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This past weekend - Friday June 24th - I got to see Halsey at the Shoreline with my two best friends. To be clear, Halsey was AMAZING! But the venue was shitty...

I was prepared. I brought my handicapped placard and researched the venue before going. I purchased tickets online that said handicapped accessible tickets with a companion so I got the seat with a handicap and companion seat and also the seat next to the companion - three tickets in total. A week before the concert I checked again to be sure there was handicap parking and indeed it said handicapped parking available.

The day of the concert we got to the venue, and parking was a mess. We asked eight parking attendents where handicapped parking was, and they just pointed - and didn’t say anything. We finally parked but it wasn’t handicapped parking. The parking lot was uneven and gravely and not paved, which is kinda difficult when you're in a wheelchair. We got out of the car to assemble my wheelchair.

We had to walk a little ways to get to the venue. On our way over, we saw the parking lot where all the handicapped parking was. Austin asked one of the staff members if we could park there and she said yes just ask one of the shuttles to shuttle you back to your car and put his hazard lights on. But, once Austin got his car but yet another staff member said he couldn’t park there, and made him go back to his original parking spot. It was confusing and disorganized, as if people at Shoreline aren’t used to disabled people coming to concerts with their friends at all.

If people get treated like I did, that’s kind of not surprising.

We got to the venue and they wanted to do a bag check - including looking at the bag where I carried my catheters. It seemed like too much of an invasion of privacy, so I left the bag in the car… It turned out that the bathrooms (porta-potties) weren’t wheelchair accessible anyway… even though they were supposed to be.

We got to the gate to scan our tickets. I asked where the accessible section was. They just pointed and said on the other side of the theater. It turned out that the seats we had that were supposedly handicap accessible …weren’t. My friends Austin and Brooke talked to one of the staff and told them the situation. The staff member looked obviously irritated, pulled all three of us aside and radioed her supervisor. Austin was still talking to the staff member still telling her the situation and then she made a finger gesture telling him to be quiet.

Her supervisor came and after hearing the details, she looked at me and asked, “Can you walk down eight steps?” I said no. Then she asked “What if one of your friends carried you down?”

I …couldn’t even believe they asked me that. I was born with a birth defect. I have spina bifida. My spine was formed outside the skin, and my nerves weren’t formed in my legs. Right after I was born, doctors had to put my spine back into my body. I can’t feel below my knees, so I'm paraplegic. I don’t expect strangers to know my whole history but… I was in a wheelchair and I bought handicap accessible tickets. Why was she asking me that?

I turned and looked at Austin and Brooke and I just shook my head.

The staff lady rolled her eyes and sighed. Then she said, “Let me see what I can do.

Eventually we got to our seats, and they were accessible, but they were segregated off in the corner.

And I don’t know how I feel - maybe disappointed? It's a RARE moment when I’m feeling really good about navigating as a disabled person in public spaces. It is also RARE to get to hang out with my best friends. I go to dialysis three times a week, and right now I don’t work, so the tickets were an expensive treat. Most of the time I’m feeling tired and sh*tty, but on Friday, I felt good - it was going to be a good night.

And Shoreline ruined it.

…But Halsey was AMAZING!

Halsey's Fight for a Diagnosis is an Example of Medical Gaslighting

Have you ever gone to the doctor telling them that you didn’t feel OK, only for them to dismiss you and to then find out that you were right and they were wrong the whole time? If so, you’ll definitely be able to relate to pop star Halsey, who has been recently diagnosed with the four conditions Ehlers-Danlos syndrome , Sjogren’s syndrome, mast cell activation syndrome and POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome). On their Instagram story, they wrote: “I just want to clarify, for the benefit of friends of friends who may have any of the diagnoses that I recently shared, I didn’t ‘just get sick’ I’ve been sick. For a long time. My sicknesses just have their names now. I went to doctors for 8 years. Trying to figure out what was wrong with me. I was called crazy and anxious and lazy amongst other things. I changed my entire lifestyle.” If you’ve ever had to fight for a diagnosis or medical answer, you know exactly what they’re talking about. Medical gaslighting is so rampant , and oftentimes it leads to people getting sicker, and sometimes even death. Once you throw in different intersections and racial/gender bias in the medical field, it gets worse. A study published in Academic Emergency Medicine revealed that even though they shared the same symptoms as men, women who went to the emergency room for treatment for stomach pains endured 33% longer wait times. (Source: Northwell Health Interview) I genuinely wonder how much quicker Halsey’s conditions would have had names if they were taken more seriously when they first started speaking up? What treatment plans would they already be on if doctors didn’t gaslight them? Now that they know, they’re able to shift their life to accommodate their conditions while also preparing for their new North American tour that’s launching out of West Palm Beach in just a few days. I’m ecstatic that Halsey is able to celebrate receiving their new diagnoses so they can create their medical go plan, but livid that it took eight years for them to receive the proper attention to get said diagnoses, and that’s with the money, notoriety, and privilege that comes with being a global music sensation. For the average person it could be so much worse, as those medical expenses add up. Let Halsey’s story be a shining example as to why we need to take people seriously when they say something isn’t right. It’s hypocritical to say “listen to your bodies” just for you to ignore us when we do

