James Blake speaks about mental health, opens up about having “suicidal thoughts”

Musician James Blake has opened up about his mental health, speaking about his experiences with depression and anxiety, as well as revealing he had suicidal thoughts on some of his early tours.

Blake was speaking as part of a panel called “You Got This: Managing the Suicide Crisis in the Arts Population” at the Performing Arts Medicine Association in California during the weekend.

“Your connection to other people becomes surface level. So if you were only in town for one day and someone asked you how you are, you go into the good stuff… which generally doesn’t involve how anxious you feel [or] how depressed you feel,” said Blake, speaking about touring. “I would say that chemical imbalance due to diet and the deterioration of my health was a huge, huge factor in my depression and eventual suicidal thoughts […] I developed intolerances that would lead to existential depression on a daily basis. I would eat a certain thing and then all day I would feel like there was just no point.”

He added that there’s a myth you need to be anxious or depressed to be a genius. “I can truly say that anxiety has never helped me create. And I’ve watched it destroy my friends’ creative process, too.”

Blake eventually managed to find help through both the positive influence of his girlfriend and an experimental treatment called EMDR therapy, which he said “really broke the back of all the traumas and repressions that had led me to depression in the first place.”

If you’re suffering from depression or are having suicidal thoughts, you can find help here.

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