The singer is reminding people that success doesn't "erase" someone's mental illness.

By Arielle Tschinkel
February 26, 2020

When celebrities talk about mental health, their transparency helps others feel supported and less alone in what they may be experiencing. But being vulnerable about mental health also means opening yourself up to potential scrutiny—something Halsey says she's experienced since releasing her latest album "Manic."

ICYDK, the singer has been open with fans for years about her experience with bipolar disorder, a manic-depressive illness characterized by "unusual" changes in mood, energy, and activity levels, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). In fact, she recently told Rolling Stone that her newest album is the first she's written while in a "manic" period (hence the album's title). The singer also shared with the publication that she's chosen to hospitalize herself twice in the last several years to help manage her mental health.

Halsey's openness about having bipolar disorder clearly resonates with people. But in a recent series of Instagram Stories, the "Graveyard" singer said that her candidness has also led some people to judge and "police" the way she expresses herself. Many people expect her, and other artists who speak openly about mental health, to always appear "well-behaved", "polite", and to talk about "the 'brighter side' of things", rather than "the less attractive parts of mental illness," wrote Halsey.

But these expectations dismiss the reality of living with mental illness, which isn't always sunny and bright—even for successful pop stars who appear to be put-together 24/7, shared Halsey. "I am not a professionally styled figurehead in a beautiful suit," she wrote. "I am not an inspirational speaker who pressed 'skip level' and arrived [at] a finish line. I am a human being. And there is a treacherous road I walk, that has led me to the pedestal I've been cast to stand upon." (Related: This Woman Bravely Shows What an Anxiety Attack Really Looks Like)

Continuing her post, Halsey said she doesn't want people to "erase the journey" she's led in managing her mental health just because she's achieved success. After all, that journey played a big role in her passion for music in the first place. "Music is this thing that I get to focus all my chaotic energy into, and it's not a void that doesn't love me back," the singer told Cosmopolitan in September 2019. "It's been the only place I can direct all that and have something to show for it that tells me, 'Hey, you're not that bad.'" (Related: Halsey Opens Up About How Endometriosis Surgeries Affected Her Body)

Halsey hasn't specified who, exactly, she feels is trying to "police" the way she expresses herself and talks about mental health, or whether a specific incident compelled her to talk about the subject on social media. Regardless, the singer said that despite sometimes being misunderstood, she's thankful that she can channel her emotions through music and songwriting: "I am grateful for the art I've had the opportunity to make because of the unique perspective my [mental illness] gives me."


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