Last week, in an interview broadcast on Channel 4, Stormzy did a huge service to men in particular, who are struggling with anxiety or depression, by talking about his own struggles with depression. And by doing so, in a small but significant way, he broke through the macho notion that you do not admit to anyone that you have mental health issues. You don’t because obviously, when you’re struggling with something like that, you’re vulnerable, and vulnerability and macho-culture don’t sit well together. (Matcha-culture maybe but macho-culture not so much!) It’s like admitting you’re not Alpha Male anymore, (even if you were merely a pretender to the throne), and that your crown is there to be taken by someone else (mentally) fitter than you.
But Stormzy’s openness about his depression was clearly a sign of strength not weakness, particularly coming as it does, from someone in an unrivalled position of strength. And, as the saying sort of goes, if what he did helped even one person, than it was a victory.
But I have one reservation about the interview, and it is this. Despite being so open, and admitting that he has struggled with depression in the past, he never revealed how he managed to get through it. Okay, sure, the fact that he did get through it is fantastic encouragement for others also struggling with it, knowing that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. But there was still a macho element in play, here. The implication being that despite having depression, Stormzy himself never asked for, or even needed help from anyone. He simply marched on, rode it out, until the depression lifted. Great if true, but not as ground-breakingly helpful as his frankness at first seemed. And because of this, I feel it could be potentially harmful, as not everyone struggling with depression will be able to reach the heights of masculinity that he appears to have done. And this may add an extra layer of failure on top of already dark thoughts. It’s possible of course, that Stormzy did seek out help of some kind, but if he did, he chose not to reveal that bit of the story. Which I feel is an opportunity missed. But anyway, small steps.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, you may like to consider hypnotherapy. It’s an effective way of helping you find your way through it.
*For copyright reasons, the You Tube clip above of the track Lay Me Bare, in which Stormzy raps about his depression, contains the lyrics only.
*And the extract of the same track embedded below contains adult lyrical content, almost immediately.