All of the Mental Health References in Halsey's New Album

Halsey is a popular singer who just released their newest album, “If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power.” I have been a fan of Halsey for many years, but in recent years I have found that I connect more to their music and their experience with mental illness, as they have been open about their diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Halsey also goes by “she/they” pronouns, as do I, and I deeply appreciate being able to connect to their experience with mental illness and exploring their gender and sexuality. Halsey’s newest album is more rock/pop-punk than their music usually is, and I am completely in love with it. Each song on “If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power” has such a deeper meaning than meets the eye, and mental health issues are largely wound throughout the album. I found myself in tears after listening to many of Halsey’s songs, which reminded me how powerful and transformative music can be — especially in the mental health community. The following are my interpretations of the mental health references in Halsey’s newest album song by song, and I hope that they will help you to connect to their music on a deeper level. Listening to “If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power” from beginning to end is well worth your time, and I am almost positive it will leave you transformed and understood, as I have. The album is now available on all streaming services. An IMAX hour long film has also been announced to accompany the album. 1. “The Tradition” “The Tradition,” the first song on Halsey’s newest album, is one heck of apowerhouse and had me in tears upon my first listen. Since then, I have listened to this song numerous times and my love for it has only increased. I connected to the lyrics as they mirrored some of my past traumatic experiences and helped me to come to grips with them and feel understood, even though this process has been incredibly painful. Sexual abuse and taking advantage of one’s vulnerabilities are the main themes of this song, as well as possible depression and PTSD. While the song tells a fictional story of a woman possibly in the renaissance period, it is relevant to our times and the “me too” movement. 2. “Bells in Santa Fe” “Bells in Santa Fe,” on the other hand, is a melancholic song that seems to relay astory about a fickle lover who is unable to stay with another for very long, and how they will be gone before the other person is even aware. To me, I felt that this song could be a nod to Halsey’s past relationships and their instability with commitment and struggle with commitment and impulsiveness. 3. “Easier Than Lying” “Easier Than Lying” is an upbeat song, but don’t let that fool you. The song largely references losing a love interest or fans for her music, and how she would rather leave than lie and think that they love her. Depression and abandonment pain are some of the biggest themes in this song. 4. “Lilith” “Lilith” is a song that appears to be about how destructive Halsey can be, and how this behavior often causes them to hurt other people and lose relationships. I found this song to be vulnerable and painful, especially with my experience with having borderline personality disorder and how my strong emotions and impulsive actions can be detrimental to my relationships. 5. “Girl Is a Gun” “Girl Is a Gun” addresses a girl and how she cuts all ties to others because she enjoys being free from others, while also being a wild child. Halsey could be referencing how they felt before becoming a mother, and how they are managing these feelings post-pregnancy. Again, this song could be addressing impulsivity and destruction. 6. “You Asked for This” “You Asked for This” appears to address Halsey’s feelings about becoming who they wanted to become, and doing what they wanted to do, but still feeling unhappy. I found this song to be about depression and exploring the concept of “happiness” and that what we think will make us happy doesn’t always. 7. “Darling” “Darling” is my favorite song next to “The Tradition” as it is a lullaby-esque song for Halsey’s new baby, but it can be a soothing song for anyone. The song is vulnerable and references possible past feelings of suicidal ideation and how they are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and finding happiness. Overall, I felt like this song is a song about hope through the darkness (particularly that of mental illness). 8. “1121” “1121” is a song referencing the date that Halsey found out that they were pregnant, and it discusses Halsey’s positive feelings for their child and being a mother. While the other songs on this album tend to be darker and horror-themed, it is clear that Halsey has found happiness and hope in their child. 9. “Honey” “Honey” addresses Halsey’s sexuality as she identifies as bisexual, and the songlargely focuses on Halsey’s past intimate relationship with a girl. I particularly enjoyed how subtle this song was at addressing sexuality, while also emphasizing how important the relationship was for Halsey and how it has left them with many memories. We can also assume that heartbreak was involved. 10. “Whispers” “Whispers” is a darker song that again seems to reference Halsey’s struggle with love and relationships as well as how her struggles with her mental health and maintaining stability. I connected deeply to this song because I felt like my experience with mental illness was intimately portrayed, and Halsey did well at describing how difficult handling mental illness is for those who might not understand. 11. “I am Not a Woman, I’m a God” “I am Not a Woman, I’m a God” is another emotionally painful song that addresses sexuality and how women who are seen as sexual are seen as being “unfit” for motherhood, while those who appear “motherly” are seen as not having sexual appeal. I personally liked how this song explored both ends of the spectrum and how difficult it is to grasp the transition to motherhood and how the way society views motherhood affects self-image. 12. “The Lighthouse” “The Lighthouse” is another lyrical song that tells a story that I connected toHalsey’s experience with bipolar disorder, rage and relationships with men.  Throughout the song we hear Halsey singing about various experiences with men and telling the story from the perspective of a siren (which are said to lure sailors to their deaths). I enjoyed this horror element which helped us to see deeper into Halsey’s inner experience. 13. “Ya’aburnee” “Ya’aburnee,” the last track on Halsey’s new album, comes off as more of a song meant for her new child and her current relationship. My interpretation of the song was that Halsey was singing about how deeply they are connected to their child and their partner and how those strong feelings have led them to being unable to be without them. Overall, “If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power” is a horror themed work of art thatexpertly intertwines elements of mental health and illness with Halsey’s experience of becoming a mother. Each song is open to interpretation by the listener, but I hope that my insights help you to absorb more of the beauty in each of Halsey’s songs. I am so thankful to have found an artist who connects with mental health and illness so well.

