some super spiritual people. They made me realize one thing I was missing in my life, and the one thing I was missing was clarity. Clarity about who was around me, what I was doing.”

Sean also mentioned that since the age of 17, he has leaned on meditation to manage depression and anxiety, but this time around he needed more. Sean says that seeking therapy brought him “clarity,” especially in relationships.

"I had a lot of toxic relationships around me," he said in the videos. "Even the relationship with my mum was getting to a point where we weren't talking like that. It was just weird because it had never been like that with me and her."

Sean also touched on how his mental health affected his career, stating that he lost the enjoyment he initially had in music. 

"I realized that it all started with me," he said. "I couldn't point the finger at anyone else, I had to point it at myself, nurture those relationships that were important to me but most importantly nurture the relationship with myself."

Sean’s openness about mental health has had a positive impact on other men of color, including Ben Hurst, who works to promote gender equality in young men and boys. 

"I'm in awe that he's having that conversation," Hurst told the BBC. "It just makes it OK. I started therapy recently and I remember when I started, I didn't tell my family, there was a big reluctance inside of me to tell my friends and to have that conversation."

Hurst tells the BBC that when he was younger, it was ingrained in him to not discuss his feelings. 

"Particularly in POC (people of color) communities, there's a big pushback on talking about emotion, especially for men," Hurst added. “It's almost like when you're young, you're taught to not air business out in public, to not talk about stuff outside of the house.”

Alex Leon, a charity worker, tells the BBC that openness from public figures such as Sean makes a difference when it comes to the dialogue around mental health. 

“Sometimes we see statements where artists, musicians or activists talk about 'difficult periods' but they rarely give the name and say they were suffering from anxiety or depression—or, more importantly, say they saw a therapist," said Leon. 

“What Big Sean has done is a good step in the right direction for us to be able to tell men of color in the media that they should be speaking more openly because we need that representation," he added.

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Beth is a Minnesota girl who got sober at age 20. By day she is a website designer, and in her spare time she enjoys writing about recovery at www.lifetobecontinued.com, doing graphic design and spending time with her boyfriend and three dogs. Find Beth on LinkedInInstagram and Twitter.

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