Audacy's Charles Feldman and Rob Archer from KNX Los Angeles recently had a chat with founding Maroon 5 drummer Ryan Dusick. Opening up about difficulties he’s faced throughout his mental health journey, which he discusses in his new book, Harder to Breathe: A Memoir of Making Maroon 5, Losing It All, and Finding Recovery.
LISTEN NOW: Maroon 5 founding drummer Ryan Dusick shares his mental health journey
Delving a bit into the “heartbreaking” decision of leaving the band after having “a breakdown over the course of a few years on tour in support of the albums Songs About Jane,” Dusick talked about what changed for him within the band.
Explaining it manifested in a “physical breakdown,” Ryan shared, “I just lost the ability to play the drums, and so the band had to make the unfortunate decision to move on without me.” A decision, that he noted “no one wanted” to see happen. “We were brothers, we had built the band for a decade — from my parents garage to the biggest stages in the world.”
"For me in particular, it was devastating. It was a loss of my identity," he explained. Acknowledging that his “self-definition” at that time “was wrapped up in bring a member of that band. So I really fell into a deep depression, I was self medicating with alcohol,” which only further fueled his “anxiety, which had been there before…" and was a “factor in my breakdown as much as the physical aspect was.”
“I went through all the stages of grief. I was in denial for a while, and just kind of put on this alter-ego and pretended I was still this rockstar having a great time,” adding, "that’s where the alcoholism kind of crept up on me.” While putting on the façade, Ryan’s “self-confidence and self-esteem was getting lower and lower.”
“It took me a while to get closure on that chapter of my life," Ryan went on to share. “It took about a decade of me trying to avoid it in every way I could… until I finally started recovery and started this whole new chapter of my life, which has been so fulfilling.”
Finding a “new passion for mental health and psychology,” Ryan went back to school to get a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology to become a therapist, “and through the course of that realized I had a story to tell that could offer some help to people that were still struggling or could see themselves in my struggles, and so I wrote this book.”
To hear about about the positive steps Ryan has taken on his mental health journey to finding recovery, his current relationship with drumming, what he's doing now to help people, plus more about his book — listen to the entire interview above.
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.