James Blake
And experiencing "suicidal thoughts" during his early tours...

James Blake has opened up about his experiences of mental health issues.

The songwriter took part in a panel at a Performing Arts Medicine Association event in California on July 1st, with the focus being on mental health issues within the music industry, as Billboard report.

Speaking candidly, James Blake revealed he struggled with a number of problems relating to depression and anxiety during his first touring spells, and also experienced suicidal thoughts.

Looking back on this early tours, the songwriter said: "I was taken away from normal life essentially at an age where I was half-formed."

"Your connection to other people becomes surface level," he explained. "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."

Continuing, the songwriter focussed on the impact that the touring experience had on his mental health. "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."

He said: "I developed (dietary) 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."

"There is this myth that you have to be anxious to be creative, that you have to be depressed to be a genius," he added. "I can truly say that anxiety has never helped me create. And I’ve watched it destroy my friends’ creative process, too."

Finding a new girlfriend helped James Blake to cut ties with people he regarded as a negative influence on his life. "Honestly, a lot of catharsis just came in telling lots of people to fuck off," he said. "And saying no. Saying no to constant touring. No (amount of) money will ever be enough."

James Blake has suffered in the past from mental health issues, but decided to speak out because he feels "we’ve reached a critical point".

"We are the generation that’s watched several other generations of musicians turn to drugs and turn to excess and coping mechanisms that have destroyed them. And there are so many high-profile people recently who’ve taken their own lives. So we, I think, have a responsibility to talk about it and to remove the stigma."

(via Billboard)

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