Why Halsey's Photo of Her 'Lowest Point' Was Met With Backlash

On Monday, December 28th, pop superstar Halsey posted an Instagram photo of herself  in response to a fan’s request to share a photo “from [her] lowest point.”  The “Graveyard” singer, 26, who shared the photo on her Instagram story, captioned the photograph “TW: ED, ask for help,” referencing her past struggles with an eating disorder. The photo sparked controversy because many of Halsey’s fans believed that she hadn’t provided enough of a trigger warning for the sensitive photo.  Halsey has since deleted the photograph and issued an apology via Twitter, writing, “I am very sorry for posting a photo of myself depicting my struggle with ED without a sufficient trigger warning.”  She continued, “I was very nervous to post it and didn’t think properly. I had positive intentions. I would never want to harm someone who shares my struggle.”  She then tweeted that she was going to “log off [Twitter]” because she wasn’t “emotionally equipped to handle” the response to the photo. TW: disordered eatingI am very sorry for posting a photo of myself depicting my struggle with ED without a sufficient trigger warning. I was very nervous to post it and didn’t think properly. I had positive intentions. I would never want to harm someone who shares my struggle.— h (@halsey) December 28, 2020 Though Halsey deleted her photo after criticism for posting herself at a low moment of her eating disorder. Some may feel that her decision to honestly share her lowest point with her fans was courageous.  Although celebrities have become increasingly open about their struggles with eating disorders, it’s still relatively rare for stars to share their eating disorder experiences.  The stigma that eating disorders and other mental health conditions carry prevents many from opening up and seeking treatment, and it’s magnified for celebrities with large fan bases.  Halsey’s candor about her eating disorder could inspire her fans to share their challenges with disordered eating and body image and possibly even seek life-changing help for their eating disorder behaviors. However, how we spread eating disorder awareness is important, and there’s a reason why the National Association of Eating Disorders warns against sharing what’s known as “before” photos. Body comparison is a common struggle for those with eating disorders, and someone with an eating disorder may use others’ thin bodies to determine their own worthiness of help.  Those with distorted body image may also see photos like Halsey’s and emulate her fragile appearance, even if they’re already at a dangerous weight for their body type.  Seeing these types of photos as someone in recovery can increase a wide variety of eating disorder behaviors, especially if they see a similar photo posted without any type of trigger warning beforehand. Halsey’s decision to apologize to her fans was important– it solidified that she understands that posting eating disorder “before” photos without a clear trigger warning can harm those who struggle.  The feelings of nervousness she mentioned in her apology reflect the stigma that surrounds eating disorders and the split-second decision she may have made about her fans’ potential triggers.  But even though Halsey didn’t have ill intent when she posted the photo, she could have included some reputable resources for those who battle eating disorders so that her fans could have a safe way to cope with any unexpected distress they may have faced. Halsey’s photo begs an important question: What should eating disorder awareness actually look like? Ideally, eating disorder awareness advocates should share their personal stories and emphasize that eating disorders can affect anyone but refrain from sharing specific numbers, sizes or weights. Those wishing to spread eating disorder awareness should be mindful of common triggers for people in recovery and keep stories and posts as trigger-free as possible or include trigger warnings above their posts.  With this approach in mind, people who want to share their recovery stories can do so in a safe, edifying way– and the people they connect with will feel supported in their own recoveries.

Karen Veazey

Halsey Calls out People Making Jokes About Bipolar Disorder

Singer Halsey has never shied away from talking about living with bipolar disorder and now she’s urging compassion for everyone living with mental illness. In a series of tweets posted early on Tuesday she spoke up about bipolar disorder and manic episodes, calling on fans to withhold jokes about mental illness. The singer was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in high school and spent several weeks in the hospital following a suicide attempt. She signed the tweets “Sincerely, Human Being with a Decade Long Bipolar Diagnosis.” I have dedicated my career to offering education and insight about bipolar disorder and I’m so disturbed by what I’m seeing. Personal opinions about someone aside, a manic episode isn’t a joke. If you can’t offer understanding or sympathy, offer your silence. — Halsey A lot of people you know probably have bipolar disorder and you aren’t aware of it. Taking this opportunity to make offensive remarks and villify people with mental illnesses is really not the way to go…this is the exact triggering shit that causes people to keep quiet about it— h (@halsey) July 21, 2020 The Frontlines: Halsey’s comments point out a real issue with stigma that exists for the mental health community. She highlighted the difference between finding fault with someone’s actions and judging the person themselves. “You can hate someone’s actions or opinions without contributing to stigma that damages an entire community of sometimes vulnerable people all for a couple of laughs.” Leaving aside easy jokes about mental illness was part of Halsey’s message. One study found that stigma can lead to discrimination in the form of withholding help, avoidance, coercive treatment or segregation of people with mental illnesses To fight self-stigma, don’t equate people with their condition. Instead of saying “They’re bipolar,” say “They have bipolar disorder” 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experience mental illness in any given year. That accounts for about 47 million people. About 43% of them will seek treatment, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness A Mighty Voice: Our contributor Meera Vandegrift wrote about the casual use of mental health terms in conversation and the effect they can have on people who actually live with those conditions. “My bipolar is not a “B” word, not a word to throw around callously to categorize cruel people or explain egregious behavior. It’s not a dirty word, an insult or an excuse. It’s a part of me, a battle that myself and millions of others stand firmly on the front lines to manage and control. It’s not a mark of shame or a death sentence.” You can submit your first-person story, too . Get more on bipolar disorder: Sign up for our weekly bipolar disorder newsletter. Add Your Voice: Other things to know: Living with a mental health diagnosis can be easier when we feel like we’ve found a community of people who understand. Read what others have experienced and how they navigate stigma in their own corner of the world: Why I Didn’t Wear My ‘Bipolar’ Necklace for a Year When a Doctor Told Me I Was ‘Faking’ My Mental Health Crisis What Working in the ER (With a Mental Illness) Has Shown Me About Stigma When I Spoke Up as a Mental Health Advocate and Got the Most Amazing Response How to take action: According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness the first step to fighting mental illness stigma is talking openly about mental health. That can be hard, especially if you’re talking about your own story, but there are other steps to take too. Be conscious of language. Encourage equity between physical and mental illnesses. Let the media know they’re being stigmatizing. And fight off self-stigmatizing behaviors like shame. To see NAMI’s whole list of recommendations visit its website.

