National Recovery Month: Ariana Grande revealed 'terrible' effect PTSD had on her brain after Manchester attack
In May 2017, Ariana performed at the packed Old Trafford Cricket Ground in Manchester. A suicide bomber detonated a shrapnel-laden homemade bomb near the exit, killing 20 and injuring 500
Despite the impact of mental disorders and addiction being ubiquitous around the world, people who deal with these issues still can't be open about it due to fear of judgment or stereotypes surrounding the subject. However, the second decade of the millennium has seen a massive shift in the way people view and speak about substance use and mental disorders. The advent of social media too has helped bring the conversation around anxiety, depression, addiction, rehabilitation, to a public platform and it's no longer hush-hush. Also, the work of public figures and celebrities cannot be overlooked here as many of them use their platform to open a dialogue about these topics which were considered too sensitive initially.
A number of them haven't shied away from speaking up about their own experiences which in turn has helped destigmatize these issues and has many times encouraged people to seek treatment. One of them is Ariana Grande, someone who has been brutally honest about her struggle with her mental disorders with her fans and is someone who encourages her followers to seek help. With September being observed as National Recovery Month, let us take a look at Ariana's struggles as well as her efforts to clear the shame that eclipses mental disorders.
What is National Recovery Month?
For the past 31 years, the month of September has nationally been observed as National Recovery Month. This is done with an aim to educate people around the country that availing substance use treatment and mental health services by people who suffer from addiction and mental disorders can help them live healthy and rewarding lives. The journeys of people who've been in recovery and have fully recovered are celebrated during this month.
Ariana battle with PTSD
In May 2017, Ariana performed at the packed Old Trafford Cricket Ground in Manchester. Shortly after the concert ended and excited fans were exiting the venue, a suicide bomber detonated a shrapnel-laden homemade bomb near the exit. This incident claimed 22 lives and injured more than 500 people. This is the incident that centrally changed her. “When I got home from tour, I had really wild dizzy spells, this feeling like I couldn’t breathe,” Ariana said in an interview to Elle in 2018. “I would be in a good mood, fine and happy, and they would hit me out of nowhere. I’ve always had anxiety, but it had never been physical before. There were a couple of months straight where I felt so upside down.”
The songstress also provided proof of how that incident affected her. In 2019, she took to her Instagram stories and shared how her brain was affected by what happened in 2017. She shared a text screenshot comparing a normal brain to a PTSD affected brain and in the same image was a scan of her own brain that matched the PTSD one. She shared this with a caption, "not a joke."
Ariana also has anxiety and has spoken about it on many occasions including her 2018 BBC music special. “I almost feel guilty that I have it [anxiety] because it’s just in your head and it’s just so crazy how powerful it is," she said while also urging people to reach out to their close ones if they needed help.
Ariana also created the track 'Get Well Soon' for her Sweetener album, a song dedicated to victims of the Manchester concert. Speaking about it to Troye Sivan for Paper Magazine in 2018, she said, "I've always had anxiety, I've had anxiety for years. But when I got home from tour it reached a very different, intense peak. It became physical and I was not going out at all, and I felt like I was outside my body. I'd have these spells every now and then where I felt like I was having déjà vu, but like 24/7 for three months at a time." She also credited her producer Pharell Williams who forced her to channel all her pain through the song.
In an interview with Beats 1 Radio, Ariana admitted that this song was not just about the tragedy but it was about mental health as well. "It's also about personal demons and anxiety, and more intimate tragedies, as well. Mental health is so important. People don't pay enough mind to it," she said at the time.
September 2020 marks the 31st year of National Recovery Month and with this column, we aim to tell the share the experiences of public figures and celebrities with mental disorders, with an aim to raise awareness and normalize asking for help.