On a new episode of We Can Do Hard Things with Glennon Doyle, Michelle Zauner joins Glennon, her wife Abby, and sister Amanda to talk about why she is still “afraid of her mental health,” and more.
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Best known as a singer and guitarist who creates dreamy, shoegaze-inspired indie pop under the name Japanese Breakfast, Michelle Zauner has won acclaim from major music outlets around the world for releases like Psychopomp and Soft Sounds from Another Planet. Her most recent album, Jubilee, earned two GRAMMY nominations for Best New Artist and Best Alternative Music Album. Her first book, Crying in H Mart, is a New York Times Best Seller and currently being adapted for the screen by MGM’s Orion Pictures.
Connecting about their mutual experience of having mental breakdowns in their high school years, Glennon brought up a comment Michelle previously made on another podcast, about still being “afraid of her mental health.” Glennon pointed out how “she didn’t say ‘I’m still afraid FOR my mental health,’ she said, ‘I’m still afraid OF my mental health,’ asking Michelle to explain further about what she means.
“That time in my life was just so out of my control,” Michelle said referring to high school years, “and I think as an adult I’ve certainly learned ways to kind of navigate when those sorts of feelings come on, but it still does feel out of my control.”
She continued, “There are some times when there’s a deep depression I feel coming on, and I think as I teenager I was like more prone to leaning into that. So I’d be like, well my body doesn’t want to go to sleep right now so I just wouldn’t sleep, or I wasn’t eating well, I wasn’t taking care of myself. But now when I feel those kinds of feelings come on I do go out of my way to try and incorporate like positive basic people things, like exercise or sun… and drinking water.”
Rounding out her thought, Michelle reiterated, “I would just lean into listening to like Elliott Smith and staying up till like 8 o’clock in the morning,” and knowing “that is something that was in me” and “something that kind of is out of control… I am very afraid of it.”
Elsewhere in the conversation Michelle opened up about her mother and their, at times, strained and complicated relationship, and discussed how to begin healing our mother wounds, using her sensitivity to deepen her relationships and be a rockstar. And on a lighter note Michelle shared why she’s obsessed with sheet cake and winnebagos.
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Audacy's I’m Listening initiative aims to encourage those who are dealing with mental health issues to understand they are not alone. If you or anyone you know is struggling with depression or anxiety, know that someone is always there. Additionally, the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 988. Find a full list of additional resources here.