16 Songs You Might Not Know Are About Mental Illness

Language often fails us when it comes to describing mental illness. The range and intensity of conditions such as anxiety and depression can’t always be captured in words. And it can be hard to communicate your thoughts and needs to others — or even yourself — in a world that lacks a vocabulary for mental pain and wellness. Fortunately, where words fall short, music can often help bridge the gap. Many artists understand intimately what it’s like to live with a mental health condition, and have done their best to communicate that experience through song. Music written from a mental health perspective can help you articulate experiences for which there are no words. It can distract you or lift your spirits in difficult times. And it can serve as a powerful reminder that no matter what you’re going through, you’re not alone. Below, we’ve put together a list of 16 songs by artists who live with a mental health condition. What songs help you through tough times? Let us know in the comments. Here are 16 songs about mental illness: 1. “Breathe Me” by Sia Sia wrote her breakout song, “Breathe Me,” the night she attempted suicide in 2004. A close friend had died unexpectedly some time ago — “my first big loss, you know?” she told Rolling Stone — and Sia had been grappling with addiction and suicidal thoughts for months after. Fortunately, she survived the attempt. The next time she seriously contemplated ending her life, a friend reached out to her. As she pressed her phone to her cheek and heard her friend’s voice, Sia realized she might still have something to live for. “In that moment, I thought, ‘There’s a world out there and I’m not a part of it. But I might like to be,’” she said. 2. “Skyscraper” by Demi Lovato As she was recording “Skyscraper” in 2011, Demi Lovato sat “doubled over, just in pain,” according to MTV. She was living with bipolar disorder and bulimia. She was self-harming and self-medicating. She had been struggling with suicidal thoughts since she was 7 years old. And she had never breathed a word about it to anyone. “I remember thinking, ‘This is kind of my cry for help’ back then, because I hadn’t spoken to anyone about these issues,” she told Cosmopolitan. Every image in the music video is symbolic of something. She unwinds a black cloth from around her shoulders to lift away “the toxicity that took over my mind for so long, that oozed out of every pore that I had.” She walks on glass, showing her commitment to continuing on in spite of the pain it will cause her. Lovato said the song represents everything she wants people to learn from her story: the power of “getting help and rising above.” 3. “Anxiety” by Julia Michaels (feat. Selena Gomez) Julia Michaels started having anxiety when she was 18 years old. “I thought I was dying,” she wrote for Glamour. “Most days I couldn’t breathe or leave the fetal position.” Anxiety pervades the way that Michaels lives and performs. So it makes sense that anxiety should color her hit song, “Issues,” and later inspire “Anxiety,” a song she created with Selena Gomez about living with mental illness. In the song, released in 2019, Michaels shares her experiences with anxiety, from the terrifying to the everyday. The duo wanted to validate others who struggle with anxiety. “[We] liked the idea of doing a song together where we’re talking about our relationship with anxiety,” Michaels told Billboard. “We’re saying, ‘Hey, we have anxiety, but we’re OK with it.’” 4. “Gasoline” by Halsey Halsey was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after trying to take her own life at age 17. Since receiving her diagnosis, Halsey has spoken out against the often-romanticized view of bipolar disorder people have. “It’s not all painting at four o’ clock in the morning and road trips and fucking great things,” she told Elle. “Sometimes it’s throwing things and, like, getting hurt.” In “ Gasoline,” a single on her 2015 album “Badlands,” Halsey sets her often painful experiences with bipolar disorder to pulsing, electric sound. She sings of buying a “hundred dollar bottle of champagne” only to pour it down the drain, sopping up the mess with her water bill. She speaks of the sidelong glances she gets from strangers on the train, of whispers that she “shouldn’t waste her pretty face.” She relates the feeling of being a “fucking hurricane,” of being “high enough” without any drug. “Are you deranged like me? Are you strange like me?” she sings. “I think there’s a flaw in my code… My heart is gold and my hands are cold.” 5. “____45_____” by Bon Iver A few years after the release of his sophomore album, “Bon Iver, Bon Iver,” Justin Vernon — the band’s founder and lead singer — retreated to the Greek island of Santorini to “go into myself a little bit,” he told the Guardian. He was experiencing “mental stuff,” he said, and needed to be alone for a while. The fifth day into his visit to the island, he had a panic attack. “It was like: ‘Oh my God, my chest is caving in, what the fuck is going on?’” he said. He drifted from one empty off-season hotel to the next, unable to shake the “completely depressing” feeling that hounded him. Later, he would return to the States, receive a depression diagnosis and begin treatment. While on the island, he wrote. His album, “22, A Million,” released in 2016, is jarring, a far cry from the sweet, love-lorn notes of his earlier work. It’s tinged with the uncertainty he felt during his lost days on Santorini, an uncertainty that had suddenly become dangerous. In “____45_____,” Vernon speaks of being “carved in fire… caught in fire,” an analogy he may be using to describe his anxiety. 6. “Quiet” by MILCK Connie Lim, better known as MILCK, is a survivor of sexual assault, anorexia and depression. Her song, “Quiet,” is a powerful anthem about finding strength in the wake of trauma. As the song opens, Lim speaks softly of the messages she absorbed as a young girl — “put on your face, know your place, shut up and smile,” she sings.  Gradually, a shift occurs in the song. Lim begins to say, “I can’t keep quiet,” testing the words in her mouth, and repeats it again and again. It took Lim years to speak openly about what happened to her. She told USA Today that she often felt triggered from the pain of re-telling her story. Even after releasing “Quiet,” Lim continued to struggle with the courage she sets forth in the song. “‘Quiet’ was a song that I wasn’t fully yet. But as I keep singing the song, I keep becoming more of it,” she said. 7. “breathin’” by Ariana Grande Ariana Grande has always been open about her struggles with mental illness. She once told Vogue,“My anxiety has anxiety. I’ve always had anxiety.” The day she sat down to write her chart-topping single “breathin,’” her anxiety was so bad she could hardly breathe. “We were in the studio, we were writing and I was like, ‘Ugh, I can’t breathe,’” she told Jimmy Fallon. Her writers, however, pressed her to come up with a song, so she wrote about the only thing she could think about at the time. “‘breathin’ is about breathing… like, when you’re anxious,” she said. “You know, when you can’t get a full breath? It’s like the worst feeling in the whole world.” 