Article in English, published by Wiwibloggs.com 05.06.2020
By Renske Ten Veen
Alexander Rybak shares struggle with addiction as he heals his mind and heart through music
So much of Alexander Rybak’s music is joyful and upbeat, bringing good vibes and positivity to the people. But away from the spotlight, his personal life has not always been as easygoing and uplifting. Recently the singer revealed to Norwegian paper VG that he is recovering from long-term addiction to sleeping pills and antidepressants. The “Fairytale” singer said that he doesn’t want to pretend everything is alright when it’s not. Instead, he wants to embark on a new chapter in his life and potentially help those facing similar issues.
Revealing such a personal story isn’t easy. Mental health struggles frequently come with a stigma attached, which explains why so many people choose to hide their battles. That Alexander is willing to share his experiences is both courageous and admirable — especially for someone living in the public eye.
The singer-songwriter took to his social media and wrote that he had been addicted to sleeping pills and antidepressants for 11 years. He started receiving treatment in January of this year. He wrote:
“It started out harmless, but in the end it almost ruined my life. This January I started rehab (with good help from my doctors) and little by little I’m starting to feel like myself again.
During the past years the pills made me weak and scared. It affected not only my brain but also my muscles and stomach. It destroyed my relationships to people, but most importantly it almost destroyed my will to live.”
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I’ve been living with a secret. For 11 years I have been addicted to sleep medications and antidepressants. It started out harmless, but in the end it almost ruined my life. This January I started rehab (with good help from my doctors) and little by little I’m starting to feel like myself again. During the past years the pills made me weak and scared. It affected not only my brain but also my muscles and stomach. It destroyed my relationships to people, but most importantly it almost destroyed my will to live. I know there are many out there who are struggling with the same problems, so over the next weeks I will be sharing my experiences with you and if somebody can learn from them, it will make me feel better. * У меня была тайна. 11 лет я был зависим от снотворного и антидепрессантов. Сначала все было хорошо, но в итоге моя жизнь чуть не разрушилась. В январе этого года я начал курс реабилитации (при помощи моих врачей) и постепенно прихожу в порядок. В последние годы зависимости таблетки сделали меня слабым и напуганным. Это затронуло не только мой мозг, но и отразилось на мышцах, желудке и общем состоянии организма. Эта зависимость портила мои отношения с людьми, но самое главное, она почти уничтожила мою волю к жизни. Я знаю, что есть много людей, которые борются подобным, поэтому в течение следующих недель я поделюсь с вами своим опытом, и я буду рад, если кому-то он поможет. #mentalhealth #mentalhelse #rehab #addiction #зависимость #психология
Overwhelming support for opening up about addiction
Alexander Rybak wants to raise awareness about the important issue of addiction.
“I know there are many out there who are struggling with the same problems, so over the next weeks I will be sharing my experiences with you and if somebody can learn from them, it will make me feel better.”
His social media posts resonated with his fans and followers. Many thanked the violinist and singer for his honesty and bravery. Some also shared their own mental health problems, along with their own learnings and tips.
Speaking to VG, Rybak said that he felt about “a 100 kilo lighter” after sharing his personal battle. He told Dagbladet that he could breath freely for the first time in a long while.
Norwegian Eurovision stars support Alexander Rybak
Norwegian Eurovision stars and showbiz icons quickly voiced their support, too.
Per Sundnes was one of first people to reply. He served as head of the Norwegian delegation at Eurovision 2009 and was one of Rybak’s first mentors.
Speaking to Dagbladet, Per said that society needs someone who’s as open as Rybak has been, as there are many people who struggle with similar problems, especially in his industry. Per added:
“He is a role model to many, and it’s nice that people understand that the life he has lived in the limelight is not always fair. The pressure he has lived under as a young boy was inhumane at times.”
Shortly after his statement, Rybak told VG that he started taking sleeping pills around the time of Eurovision in Moscow, when he was the odds-on favourite to win the contest.
Norwegian Eurovision veteran Elisabeth Andreassen worked extensively with Alexander as early as 2008. Upon hearing the news, she called him a role model, sending a warm hug and support.
Melodi Grand Prix 2020 stars Lisa Børud and Ulrikke Brandstorp sent Rybak support too. Lisa — who performed as a backing singer and dancer as part of Rybak’s act in Lisbon — acknowledged that she was pleased to hear that he had sought help.
Alexander Rybak releases “Give Me Rain” and “My Whole World”
A day after his message, Rybak released two new singles to spread his story to the world. Writing on Instagram, he explained that “Give Me Rain” is about healing his mind, while “My Whole World” told the story of healing his heart.
With “Give Me Rain” and “My Whole World”, Rybak brings two completely new faces to his already multi-faceted repertoire.
“Give Me Rain” is a contemporary pop song with clear dance and reggae influences. It oozes power and strength, telling the story of slowly overcoming a string of negative experiences, ranging from depression to dark hallucinations. As he sings: “Give me rain and I’ll dance/Let me fall and I will rise.”
“My Whole World” could have come from a Common Linnets album in terms of style and sound. It’s Rybak’s first real country track and discusses the heart-felt story of a break-up. Thematically, it follows on from Rybak’s earlier break-up songs, such as “I’m Still Here” and “Funny Little World”, with its strong focus on regretting the loss of a love interest.
We would like to wish Alexander Rybak strength during his recovery.