'Suffering is real. There is no romance to it and it can affect anyone'
Anderson, who plays keys and guitar in the Manchester synth-pop duo, took to Instagram to share a frank and brave open letter to his followers.
“My name is Adam Anderson,” he wrote. “I am a musician from England and one half of the pop group Hurts. I am a human being who suffers from mental illness.
“I’m writing this because I’m tired of upholding a version of myself that’s dishonest. I’m writing in an attempt to honour those people who have written to me from around the world over the years, expressing their own suffering and anguish. When people in the public eye choose to talk openly about mental health, it gives strength to those living in fear and shame, myself included. So it is important for me to speak out.”
He continued: “I’ve suffered with anxiety and depression for over 20 years. It began as a teenager and has got progressively worse as I’ve got older.”
“I have self-harmed. I have lived with severe health anxiety. I have battled an eating disorder. I have experienced chronic physical pain. I have spent time living in a psychiatric hospital. At its worst, I have felt like giving up on life. I have jumped from addiction to addiction as a way of coping with, or escaping from these things.
Anderson goes on: “Most of my life, both as an adult and child, I have lived in fear. I’ve lived most of my life telling myself my feelings do not matter. That I am a failure. That I am worthless. This is the kind of inner voice that I have.”
“It is only in the last few months, through the help of a psychologist, through group therapy, medication, medication and through educating myself more thoroughly on mental illness, that I have increased my understanding of my condition and felt able to write this.”
Anderson also wrote: “I don’t have any grand solutions. I can only share my experience. Recovery, for me, is an ongoing process. I’m not even sure ‘recovery’ is the right word. Learning to live alongside thoughts and feelings is a better description of what I’m trying to do. Learning not to fight them, or run from them. As a natural fighter, this kind of acceptance is not easy for me. It is frightening and often feels counter-intuitive. Facing previously withheld emotions without pushing them away is requires a lot of patience and compassion.
“If you’re a person that feels like you’re hiding part of yourself away, whether through fear or shame, if you feel isolated like you’re living a double life, or have run out of options, I hope you know you’re not alone. Try writing down how you’re feeling. At my lowest point, when I felt like I had nowhere to turn, that’s where I began. Simply write down on a page what you are thinking and how you truly feel. Acknowledge it. You don’t need to hide it. Don’t keep it locked away. Better still, if it’s possible, talk through it with somebody you trust. But really try and understand yourself. Look deeper. Don’t assume you know.
“Perhaps there’s someone in your life who is suffering. Reach out to them. When was the last time you asked them how they are and truly listened to their reply unconditionally? A person living with mental illness may feel that their voice doesn’t matter. They will probably feel invalidated and ashamed. Listening compassionately to someone is one of the strongest forms of love there is.”
He added: “Suffering is real. There is no romance to it and it can affect anyone. There is no hierarchy to which it conforms. We are all vulnerable. I want to live with an open heart. No acting my way through life, no longer hiding in plain sight.”
“Thank you for reading. Adam”
FOR HELP AND ADVICE ON MENTAL HEALTH:
- YOUNG MINDS – The voice for young people’s health and wellbeing
- CALM – The Campaign Against Living Miserably for young men
- Time To Change – Let’s end mental health discrimination
- The Samaritans – Confidential support 24 hours a day