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PHILADELPHIA (CNN) — Bruce Springsteen is opening up about his mental health struggles. In a new interview with Esquire, the rock star is candid in discussing two emotional breakdowns he suffered — one when he was 32 and another when he was in his 60s.
“I have come close enough to [mental illness] where I know I am not completely well myself,” said Springsteen, 69.
“I’ve had to deal with a lot of it over the years, and I’m on a variety of medications that keep me on an even keel; otherwise I can swing rather dramatically and … just … the wheels can come off a little bit. So we have to watch, in our family. I have to watch my kids, and I’ve been lucky there. It ran in my family going way before my dad.”
Springsteen also spoke about his late father, Doug Springsteen, who wrestled with his own demons and was diagnosed with schizophrenia later in his life.
“All I do know is as we age, the weight of our unsorted baggage becomes heavier … much heavier,” Springsteen went on to say. “With each passing year, the price of our refusal to do that sorting rises higher and higher. … Long ago, the defenses I built to withstand the stress of my childhood, to save what I had of myself, outlived their usefulness, and I’ve become an abuser of their once lifesaving powers. I relied on them wrongly to isolate myself, seal my alienation, cut me off from life, control others, and contain my emotions to a damaging degree. Now the bill collector is knocking, and his payment will be in tears.”
Springsteen said that although he has never been hospitalized, he thinks maybe he should have been. The second breakdown, which he also discussed in his 2016 memoir, “Born to Run,” was especially crippling.
“All I remember was feeling really badly and calling for help,” he said. “I might have gotten close to that and for brief, brief periods of time. It lasted for — I don’t know. Looking back on it now, I can’t say. Was it a couple weeks? Was it a month? Was it longer? But it was a very bad spell, and it just came.
“And it came out of the roots that I came out of, particularly on my father’s side, where I had to cop to the fact that I also had things inside me that could lead me to pretty bad places.”
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee is in the final days of “Springsteen on Broadway,” his sold-out show that debuted at New York’s Walter Kerr Theater in October 2017 and closes on December 15. A Netflix special, “Springsteen on Broadway,” will be released the next day.
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