When we see people achieve fame and fortune, too often we assume that all of their problems are solved. Of course, that is not how mental illness works. We know this from watching Robin Williams lose his years-long battle with depression. It can be so disorienting and confusing when a public figure reveals a struggle but it’s so important for them to share because it raises awareness.
Imagine Dragons has topped the charts with some of the biggest songs in the past year including “Radioactive” and “Demons” but now, band member, Dan Reynolds, is opening up about his personal life. Overall, he admits to being “depressed as hell.”
The 27-year-old singer shared in a set of interviews recently: “The last few years have been the highest highs for me and certainly the lowest lows. That’s not to say it’s some sob story because everything has been wonderful and we have had everything happen that we could ever have wanted to happen but I have certainly dealt with quite a bit of depression. I have for many years, but it’s been at its worst and heaviest these last two years.”
Of course, if you follow the band then you realize that this coincides with their sudden success in 2012. In a matter of days, they will be releasing their follow-up effort, Smoke + Mirrors.
Reynolds went on to say: “That’s a scary thing when you get everything that you could have wanted but yet you still feel an emptiness because at that point you think, ‘Oh man, if this doesn’t fill it, then I don’t know where to look any more.'”
He added: “It’s lonely when your life changes like this. I’ve lost all my friends. It’s not like we had some blowout arguments or that I feel I’m too cool — the relationships feel false. Anytime I’m talking to someone, I feel they’re just thinking about Imagine Dragons. Probably a lot of them aren’t treating me differently. I just can’t get over it.”
It’s understandable to wonder what the people around you are really thinking, especially when widespread success comes so suddenly. It makes sense that there could be an element of distrust with certain relationships but, fortunately, Reynolds, does have his own small support system.
He married singer, Aja Volkman, a few years ago and the couple welcomed daughter, Arrow, in 2012. This, of course, also coincides with the increase in his depressive symptoms – even though it’s a happy occasion, the addition of a child can be incredibly stressful. Reynolds did comment on how creating his own family has been helpful.
The Las Vegas native said: “I didn’t feel any fear of dying — and that scared me. I thought, ‘That’s an awful way to live. I have a wonderful 2-year-old daughter and [a] wife that I love and a great career doing what I love.’ That made me feel like I needed to reevaluate my life and find a deeper appreciation for it.”
Finding new meaning in life can definitely be helpful when dealing with depression. It’s also important to seek professional help (especially during prolonged episodes) in order to develop healthy coping strategies.
It was very brave of Reynolds to be so candid about his own depression. He may have saved a few lives with his honesty.