Billy Joel Opens Up About Depression
Billy Joel says that, in recent years, he has battled depression. Depression doesn't care how famous you are or how much money you make and a great many people have problems with what Winston Churchill called 'The Black Dog.'
I can identify with Joel as I have battled depression a great deal of my adult life. Here's Billy Joel's story.
Joel traced his suffering to one of the bleakest days in recent U.S. history. "I was in New York on 9/11, and it had a devastating impact on me," he recalled. "It hit me like a ton of bricks. I went into a deep depression and started drinking. I lost faith in humanity."
It was only recently that Joel says he was turned around by the inspiring example set by Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani teen who, as he put it, "was shot by the Taliban" and refused to be cowed. Instead, she published an autobiography and embarked on a worldwide press tour advocating for women's education. "She is the antidote," argued Joel. "We need people like that. I get inspired by people like that."
Joel remains devoutly uninspired when it comes to recording new music. "Just because I can put out albums and the record company would release them and people would buy them, that doesn't mean I should," he said. "I got bored writing popular music. I just got tired of writing in the same format -- it can’t be too long, it’s got to be played on the radio. It’s a box, and after a while that box becomes a coffin."
But he's popping out of his coffin long enough to complete his first U.K. tour in seven years, with rumors of a fresh round of U.S. dates to follow. "I don’t sit around saying, ‘Gee I miss the adulation, I want the applause,'” Joel mused. "But what I do miss is making music with other musicians ... I want to do these dates and see how it feels to get back in the saddle."
On a personal note, if you fight depression, get help. Depression is nothing to be ashamed of and it's not a sign of weakness. I got help and it really did turn my life around. Perhaps one day I'll share my story which, oddly enough also started on 9/11.