8. “The Last” by Agust D (also known as Suga) Suga, lead rapper for the K-pop band BTS, once told Billboard, “Everyone in the world is lonely and everyone is sad… I hope we [BTS] can create an environment where we can ask for help, and say things are hard when they’re hard, and say we miss someone when we miss them.” In this interview Suga was referring to Jonghyun, a member of another popular K-pop band called SHINee, who had just died by suicide. Those who knew him — including Suga — were devastated by the loss. Suga identified with Jonghyun’s struggle in part because he had been there himself. In “The Last,” Suga raps about living with OCD, depression and social anxiety. He raps about a trip to the psych ward with his baffled parents and of a day he lay curled in the bathroom, hiding “because [he] was scared of people.” In speaking openly about his struggles in his music, he hopes to make it easier for others to seek help when they need it. 9. “Breaking Down” by Florence + the Machine Though her song, “Breaking Down,” sounds upbeat, Florence Welch shared in an interview with the LA Times the song is actually about depression. In the song, she likens depression to what it was like to experience fear in childhood. “[‘Breaking Down’] was one of those songs that I just started humming and then the words came out,” she said. “These images of fear that you have as a child, something in the room, something for a child to fear, and then as an adult, that being there too as a creeping depression. It’s something quite sinister, but also something quite familiar.” It’s common to feel like depression is too close for comfort — something that feels like it’s part of you. This is a theme that continues throughout the song. “All alone, it was always there you see,” she sings in the song. “Even on my own, it was always standing next to me… I’ve always known there was something to be frightened of.” 10. “Unwell” by Matchbox Twenty Rob Thomas, the lead singer of Matchbox 20, had his first panic attack soon after his mother died. “The first time, I thought it was a heart attack,” he told Rolling Stone. His anxiety was exacerbated by the public life his career demanded of him. “You’d do things where you’re out and amongst, and I was never really comfortable,” he wrote for Genius. In spite of the overwhelming success of his albums, he felt constantly “unsure” of himself and his surroundings. For Thomas, “Unwell” was the beginning of a long reckoning with his anxiety and insecurities — one he hopes will lead to feeling confident and “comfortable in my own skin.” It’s a song, he says, for people who are “messed up and feel alone like that. We all feel a little messed up sometimes… you’re not alone.” 11. “Something Vague” by Bright Eyes “[Depression] is something I’ve always s truggled with,” Conor Oberst, also known as Bright Eyes, told blogger Mariko Sakamoto. His song, “Something Vague,” presents the listener with a world that is wispy and insubstantial. In the song, Oberst describes feeling “not really sure what you’re doing this for,” of doing things for no other reason than to “fill up the days / A few more hours.” He’s listless, dreaming nightly of hanging suspended in midair “with nothing holding me,” picked over by the “starving” eyes of strangers. As the song draws to a close, he wonders aloud: “Is this death really you? / Do these dreams have any meaning?” Emma Garland, a assistant editor for VICE UK, says that the song captures her experience of depression perfectly. “It speaks to the extremely boring and incredibly lifeless effect of depression that sucks all purpose out of reality,” she wrote. “Depression will always arrive formless and heavy.” 12. “Happy” by P!nk In “Happy,” P!nk expresses a deep-seated unhappiness and doubts her own worth. “Can somebody find me a pill to make me unafraid of me?” she sings. In the song, she fervently rejects the idea of seeking therapy, insisting that she should self-medicate instead: “It’s easier than healing.” P!nk wonders, at intervals, whether her resistance to getting help springs from a deep-seated fear of change, or even of happiness itself. “I’m scared of being somebody new,” she sings. “Every time I try I always stop me.” P!nk’s song was likely inspired by her mental health struggles in real life. “I’ve been depressed, I have anxiety,” she shared on “Today”. “I overthink everything.” She manages her anxiety by going to therapy and surrounding herself with people who understand her needs. “I think talking about it is the most important thing.” 13. “Heavy” by Linkin Park (feat. Kiiara) Chester Bennington, frontman of Linkin Park, died by suicide on July 20th, 2017. On February 16th of the same year, he released one of his last singles, “Heavy.” In the song, Bennington and vocalist Kiiara sang of the difficulties that can come with staying alive day-to-day. “I’m holding on,” the song goes. “Why is everything so heavy?” In “Heavy,” Bennington sings of a mind at war with itself. “I don’t like my mind right now,” he begins. “Stacking up problems that are so unnecessary.” He wishes he could “slow down” the pace of things, but can’t allow himself to let go: “there’s comfort in the panic,” he sings. Linkin Park bassist Dave Farell paid tribute to Bennington in the wake of his death, writing, “He was an enthusiastic, playful father, an honest, passionate musician, and a loyal friend,” according to People. If you’re struggling, please know that you are not alone. If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741. 14. “A Better Son/Daughter” by Rilo Kiley In “A Better Son/Daughter,” Rilo Kiley lead singer Jenny Lewis speaks of how difficult it can be to get out of bed in the morning when depressed. “Sometimes in the morning, I am petrified and can’t move,” she sings. “Awake but cannot open my eyes.” Lewis herself has been battling depression since she was eight years old. “I’ve gone through terrible periods of depression,” she told the Independent. “I’ve always felt lonely, even if I’m in a great relationship, or surrounded by friends and family.” Her song concludes on a high note, however — reflecting Lewis’ own off-beat brand of hope. “At the core of my being, there’s a strange, out-of-place optimist,” she confessed. “You’ll fight and you’ll make it through, you’ll fake it if you have to,” she sings. “You’ll be happy.” 15. “Black-Eyed Dog” by Nick Drake Winston Churchill is said to have referred to his depression as a “black dog.” In “Black-Eyed Dog,” written just a short while before his death by suicide, Nick Drake does the same. “A black-eyed dog he knew my name,” he croons to the gentle twang of guitar strings. “A black-eyed dog he called at my door.” Because mental illness was so stigmatized at the time (1970-74), Drake’s depression did not get the sustained treatment and attention it needed, though his parents and sister tended to him as best they knew how. He was just 26 years old when he died. If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, you are not alone. If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741. 16. “Rainbow” by Kesha Kesha wrote her album (and single of the same name), “Rainbow,” while in rehab for an eating disorder she described as “wildly out of control.” In the treatment facility, Kesha wasn’t allowed any technology — including instruments — but she begged for a keyboard and a “crappy” pair of headphones from the staff, who gave her access for one hour every day. “Every day I sat on the floor and played,” she wrote in an article for Refinery 29. “Every day I would just cry and play that song because I knew I had to get through that incredibly hard time.” Kesha believes her “Rainbow” album saved her life. She considers the album her personal promise to change, learn, take care of and love herself. She hopes listeners will also learn to see their own worth. “No matter what you’ve been through… it doesn’t have to define who you are,” she wrote. “It’s true for me and it can be true for others, too.” We hope some of these songs resonated with you. For more songs that have helped people living with mental health conditions, check out the following stories from our community. If you want to connect with our musical community, follow #MightyMusic. 21 Songs People With Anxiety and Depression Recommend 12 Linkin Park Songs That Have Helped People Through Dark Times 32 Songs That Have Helped People With PTSD Through Dark Times

