Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy: Overcoming depression is 'about feeling all right and feeling safe in your own skin'
|From Fall Out Boy's Facebook page|
I relived my high school and early college years this weekend by attending their concert at the Palace of Auburn Hills and head banging to their hits from the early 2000s, such as "Sugar We're Going Down."
During the concert, Wentz, 34, mentioned their four-year long hiatus — admitting that they never planned to return to the music scene. He said the reason they decided to write new music is because the songs they heard repeatedly on the radio recently were mostly about topics such as "popping bottles." They wanted to come back to represent the outcasts.
I think this was honorable for the band to do. I feel that musicians have the rare opportunity to illicit a feeling in their fans and make people not feel alone.
After going to the concert, I was inspired to research what had happened in Wentz's life. In addition to a divorce from fellow singer Ashlee Simpson in 2010 and a leak of a nude photo, as it turns out, he has plenty of life experiences to draw upon for his songs.
Unbeknownst to me, eight years ago Wentz tried to kill himself by overdosing on Ativan anxiety pills while sitting in his car in a Best Buy parking lot.
Wentz said, "I called up my manager because I was, at that point, completely out of my head with Ativan. And I was talking to him and I was slurring my words, so he called my mom and my mom called me and she came and got me and we went to the hospital."
In an interview with Jed Foundation's Half of Us campaign, which works to decrease youth suicide rates, Wentz said his doctors aimed just to keep his head above water. But Wentz said, to survive, people need to focus on more than just getting by.
"It's about feeling all right and feeling safe in your own skin," he said.
He gave this advice to those suffering from depression — allow yourself to be unhappy. He says when he is unhappy, he will now express it. And in turn, with the help of his 4-year-old son Bronx Mowgli, he is able to handle life's ups and downs better.
I think talking about it is essential in overcoming mental illness. And I'm so grateful for the celebrities who, instead of using their fame to talk about boozing it up or having a lot of sex, use their fame for something worth while — like trying to erase the stigma of mental illness. Because I think that is one of the biggest culprits of suicide — being afraid to talk about it and keeping it all inside until, one day, you just can't take it anymore.
Slideshow: Photos from the sold-out Fall Out Boy concert at the Palace of Auburn Hills.