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Imagine Dragons' Dan Reynolds Talks Depression Mid-Song at MSG Show

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On Tuesday night, to a crowd of 20,000 people at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Imagine Dragons’ lead singer Dan Reynolds took a moment mid-song to talk honestly about depression.

“I want to say one thing tonight,” Reynolds said in the middle of his band’s hit song, “Demons”:

We have a stigmatization in our society today that is hurting our youth, even killing our youth. We cannot hide the fact that we all need help. It is not a broken thing to be depressed. We have a stigmatization upon depression, anxiety, and a therapist. I have a therapist. It does not make me broken. It does not make me weak. I was diagnosed with depression. It does not make me broken. It does not make me weak. There are many people out there tonight who are holding it into themselves, not talking to their friends, their parents. If available to you, a therapist — don’t hold it in, talk to somebody. You are not broken. I understand the grayness. I understand the numbness. It gets better. There is light up ahead. And above all, your life is always worth living. Always. Always. Always. Always. You are not broken.

Reynolds has never shied away from addressing the dark side of his mental health. For years the Las Vegas native struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts. “It came to a point where I didn’t have an option,” he told the BBC in July 2017. “It was lose my family and lose my life, or seek help.”

In 2017, Reynolds founded the LOVELOUD Foundation to benefit LGBTQ+ youth. “LGBTQ+ youth in unaccepting homes and communities are eight times more likely to [die by] suicide and three times more likely to engage in risky drug use,” the foundation’s website reads. This July, the LOVELOUD music festival will take place in Salt Lake City with ticket sale proceeds benefiting local and national LGBTQ charities.

On Monday, June 25, Reynolds’ HBO documentary “Believer,” which follows his work to bridge the gap between his Mormon faith and the LGBTQ+ community.

“Religious leaders can speak all day about how much they ‘love’ our LGBTQ youth,” Reynolds wrote in a love letter to fans as part of Billboard’s Pride Month project. “But until they change their dangerous doctrine that implies or states that LGBTQ youth are living in ‘sin’ when acting upon their sexuality, they are contributing towards increased depression and anxiety in the lives of our LGBTQ youth as well as suicide.”

Reynolds has also been open about his chronic illnesses, ankylosing spondylitis and ulcerative colitis. In April he tweeted that he plans to update fans on the trials and errors of his pain management treatments:

To those writers who have bullied and body shamed me throughout the years because I am an ‘artist’ and am supposed to fit some image you have in mind of the typical ‘rockstar’ — shame on you. I honestly hope you never have to deal with chronic pain — though it would certainly make you think twice before judging another’s way of life, especially when you have no idea of the details of their struggle.

I do this so you can hopefully find the mental and physical relief that I am finding through years of trial and error. Or, you can completely disregard it. I am no professional, but I do believe in sharing personal details of my life with this platform I have been given to hopefully spread awareness and bring something of worth to the world.

Image via Creative Commons/GabboT

Originally published: June 20, 2018
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