Halsey and The Chainsmokers Honor Avicii at the Billboard Music Awards

Sunday night at the Billboard Music Awards, before announcing the winner of the Top Hot 100 Song, singer Halsey and EDM duo The Chainsmokers took a few minutes to honor Avicii — a Swedish EDM DJ who died last month. Though a statement was never released by police confirming his cause of death, a statement from Avicii’s family alluded to suicide. “Before we get to the next award, we’d like to take a moment and talk about our friend Avicii,” said Alex Pall of The Chainsmokers. His bandmate Andrew Taggart continued: His passing was a great loss for the music world and for us. He was an artist who inspired so many in so many ways. And simply put, he meant so much to us and everyone in the EDM community. Halsey, who lives with bipolar disorder, said Avicii was a joy to work with, which made his passing that much more painful. “It’s a reminder to all of us to be there and to support and love all of our friends and family members who may be struggling with mental health issues,” she said. Nothing but love for Avicii from @TheChainsmokers & @halsey as they present the #BBMAs for Top Hot 100 Song. ???? pic.twitter.com/k89czVBrih— Billboard Music Awards (@BBMAs) May 21, 2018 Later in the night, when The Chainsmokers accepted an award for  Top Dance/Electronic Artist, they gave another shoutout to Avicii, highlighting the influence he had on the music industry. We want to dedicate this award to Avicii… [He] inspired all of us. Influenced our music. Influenced pop music, music in general, and he will be missed. I hope you’re somewhere, I hope you found peace. And we love you. Thank you. #BBMAsThe Chainsmokers dedicate their award to the late Avicii ???? pic.twitter.com/gDZ8RupvEw— BellaNaija (@bellanaija) May 21, 2018 Avicii, whose full name is Tim Bergling, was known for hits such as  “Le7els,” “Wake Me Up!,” ”The Days” and “You Make Me.” In 2016, at the age of 26, Avicii announced he was retiring from live performances after a public battle with poor health. After he died on April 20 of this year, his family released a statement about the DJ’s mental health, describing him as an over-achieving perfectionist who “worked hard at a pace that led to extreme stress.” When he stopped touring, he wanted to find a balance in life to be happy and be able to do what he loved most – music.He really struggled with thoughts about Meaning, Life, Happiness.He could not go on any longer.He wanted to find peace.Tim was not made for the business machine he found himself in; he was a sensitive guy who loved his fans but shunned the spotlight.Tim, you will forever be loved and sadly missed. If this news is hard for you, know you are not alone — and there is help for people who are feeling suicidal. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741 . Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

