"I know how dark and terrible it is"
Today (Sunday November 19) is International Men’s Day, and Shadows has called for society to be more open and understanding about depression and anxiety.
“I’ve always been a really open person around my friends,” Shadows told NME. “I’ve had friends who’ve had depression or been on medication because their pituitary glands aren’t giving out enough hormones – so I’ve been around a lot of people who’ve had problems like that. I’ve always been open to talk about that.
“The stigma is disheartening because everyone on this planet goes through things at one point or another, so we just have to be there for each other. Some people will have darker situations that they can’t pull themselves out of, and they need people or they need help with some sort of medication, something they can do or someone they can talk.”
He continued: “Those who are not very good at understanding mental health issues are not going to know what other people are going through in depression. You have to kind of put yourself in somebody else’s shoes. It takes a lot of work from all of us to understand where people are coming from, and then do the best to help them because it’s just too important. We’re going to lose too many people if we don’t do something about it.”
After the loss of Chester Bennington earlier this year, Shadows stressed that for everyone willing to talk, people also need to be understanding enough to listen. He himself didn’t come to understand depression until dealing with it first hand with the passing of drummer Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan in 2009.
“All I can say is, I never knew what depression was and you could say the word over and over again to me and I’d never know what the depths of it felt like until I lost Jimmy,” Shadows told NME. “I went through about three years when I couldn’t do anything, so I went to go talk to someone and it was the hardest three years of my life. I would shake at night and have anxiety of anything I was doing , I couldn’t sleep, y’know off the wall, random. But once I’d been through those three years I would never ever question someone’s mental state, because I went through it.”
He added: “I know how desperate it is and how dark and terrible it is and how you feel like you can’t do anything. Unfortunately, people have to go through that to understand what people are going through. All I can say to people who don’t think depression is a real thing, or say ‘just suck it up and get over it’ – they just really have no idea. You have to give people the benefit of the doubt that they’re doing the best they can to get through it.”
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
Avenged Sevenfold will headline Download 2018 alongside Guns N’ Roses and Ozzy Osbourne. Visit here for tickets and more information.
They’ll be releasing a deluxe reissue of ‘The Stage’ on December 22.