Bruce Springsteen battling depression, suicidal thoughts since early 1980s

Last Updated: Jul 25, 2012, 16:49 PM IST

New York: Bruce Springsteen has revealed that he’s been seeing a shrink since 1982, when depression made him suicidal while he was on the cusp of superstardom.

But the 62-year-old “Born to Run” singer believes that his demons turned into a blessing in disguise and said that his epic live performances are the product of “pure fear and self-loathing and self-hatred.”

“Look, you cannot underestimate the fine power of self-loathing in all of this,” the New York Daily News quoted him as telling The New Yorker.

“You think, I don’t like anything I’m seeing, I don’t like anything I’m doing, but I need to change myself, I need to transform myself. I do not know a single artist who does not run on that fuel,” he said.

Springsteen’s late father also struggled with an isolating depression.

According to the publication, he was probably bipolar and often refused to take his medication.

“My dad was very nonverbal — you couldn’t really have a conversation with him,” Springsteen said.

“My parents’ struggles, it’s the subject of my life.

“It’s the thing that eats at me and always will. My life took a very different course, but my life is an anomaly. Those wounds stay with you, and you turn them into a language and a purpose,” he said.

Even as his success grew, The Boss worried that he would eventually turn out like his father, and fear of mental illness kept him from the self-destructive behaviour that has ruined so many other musicians.
Springsteen’s “the only guy I know — I think the only guy I know at all — who never did drugs,” bandmate Steven Van Zandt said.

“My issues weren’t as obvious as drugs,” Springsteen said.

“Mine were different, they were quieter — just as problematic, but quieter,” he said.

By 1982, there was a dark cloud of depression over Springsteen.
“He was feeling suicidal,” said his biographer, Dave Marsh.

“The depression wasn’t shocking, per se. He was on a rocket ride, from nothing to something, and now you are getting your a-- kissed day and night. You might start to have some inner conflicts about your real self-worth,” Marsh said.

He started consulting a psychotherapist and has been in analysis ever since.

His wife and bandmate, Patti Scialfa, said that the therapy allowed her “isolationist” husband to successfully start a family life.

“He was able to look at himself and battle it out,” the mother of three said.

“I suffered from depression myself, so I knew what that was about. Clinical depression — I knew what that was about. I felt very akin to him,” she said.

Springsteen is currently on tour promoting his new album, “Wrecking Ball.”

He said that the three-hour sweat-drenched performances are his response to feelings of self-doubt that haunt him after all the Grammys and gold records that he has amassed.