Last month, James Blake expressed his qualms about being labeled as a “sad boy” over the years for conveying his struggles and emotions through his music in a statement on Twitter. This past weekend, the English artist further addressed his ongoing battle with depression and anxiety while speaking at the annual symposium for the Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA) in Orange County, Calif.
During the panel, Blake explained how his mental issues began to develop when Blake started touring during the early stage of his career at a time where he felt he was “half-formed.” In addition to feeling more disconnected from people while on the road, his eating habits changed which contributed to his internal unraveling.
“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.”
Blake also emphasized that he does not believe suffering is essential in order to fuel creativity. Instead, he turns to EMDR therapy—which Billboard describes as “an experimental treatment that uses physical triggers like rapid eye movement to ‘reprocess traumatic memories”—as a method to deal with problems.
“There is this myth that you have to be anxious to be creative, that you have to be depressed to be a genius,” he said. “I can truly say that anxiety has never helped me create. And I’ve watched it destroy my friends’ creative process too.”
He also credited his girlfriend, actress Jameela Jamil as a major support system and concluded that “a lot of catharsis just came in telling lots of people to fuck off.” He adds, “And saying no. Saying no to constant touring. No [amount of] money will ever be enough.”
“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,” he said. “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.”
In other news, Damon Albarn claims that Kanye West “trapped” Paul McCartney into a collaboration. Get all the details here.