Maison Fioravante

The Halsey Lyrics I Tattooed on My Leg

Most of us have that one song or specific lyric that sets off a storm in our hearts, whether it be benevolent or malicious inside of us. For someone with multiple chronic health issues, I have found many songs and lyrics that have reverberated with every inch of my being, however, there is one specific lyric I have decided to forever have on my body as a constant reminder of its meaning with my life. I believe it has been about two years since I found out about the recording artist named Ashley Frangipane, otherwise known as Halsey. She’s a 23-year-old alternative/pop musician now probably best known for her songs such as “Bad at Love” and “Strangers,” featuring Lauren Jauregui, from her second studio album titled “Hopeless Fountain Kingdom;” and the hit single “Closer” with the Chainsmokers. Halsey has shot to fame and has become pretty well known for her unique voice, captivating lyrics, eye-catching style, and more. She, like myself, also has health issues and has been quite vocal about her struggles with things such as her endometriosis. During 2015, Halsey released her debut studio album,“Badlands,” and subsequently the song “Colors.” The song could undoubtedly be about a tumultuous relationship (as seen through much speculation and debate online and some interviews with Halsey), but relationships mimic life and vice versa. The whole song, to me, is wonderfully written in a lyrical and musical sense. I will not lie, there has always been something about this song that hits me hard, and I still don’t know why for the most part. However, there is one lyric, the one I have tattooed, that hits home more than any lyric I have heard and/or read before. During the pre-chorus, Halsey sings: “You’re dripping like a saturated sunrise/You’re spilling like an overflowing sink/You’re ripped at every edge, but you’re a masterpiece…”(for the record, it is the last part of this lyric I have tattooed). To me, these lyrics are extremely important. In short, I was born with a rare and undiagnosed genetic condition that caused my right leg and foot to become extremely deformed with hard fatty tissue and masses, which possibly led to me having other conditions like arthritis, an inoperable herniated disk, etc. I spend most of my time at home on a recliner because the majority of physical things we do as humans are too hard on my body. As long as I can remember, along with my physical issues, I have struggled mentally as well with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD, etc. For the longest time I have seen myself as a broken person, an alien almost. I struggle immensely with not feeling human, especially when I sometimes see so much wrong with myself. Yet, as soon as I heard that lyric for the first time, something in me changed. Hearing someone you look up to say the words, “You’re ripped at every edge, but you’re a masterpiece,” (even if they are not specifically saying it to you), in some strange sense, helps you love yourself more. I haven’t the slightest clue of how many times I have listened to “Colors” over the years.  There are times I have the song on repeat just to hear that one line during the pre-chorus because it makes me value my life so much more. I listen to it when I’m sad, when I’m happy, when I’m driving or even working on my art. All around, the song evokes many emotions within me. Around the time I heard the song a year after the album’s release I’ve had that special lyric  permanently placed on my right thigh, my “deformed” leg to be exact, in a piece I designed myself. I am very particular about what I have tattooed on my body. In total, I have eight tattoos, and only one of them was not designed by me. Each one acts as a permanent reminder of things that happen/ed in my life or that are important parts of me that can be easily seen. They almost act as some of my battle wounds, except a little more artistic. I see myself as ripped at every edge but a masterpiece because I’m the way I am for a reason, but then again, aren’t we all? We all have those special lyrics. These just happen to be mine. My advice is this: hold onto them, and keep them special because lyrics and music can save lives, enlighten souls and mend hearts. I, for one, believe my special lyric from “Colors” did all of the previous things for me. Who knew that such a small few words could do such great things inside of a person? I never did until I was touched by words I would’ve never thought of on my own in my entire lifetime. Lastly, to those of you reading this piece, I want you to keep your favorite lyrics close and never give up on yourself. In your eyes, you may be ripped at every edge, and feel so down, and believe you’re not worth it, but I believe we are all our own masterpiece, and we are here to make changes not only in ourselves but those all around us.

What's Missing From Coverage of Halsey's Egg Freezing Announcement

If you are part of the endometriosis community then you likely know there is a lot of pain among those living with the condition regarding how endometriosis is represented. There are a lot of endometriosis advocates working tirelessly to improve the way the disease is diagnosed and treated. And then there are celebrities living with “endo,” who — while much of what they say is controversial or ill-informed — play an important role in raising awareness. If the only time the general public hears about endometriosis is when it comes from celebrities, then we need to make sure the conversation surrounding their stories is productive. On Thursday, singer Halsey went on “The Doctors” to talk about endometriosis as well as her concerns about her future fertility. The 23-year-old platinum-selling artist said a lot of really great things. She talked about how doctors tend to dismiss women’s pain, how her symptoms were more than just “bad cramps” and how having a reproductive condition can make you feel like “less of a woman.” “There’s a lot of times when you’re sitting at home and you just feel so terrible about yourself. You know, you’re sick, you don’t feel sexy. You don’t feel proud. You don’t feel like there is much hope,” she explained, adding that to keep hope alive in her future, she will be freezing her eggs. It’s great to see Halsey, a young woman and icon to millions of young girls, speak up about taking charge of her health. It’s an empowering message that is important to hear. But there comes a time when just “getting the word out” isn’t enough. We can spend all day arguing whether or not it’s Halsey’s job to know everything about endometriosis and infertility. However, it’s not Halsey’s job to be the perfect advocate. What happens after a celebrity offers a juicy soundbite falls on journalists. Not only is it our job to fact check, we need to look for the value-add. Who are your readers? What are they getting from this story? Whether or not you identify as a “service journalist,” all pieces of journalism, at their core, are acts of service. A little less than two years ago I went to a benefit for a cancer nonprofit. The person being honored that night was a woman who benefited from the services the nonprofit provided. The woman, I’m going to call her Alice for the sake of anonymity, was 35 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Thanks to the organization, Alice, who was uninsured, was able to get treatment without going bankrupt. But, with chemotherapy, doctors warned, would come infertility. If Alice wanted to have biological children, she’d have to freeze her eggs. She had two options: freeze her eggs and not be able to pay for cancer treatment, likely die and never be able to use those eggs, or get the treatment she needed and give up her dreams of having a biological family. With tears in her eyes, explaining her decision, Alice said something that haunts me to this day: “I always dreamed of having children. Now, I give myself five minutes every day to cry for the children I will never have.” Alice’s experience isn’t unique. Egg freezing is cost prohibitive, especially for people who are not prime candidates like those with endometriosis, premature ovarian failure, polycystic ovarian syndrome or women who are older. Depending on your health and the clinic, egg freezing typically costs between $5,000 to $10,000 a cycle. The more eggs you freeze, the better your chances, so clinics will typically recommend doing more than one cycle. In order for your ovaries to produce a higher quantity of eggs, medication is required. Depending on your insurance coverage — most insurance companies don’t cover fertility preservation — these medications can add hundreds or thousands of dollars to the cost of each cycle. Once you’ve paid all those fees, you have to pay to store your eggs, which can cost anywhere from $600 to upwards of $1,000 per year. Cost isn’t the only factor we should be talking about. Egg freezing is often presented as a foolproof way of having a baby in the future, but that is far from the reality. Each frozen egg has only a two to 12 percent chance of becoming a child. Frozen embryos have a higher success rate, at 30 percent. However, that requires you to have a sperm donor or a partner you are sure you want to have a child with. Deciding to freeze your eggs is a huge decision — both emotionally and financially. If we’re praising one woman for doing so, let’s keep up the empowerment by giving women and other people with uteri and ovaries the information they need to make an informed decision. We can, and should, praise Halsey for taking charge of her health. But as journalists, we need to remember our readers are the Alices of this world — not the Halseys. When we talk about how great Halsey’s decision is, we need to remember it’s impractical for many dealing with fertility concerns who are balancing the costs of their medical care with the cost of family planning. Halsey knows she’s fortunate to have this option, she said so herself. Let’s remind our readers we know most people can’t afford to freeze their eggs and provide resources and accurate information for those who are actively struggling. That’s how we make celebrities opening the door to these tough conversations worth it.

