This 'Hint' Let Hayley Williams Know Her Mental Health Wasn't OK


Sometimes, mental illness can sneak up on us. One second we’re minding our business, and the next it seems like everything is wrong. But even when it feels like this, little hints may appear before seemingly slapping us in the face. Other times, it’s only in hindsight that we see these warning signs.

Paramore’s Hayley Williams revealed the hint that told her something was wrong in a new essay she wrote for Paper Magazine. Though she didn’t realize at the time, a set of lyrics were the first subconscious sign that she wasn’t OK.

In 2015, Williams wrote the lyrics, “Sanity, why must you make a fool of me/ You been a friend to me, now I think we’re enemies/ When I fall on my knees I hear you laughing/ When I call on your name, you don’t come.” They were for a song the band never finished.

She wrote for Paper that this was the only sign before the metaphorical crash of a piano falling out of a window and on top of her.

“I woke up from that crash with one less bandmate… another fight about money and who wrote what songs,” Williams wrote. “And I had a wedding ring on, despite breaking off the engagement only months before. A lot happened within a short time. But then I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep, I didn’t laugh… for a long time.”

We wanted to know what warning signs other people had that let them know they weren’t OK, so we asked our mental health community about their first “hint.” If any of this sounds familiar or you’re just now realizing your “hints,” know that you aren’t alone.

Here’s what the community had to say:

1. “I couldn’t let go of simple mistakes. And then in areas where I really felt like I messed up, I would keep replaying it my head, and continuously condescend myself on how I could’ve down better, and why I’m not good enough.” — Lauren R.

2. “I had a meltdown over a box of Goldfish because Goldfish smile, and I didn’t want to smile. That was the first time I recognized that I might need help.” -Jessica T.

3. “The very first ‘hint’ was when I stopped enjoying activities that I loved. I didn’t go to them anymore, and I started to feel ‘judged’ by everyone around me. I started getting shaky and started panicking when I was at school or even with my family. I hated going anywhere.” — Lauren P.

4. “I never used to take naps. I found myself exhausted and mentally drained, low energy, and not wanting to do anything but take naps. When I would wake up, I felt like I could sleep the day/night away. I didn’t want to ‘feel.'” — Candice A.

5. “The belief I have in myself and my abilities takes a dive. It’s the difference of confidently facing challenges to feeling I can’t do anything right.” -Kate J.

6. “I didn’t want to go to school, and I would cry every morning before going. I would do anything to get out of school. And I was very disorganized, and I would lose things and forget to do important stuff like homework. This made school even more stressful and became a feedback loop.” -Matthew Z.

7. “I would be unable to sleep every night, tossing and turning until 5 am at age 12-13 and my anger would come on quickly and without warning.” — Erin H.

8. “The color in the world around me either fades to grey, or explodes with overwhelmingly vibrant colors. I’ve always suffered from depression, but I was diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder last year.  I knew when a depressive episode was coming because the color in the world around me would slowly fade, and everything would seem and feel grey. When I had my first manic episode, everything around me exploded with such vibrant color, like nothing I’d ever seen before. Now that I’m stable, the colors around me are still vibrant and beautiful, but it’s not overwhelming or visually draining.” — Justine A.

9. “I continuously felt like I was lazy and good-for-nothing. I obsessed over how I needed to replace all the time and resources I was ‘leeching’ from my family. I felt like a waste of space and a waste of time.” — Jacinta M.


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