Christina Perri Opens Up About Suicide, Depression & How Music Gets Her Through Life

Christina Perri attends the 2015 Billboard Power 100 Celebration at Bouchon on Feb. 5, 2015 in Beverly Hills, Calif.
 Allen Berezovsky/WireImage

Christina Perri attends the 2015 Billboard Power 100 Celebration at Bouchon on Feb. 5, 2015 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

In an interview with The Mighty on Tuesday (Aug. 8), singer-songwriter Christina Perri opened up about her struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts, which she has been battling since she was a child, and how music has helped her escape her darkest thoughts. 

Perri tells The Mighty that she had her first suicidal thoughts at only 8 years old, and she struggled with anxiety, depression, and addiction at different stages while growing up. But even at such a young age, Perri says that music played a vital role in her battle with mental health issues. 

But music wasn't enough to save Perri from some of her darker days. The "A Thousand Years" singer says that therapy can be a key way to understand the taboo ideas surrounding suicide and depression. For Perri, therapy was a way for her family, who often wrote off her depression as a phase she needed to "snap out of," to understand the struggles she was going through. "My mom was like, 'What's wrong with you?' She didn't know how to deal with me," Perri says. "My dad [is] just like, 'Be better, snap out of it.' Both of my parents are so loving and sweet, but they just don't connect to it."'

This lack of understanding from loved ones is a common problem for people struggling with mental health issues, with the stigma of depression and anxiety only beginning to wane. While growing up, Perri tells The Mighty that she tried out many different coping mechanisms to help with her own issues, including prescribed medication between the ages of 10 and 14. But Perri admits that music did more for her than medication ever could.

"When I found writing and music, it made me feel better than any kind of medication I'd tried. It really made me feel better than anything ever. I was like, 'OK, I can do life.'"

Perri, now 30, is happily engaged with a baby on the way and is making sure that she is open with her new family about the mental health issues she still struggles with. Perri tells The Mighty how hard it was for her to first admit her mental illnesses to her fiance Paul, but her soon-to-be husband fully acknowledges her struggles and helps her through them.

In a final message to her fans who may also be struggling with their mental health, she says "It's temporary. It's always temporary. That feeling of free falling is always temporary ... Something will happen that will change my perception. It's the practice of saying, 'This is awful, but you will make it through.' That's what saves people's lives."

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