Music Artists Who, Like Roky Erickson, Have Struggled With Mental Illness

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Passion Pit frontman Michael Angelakos was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was 18, and -- as he explained in a Pitchfork interview in July -- spent five weeks in a Houston mental health clinic in 2009 after suffering a "dissociative psychotic reaction" at SXSW. From Pitchfork:
"It's a constant thing -- I'm on suicide watch all the time," he says, with straightforward nonchalance, on a June evening in his Brooklyn Heights apartment. "It's something I have a history with, so people don't trust me. They try to take it easy with me, and I don't like it, because I don't want to be known as an artist that's super volatile." A year later, while attending Boston's Emerson College, Angelakos attempted to take his own life: "Creativity essentially leads to suicide -- where you think to cut yourself up, sit in the bathtub, and take more medication than you should."

After canceling some shows this summer so Angelakos could receive more treatment, Passion Pit returned to the road this month.


Singer-songwriter, alt-rock icon, Throwing Muses founder, and author Kristin Hersh has been extremely candid about her severe bipolar disorder (she was initially diagnosed as schizophrenic), writing about it at length in her terrific 2010 memoir Rat Girl. Recently, Hersh has claimed that acupuncture has virtually cured her of her mental illness. From the Guardian in 2010:

"I feel like music is real and bipolar disorder is not any longer," she says. "I hated the connection between mental illness and art. I couldn't stand that you had to be sick in order to create beauty, or confused to create truth. It made no sense. It was a huge relief to be essentially cured."

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The Bell House

149 7th St., Brooklyn, NY

Category: Music

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