Halsey Opened Up About How Music Has Helped Her Manage Her Bipolar Disorder
The "Nightmare" singer says it's allowed her to channel her "chaotic energy" into something positive.
Halsey isn't ashamed of her struggles with mental health. In fact, she embraces them. At 17 years old, the singer was diagnosed 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.
However, it wasn't until 2015 that Halsey publically opened up about her diagnosis during a conversation with ELLE.com: "I'm not always going to be agreeable, you know? I'm not always going to be calm. I'm entitled to my emotions and, unfortunately, because of the circumstance that I deal with, it's a little more than other people," she explained at the time.
Now, in a new interview with Cosmopolitan, the 24-year-old singer said she's found that channeling her emotions into music is one of the best ways for her to manage her bipolar disorder.
"[Music's] been the only place I can direct all that [chaotic energy] and have something to show for it that tells me, 'Hey, you're not that bad,'" Halsey explained. "If my brain is a bunch of broken glass, I get to make it into a mosaic." (Related: Halsey Opens Up About How Endometriosis Surgeries Affected Her Body)
The performer is working on her third studio album, the first she's ever written in a "manic" period, she recently told Rolling Stone. "[It's a sampling of] hip-hop, rock, country, f**king everything — because it's so manic. It's soooooo manic. It's literally just, like, whatever the f**k I felt like making; there was no reason I couldn't make it," she shared.
Putting bipolar episodes to paper in the form of music seems to be therapeutic for the singer. And ICYDK, music therapy is an evidence-based practice, one that can help people process trauma, anxiety, grief, and more, Molly Warren, MM, LPMT, MT-BC wrote in a blog post for the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
"Anyone can create lyrics that reflect their own thoughts and experiences, and select instruments and sounds that best reflect the emotion behind the lyrics," Warren wrote. In other words, you don't have to be a Billboard Music Award winner to benefit from this type of therapy. The process is meant to help validate your emotions, build self-worth, and even instill a sense of pride, as you can look at the final product and realize that you were able to make something positive out of something negative, explained Warren. (Related: Halsey Revealed She Quit Nicotine After Smoking for 10 Years)
While listening to your favorite tune can lift your spirits, and channeling your feelings into song lyrics can be extremely therapeutic, music therapy cannot replace other forms of therapy (i.e. cognitive behavioral therapy, talk therapy, etc.) that are often necessary to treat specific mental health issues—a fact that has not been lost on Halsey. She recently opened up about committing herself to a psychiatric hospital on two separate occasions since launching her music career.
"I've said to [my manager], 'Hey, I'm not going to do anything bad right now, but I'm getting to the point where I'm scared that I might, so I need to go figure this out,'" she told Rolling Stone. "It's still happening in my body. I just know when to get in front of it."