Gucci Mane Discusses Mental Health Struggles On 'Highly Questionable'

By McCarton Ackerman 01/10/17

The 36-year-old rapper spoke about developing PTSD after being robbed by assailants in 2005.

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Gucci Mane

After opening up about his past drug use and decision to get sober, rapper Gucci Mane is now addressing his struggles with mental health.

In a new interview with ESPN’s Highly Confidential, the rapper, born Radric Davis, said his involvement in the 2005 murder of Henry Lee Clark led to him developing PTSD. (Davis maintained that though he did shoot the man, he did it out of self-defense, and the murder charges against him were eventually dropped.)

His mental health issues were further exacerbated by the stress of his music career and the possibility of 20 years behind bars, after he was charged with two counts of possessing a firearm as a felon in December 2013.

“I felt like I was gonna kill somebody, for trying to kill me,” said Davis of his pre-prison paranoia. “I was never afraid. I just kinda, in my mind I felt like someone was going to try to hurt me, try to rob me, do something to force my hand and defend myself and hurt them.”

Prior to entering jail, Davis had a daily routine of imbibing in a wide range of substances, including alcohol and lean (a mixture of soda and codeine/promethazine-based cough syrup). He ended up going through withdrawal behind bars, which he described as feeling "like death," but said his motivation to stay sober didn’t truly set in until he was given a new lease on life with his sentence.

“When I was facing 20, 30 years and it was almost on the table, it kind of got worked out where I could only do three years. I felt like I could manage it. I could still have a career when I got out and not lose my whole life. It was like, ‘Let me fix my life,’” said Davis.

“I had time to sit back and evaluate everything, and also dry out from the drugs … I tried to make the time work for me the best I could," he went on. "I didn't want to live the rest of my life in prison. So I was like, one thing that I need to do is be totally sober. I need to have complete clarity. I need to have razor sharp focus on everything I do, every day from when I wake up to when I go to sleep. After you start doing it for like a year, then it turns to two years. Once I got out and start doing it, it makes me a better person, a better artist, it makes me all the way stronger."

Since being released from prison last May after serving three years for the gun charge, Davis dropped his latest album, Everybody Looking. Most importantly, he’s stayed sober and has even found doing so to be empowering.

"It’s an extravagant lifestyle I live. And to me it’s kinda being even more cocky. I love to tell somebody, ‘Hey listen, I don’t do drugs. I’m sorry baby, but I don’t want anything to drink. I’ll take a water,’” he said last fall. “I’m proud of doing it. I like doing it. I hope people follow my example.”

Watch the full ESPN interview here.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.

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