Singer-songwriter Bebe Rexha spoke candidly about living with bipolar disorder in an interview with Self magazine published on Tuesday.
Rexha, the magazine’s March cover star, opened up to writer Zahra Barnes about the freedom she felt in coming to terms with her mental health and revealing her diagnosis to the world.
“I think it’s made me a very insightful person,” Rexha said in a filmed interview on the magazine’s YouTube channel. “I think me having a lot of highs and lows has taught me about patience and people and has been able to make me a better artist.”
In April, Rexha announced via Twitter her diagnosis with bipolar disorder, USA Today reports.
“I just decided to do it because I was like, ‘I’m not going to be imprisoned by my thoughts that I’m not normal or that I’m crazy,'” Rexha told Self. “That’s bullshit.”
In her interview with Self, Rexha said she has bipolar I disorder. Bipolar I “can cause dramatic mood swings” and contain extreme highs and lows “with periods of normal moods in between these episodes,” according to the American Psychiatric Association.
About 20% of U.S. adults dealt with mental illness in 2018, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, with bipolar disorder seen in about 3% of the population, or 7 million people.
After the Self interview was published, fans applauded Rexha for sharing her experience in such a high-profile way.
In the interview, Barnes details a belief within the music industry that “taking psychiatric medication will make it harder to create your art.” But Rexha said her reality of taking medication disputes the trope.
“[Medication has] maybe helped me be a little bit more insightful and learn things about the world and also allowed me to be a little bit more centered so that I can actually write about my feelings,” Rexha told Barnes.
Rexha also teased lyrics of her upcoming track “Break My Heart Myself,” a song that dives into the complexities of mental health.
Throughout her mental health journey, Rexha has shared her struggles online numerous times, showcasing the ups and downs.
“This is about helping that one boy or girl or man or women or non binary person, not feel so alone when they are going through rough times because of their mental state,” Rexha said in a recent Instagram caption. “There is still a stigma associated with mental illness and mental healthcare and hopefully I can help to make a small change.”
Read her full interview at Self magazine.