Journalism of Courage

Music Star Seal Reveals He Suffered From Anxiety, Panic Attacks


The 57-year-old has had a glittering career spanning three decades  – but admits he still worries.

Nigerian born musician, singer and song writer Seal, became famous thanks to his singing voice, but he’s also known for the scars on his face. And that’s a fact that he’s well aware of.

Born 19 February 1963 as Henry Olusegun Adeola Samuel has sold over 20 million records worldwide, with his first international hit song, “Crazy”, released in 1991.

Seal in an interview with Yahoo revealed that he struggles with panic attacks and anxiety, something he says he’s experienced for the last 29 years. The first time he experienced a massive panic attack was in a recording studio. “I was rushed to the hospital and I was convinced that I was dying, having a heart attack,” he recalls.

He explains that panic attacks can be “destabilizing” and that fear of experiencing another one can be “cold, lonely and dark.”

“It’s given me such empathy and understanding for people who can’t get help,” Seal adds. “There is no shame… there is no guilt in asking for help and talking about it, whether it’s therapy or it’s a friend. It needs to be shared.”

Seal now says he turns to exercise to help control his anxiety. “Mental health and exercise go hand-in-hand,” he says, although he recognizes that it’s “sometimes easier said than done, especially for people who are suffering from depression.” He also meditates regularly. “It’s been huge for me.”

While Seal has been through a lot, he’s “grateful” for his experiences. “I’m not sitting here crying about my lupus or anxiety,” he says. “It isn’t by chance that I just have a voice to sing that touches people. I believe that my purpose is communication. That is a blessing.”

“Something that had kind of been initially traumatizing turned out to be something that has made me instantly recognizable,” he says about his trademark scar on his face.

Those scars are the result of lupus, a chronic disease that can cause inflammation and pain in any part of your body.

According to the Lupus Foundation of America, about 1.5 million Americans and at least 5 million people worldwide have the disease. Lupus most commonly affects the skin, joints and internal organs, and it can cause a range of symptoms.

.“My lupus first arrived when I was 21,” he explains. “It’s not as serious as systemic [lupus], which affects the organs.”

The musician reveals that he initially was self-conscious about his scars, “but then I quickly realized this body is not who we are. I got off lightly.”


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