JoJo Has Named Her Depression 'Burlinda' and It's Helping Her Cope


Most people have heard the cliche that depression is a dark cloud. Cartoonists have personified depression as companions that follow them around, saying things that bring the main character down. For singer, JoJo, she’s talking back to her depression, which she has not-so-affectionately named Burlinda.

“Sporadically, for years, depression and anxiety have convinced me I’m unworthy of love, patience, (real) self-care, and forgiveness,” JoJo wrote. “Made me question if I’m ‘good enough’ to do anything consistently. Made it hard to follow through and to have healthy long lasting romantic relationships without sabotaging them.”

In a lengthy Instagram post, JoJo said she was taking a week off Instagram to see if it helps her mental health and Burlinda. She did not hold back on calling Burlinda out on her tactics.

There’s no peace inside the anxious mind. Sporadically, for years, depression and anxiety have convinced me I’m unworthy of love, patience, (real) self-care, and forgiveness. Made me question if I’m “good enough” to do anything consistently. Made it hard to follow through and to have healthy long lasting romantic relationships without sabotaging them. This depression/void (which I will now refer to as Burlinda)… is a needy bitch who fuckin hates me (!!) yet demands all my attention whenever she’s around. Maybe she’s been passed down through generations but whatever yo. I’ve allowed Burlinda to take over and tell me who I am one too many times. BACK THE FUCK OFF BURLINDA! You are not about to get in the way of me making my next album!! Okay?! You will not get in the way of me flushing out/finishing other ideas that are close to my heart! In so many ways I’ve invited her to stick around…feeding her instantly gratifying treats that keep her growing… late night food binges, mind altering substances, gossip, sex, comparing my life to what I see my peers doing on social media, etc. These are good distractions in the moment, but overdoing them and losing perspective on what’s real and important contributes to undesired results in the long run. As I consciously decide not to give into her plans for my life, I’m gonna love that bitch from a distance and really work on loving ME from up close. Burlinda, you’re going to have to take several seats. Cuz I’m changing habits that no longer serve me, reclaiming my time, re-evaluating the relationships in my life. Deleting Instagram from my phone for the week to see how it impacts my mental/ emotional state. Somethings gotta change. And it’s gotta start with me. Thank you to my friends, family, therapist, and dream team, for always being there for me through mood swings, celebrations, breakdowns, peaks, and valleys. Thank you to my FANS who I want to be THERE and GREAT for so badly. I love to sing and perform more than anything I’ve ever loved and I’ve always wanted to be the soundtrack to your lives. But sometimes I feel paralyzed. Time for a reset. I deserve me at my best. So do you. Love, Jo

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“[Burlinda] is a needy bitch who fuckin hates me (!!) yet demands all my attention whenever she’s around,” she wrote in her post. “Maybe she’s been passed down through generations but whatever yo. I’ve allowed Burlinda to take over and tell me who I am one too many times. BACK THE FUCK OFF BURLINDA!”

JoJo put her foot down by telling Burlinda she would not get in the way of her working on her ideas and projects that are close to her heart. She’ll also not “feed” Burlinda with unhealthy habits and toxic thoughts.

“In so many ways I’ve invited her to stick around…feeding her instantly gratifying treats that keep her growing… late night food binges, mind altering substances, gossip, sex, comparing my life to what I see my peers doing on social media, etc,” the singer wrote. “These are good distractions in the moment, but overdoing them and losing perspective on what’s real and important contributes to undesired results in the long run.”

JoJo added that she has told Burlinda to “take several seats” because she’s changing her habits and reclaiming her time by focusing on herself. After berating Burlinda, JoJo addressed her fans, telling them she needs to reset because she deserves herself at her best and so do her fans. She also thanked her friends, family, therapist and others for being there for her through “mood swings, celebrations, breakdowns, peaks, and valleys.”

If you’ve ever dealt with depression, it can be easy to feel taken over by it and hard to separate it from who you really are. Detaching depression, specifically negative thoughts, is a form of mindfulness that may help you separate negative thoughts from who you are (i.e. I’m worthless, I’m incompetent). Annie Wright, licensed marriage and family therapist and Mighty contributor, told The Mighty objectifying depression can be beneficial, adding:

When someone is able to create some distance between themselves and their depression whereby they no longer fully identify as the depression themselves but rather can see depression as something separate that is a part of them or that is happening to them but yet not wholly them — this is a positive step. In objectifying the depression — whether this is in the form of visualizing the depression as a black raincloud that hangs over their head or a little gremlin that sits on their shoulder or, in the case of JoJo, as a separate entity named Burlinda — the individual can often begin to speak of, address and self-reflect on their depression more skillfully than if they were still identified solely as the depression.

While this may be beneficial for some, Wright, as well as licensed psychotherapist Quinn Gee, said it may not be suitable for others. Gee told The Mighty this technique probably wouldn’t work for people who experience psychosis along with their depression or another co-occurring disorder.

“In particular, this approach may not be useful for someone who, instead of feeling a greater level of distance and control in managing their depression through naming it, begins instead to over-identify with or even romanticize the depression, thereby undermining the intent of the intervention to create more space and objectivity by naming it,” Wright said.

If thinking of your depression as a separate entity isn’t helpful for you, that’s OK too. This is what JoJo finds useful right now along with taking steps to change her habits and give herself space from social media.

Photo via Instagram


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