Missy Elliott is opening up about her mental health in a candid interview, discussing her battles with anxiety and depression and imploring others to be more vocal about their struggles.
In an Essence cover story published on June 20, Missy Elliott said that while “a lot of things were brushed up under the rug for me growing up,” the isolation of the pandemic meant she “had so much time to just think of childhood stuff, and all kinds of stuff.”
The 4x-Grammy Award winner also reflected on a two-year low period she experienced over a decade ago, exacerbated by her battle with the autoimmune condition Graves’ disease.
“Now I’m fine with being like, ‘Hey, I got anxiety’ or ‘I went through depression,’” Missy stated. “Even the biggest artist, or just the regular everyday working person, we all go through s###. We all do. And it’s okay to say, ‘Hey, I’m not okay today.’ Probably we would keep a lot of people around if we were that open, because we would be able to uplift each other.”
She continued, “We’d know that I’m not going to look at you crazy if you say, ‘Hey, I’m having a rough day.’ Maybe you’re thinking things that you shouldn’t think, or whatever the case may be.”
Missy Elliott Discusses Her Mental Health Battles With Her Peers
Missy Elliott also revealed an unnamed male peer (“Timbaland is my brother, but it’s not him”) is a source of support.
“I had a peer of mine say, ‘Hey, look, I’ve been through the same thing,’” she added. “And he was just like, ‘Next time I see you, I’m going to put a mirror in front of your face, so you can remember who you are and all that you’ve done.’”
In 2015, Missy Elliott admitted her anxiety was so crippling that she had a full-blown panic attack and required medical attention before her Super Bowl halftime cameo performance the same year.
“Like, IVs in my arm, everything,” she told Billboard. “Nobody knew.”