Billy Strings on living with anxiety: “The idea that being a man means [being] too tough to have feelings – oh, bullshit!”

“I used to be one of those people that was like, ‘You had a panic attack? It’s called being stressed. Drink a beer, have a smoke, and chill the fuck out, pussy.’”

Billy Strings, speaking in a recent interview, opened up about his experiences with anxiety and how he’s come to deal with it through therapy and songwriting.

Admitting that he once took a flippant stance to anxiety, Strings admitted he only began taking the condition seriously when he started facing it himself.

“I used to be one of those people that was like, ‘You had a panic attack? It’s called being stressed. Drink a beer, have a smoke, and chill the fuck out, pussy.’ That used to be me – a totally ignorant asshole,” Strings told Guitar World.

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He continued: “I had no idea how bad anxiety was. And then, when I got it, I was crippled by it and I started to have tons of sympathy for people that deal with it, because when I have a panic attack, I am physically crippled.”

Strings encouraged fans who also struggle to seek out therapy, like he has been doing and to reject the machismo of refusing help in order to “act tough”.

“The idea that being a man means not showing your feelings or being too tough to have feelings – oh, bullshit! I don’t think that’s true,” he said. “I love my therapist. I have been able to work through so much from my childhood, and pain and stuff that I was holding on to that was holding me back.”

The other major form of release for Strings is songwriting, which he described as its own form of therapy. “I can write about some stuff that’s really personal for me, and put it out there and be vulnerable, let people see me for who I am,” he said. “That’s actually healthy and a very healing thing for me to put that personal stuff in the music. I can grow from it.”

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