Erin Migdol

Halsey Gives Speech at Endometriosis Foundation of America 2018 Ball

Physical symptoms are just one piece of living with a chronic illness. What’s talked about less often is the emotional effect those physical symptoms can have on you, and how difficult it can be to navigate relationships when you have an illness. Halsey, whose songs include “Bad at Love,” “Him and I” and “Closer” with the Chainsmokers, revealed that fears of her friends and loved ones “giving up” on her continue to haunt her even as her endometriosis symptoms have improved.In her acceptance speech at the Endometriosis Foundation of America’s annual Blossom Ball on Monday night, where she was awarded the 2018 Blossom Award, Halsey explained that she had struggled with feeling insecure and “less of a woman” because she couldn’t be intimate with her boyfriend and go out with her friends. She experienced these feelings in addition to dealing with physical symptoms like digestion issues, fainting and fatigue.After she had laparoscopic surgery and ablation, a procedure less effective than the “gold standard” excision surgery, her symptoms started to feel better. Now she’s able to “go out and do stuff,” and is in a new relationship with someone who loves her and cares about what she’s gone through. But she still struggles with fears about what her friends would do if her health worsened again.She said: I still wake up every day and I am scared that if I become that sick girl again that all of those people will go away, that fears can haunt me for the rest of my life, that if I get sick again, if I get bad like I was, that my friends aren’t going to understand, that my partner is not going to understand, that everybody is going to give up on me because I am a lot easier to deal with when I am healthy than I am when I am sick. Halsey revealed that she had always had painful periods but was told she was “sensitive” and “overdramatic.” She wasn’t diagnosed with endometriosis until she had a miscarriage at 20 years old, which happened right before she went onstage and performed in front of an audience of 1,200 plus 33 million online.She described her “very young, very scared, very male” managers having no idea what to do and telling her how big a deal the concert was.“It was in that moment that I realized that part of being a woman and dealing with reproductive health is being treated like you’re not a human, is being treated like you’re a robot and you’re supposed to wake up every day and get over it,” she said. “But it was also in that moment that I realized that I could overcome anything and that if I wanted to pursue this career and I wanted this pursue this path, there was absolutely nothing that was going to get in my f-ing way.”She said after she tweeted about her endometriosis in 2016, she’s had hundreds of people come to her concerts and meet-and-greets and tell her they got diagnosed after she drew their attention to it. These experiences of meeting others with endometriosis and hearing their stories give her hope and help her deal with her fears and feel proud to share her story.“To any of my fans and friends and people listening to me who may not know anything about me or never heard a song, if you’re struggling with endometriosis or any chronic illness for that matter, you need to know it’s not something that makes you weak, it’s about what you have overcome,” she said. “And every battle that you’re in helps you win the war at the end of the day.”Last November, Halsey revealed she was sick and needed an IV before a concert, so she invited the fans she was scheduled to meet back to hang out in her dressing room.“This post isn’t so that you applaud me. It’s a reminder to everyone struggling with chronic illness that YOU GOT THIS!!!! Ur a boss go kick some ass. and if u can’t right now, that’s okay too. You’ll be kickin ass in no time,” she wrote. Was really sick yesterday. Didn't think I could stand, and was attached to this (annoying) IV putting fluids and medicine in my body. SOOOO, I invited my meet and greet group to my dressing room and asked everyone to come chill on the couch and kick it with me! And then we had a fucking SICK show in Oakland that night! Thanks to the fans for being so cool and understanding. This post isn't so that you applaud me. It's a reminder to everyone struggling with chronic illness that YOU GOT THIS!!!! Ur a boss go kick some ass. ????????⚡️ and if u can't right now, that's okay too. You'll be kickin ass in no time.A post shared by halsey (@iamhalsey) on Nov 8, 2017 at 10:44pm PST