Brandy opens up about 8-year music hiatus, mental health struggles: 'It was a lot of self-reflection

Blake Harper
·3 min read

After years of suffering in private, Brandy recently revealed her struggles with depression, including having suicidal thoughts while attempting to maintain a “perfect” public image.

On Wednesday, the singer-songwriter appeared on the Tamron Hall Show and talked about why she decided to open up.

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - AUGUST 25: Singer / Actress Brandy Norwood attends Black Girls Rock! at NJ Performing Arts Center on August 25, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/WireImage)
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - AUGUST 25: Singer / Actress Brandy Norwood attends Black Girls Rock! at NJ Performing Arts Center on August 25, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/WireImage)

“I think it’s important for me as an artist, as a vessel to use my music as a way to tell my story,” Brandy said. “And I feel like there are so many people out there who go through their own things, their own issues and when they see someone like me open up, they can feel like they’re not alone.”

She continued, “That’s my path, I just want to be an inspiration and a help for other people to get through some of the things that they go through in their everyday lives, their everyday struggles.”

As a mother, Brandy also felt compelled to speak out and share her truth. “She is an angel, she is my light,” Brandy said of 18-year-old daughter Sy’Rai. “She really doesn’t understand how many times she has saved me. So many moments when I felt like giving up, she has been the reason why I’m still here today and I’m still doing what I’m doing. She’s everything to me, she’s my world.”

Brandy took an eight-year hiatus from music and while during that time she was on Broadway and took on some acting roles, she spent a majority of the time working on herself. “It was a lot of self-reflection and a lot of facing some of the things I needed to face about myself,” the 41-year-old admitted.

Depression is a remarkably common condition in the United States, as an estimated 17.3 million Americans suffered at least one major depressive episode in 2017. And until we acknowledge our problems, we will have no hope in being able to fix them and people will continue to feel isolated and alone.

One of the most effective ways to deal with depression is simply by talking about it, as experts say that it is absolutely necessary for people to speak about what they are feeling and experiencing.

“Talking about depression and emotions is essential,” Dr. Mark Sinyor, a psychiatrist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, told YourHealthMatters. “The most important reason is that these things are real.”

Dr. Sinyor said that it specifically helps when celebrities like Brandy get honest about depression because “many people in our society look up to celebrities and some model their behavior after them.”

“When a celebrity says that they have struggled with depression, anxiety or another mental disorder, it sends several important messages: This is ok to talk about; You can struggle and still have a meaningful and successful life; Mental distress can be overcome,” Dr. Sinyor said.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is open 24 hours a day at 800-273-8255.

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