"The more commonplace it becomes and the more people who speak about it in general life, it loses any stigma because it becomes normal"
Earlier this year saw Adam Anderson, who plays keys and guitar in the Manchester synth-pop duo, take to Instagram to open up about his own battle with depression, anxiety and addiction – in a bid to inspire others to speak out and seek help themselves.
“There were two stages to it really,” Anderson told NME, recalling the day that he opened up to the public.The first was writing it to begin with, and that in itself felt like a weight had been lifted. That made me think that it’s not always about having a person to confide in, rather than just having a need to communicate what you hold inside.
“If you don’t externalise it, then it festers inside you. The second stage was the act of allowing people to know about it.”
Frontman Theo Hutchcraft continued: “It’s just speaking out, you know. It shouldn’t be taboo. Particularly for men, it’s difficult. Where we come from in the North of England it’s a particular problem culturally. It’s an old idea of stoicism and a masculine identity that is harmful. It’s very harmful to a lot of young men. Discussing things are looked down upon and things become suppressed. Changing those attitudes is a big thing within society and needs to happen. The more commonplace it becomes and the more people who speak about it in general life, it loses any stigma because it becomes normal.”
“It’s an illness and it’s a health problem – that is something to be taken seriously. It’s an emotional problem, but it’s also a medical issue for a lot of people. That’s a big part of it. We need to be listening to each other.”
In his message to fans earlier this year, Anderson wrote: “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.”
He continued: “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.
“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.”
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