Billboard Music Awards 2021: SZA Opens Up About Anxiety From Being in Public
Though we’re starting to (slowly, safely) reenter society as vaccinations become more widely available, that doesn’t mean that everyone is exactly ready to get back to “normal,” or at least, a post-pandemic approximation of it. For many people with anxiety, perhaps this stress over socializing is nothing new, even if it may be magnified right now; while there are plenty of facets of life that we’re all eager to return to, after a year of collective trauma, it makes sense if you’re not quite ready to throw all your masks away (please, don’t throw your masks away).
And while being a celebrity may make some things in life easier, it doesn’t preclude a person from dealing with mental health issues, or, say, having a hard time attending a huge event during the tail-end of a pandemic — including SZA, who posted about her anxiety ahead of attending the 2021 Billboard Music Awards.
The singer, who has been open about her anxiety on social media before, posted a photo set on Instagram with the caption, “I hate being outside more than I can explain . I really have debilitating anxiety and I’m only posting these cause Y’all woulda found em anyway . Thank you to my team n my mama . Least I’m alive🙂.”
Feeling the obligation to attend a social event — and post about it on social media — is something many of us can relate to, but when the event is broadcasted on cable TV with photos made available on Getty, well, it stops being something I can personally wrap my head around. The pressure must be enormous.
Taking control back by choosing which photos to post on your own accounts and being transparent about your state of mind — which is exactly what SZA did — is admirable, and a great step toward normalizing talking about mental health issues.
Aside from talking about her own anxiety on social media in the past, SZA also launched a hotline earlier in the pandemic for fans to “cry, laugh, or talk” that was active two days a week, which also offered meditations and other mental health-related resources.
Perhaps especially now, as we all begin to grapple with the events of the last year and assess how we’ve truly been affected, talking about mental health with each other is important, and SZA being transparent with her fans about how she’s doing feels important.
Scrolling through social media can often feel masochistic, an endless pit of sunny photos with captions to match, and this moment of honesty reminds those of us with anxiety that we’re not alone.
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