Benga comes clean about his drug addiction as ‘a way of moving forward’
Drugs and the dance music scene have historically gone hand in hand, but the topic has time and again been classified as taboo. That is, until now. Benga – an iconic DJ, producer and one of three members of the major dance group Magnetic Man – recently opened up in an inspiring interview with The Guadrian about his struggles with mental health. He talks about the onset brought on by a lifestyle of extensive touring and the pressure to uphold his image, admitting, “Nobody wants to come clean, let alone and artist.”
“It started in winter 2013, that’s when I began to lose control of my body. Around Christmas, I got all of my jewelry together and I started giving it to people as they were shopping. One of my favorite watches was a rose gold Rolex, and I had that in my inside pocket. I remember somebody talking about ‘time’ and I just reached into my pocket and gave it to them. During that period, I cleared out my entire house, not knowing what I was doing. I lost everything within the space of about four months.”
It was this loss of control and sense of self that led Benga to retiring from music a year later. But fans were largely left in the dark up until September when the Brit took to Twitter to share the intricate details surrounding his addiction. There, he posted that he believes his bipolar diagnosis was “brought on by drugs” and then to further post that his Schizophrenia was “the result of excessive touring.”
By being frank with the dance music community, he has not only been able to take the “weight off of [his] shoulders again,” but also to lift the veil on this touchy topic. Thus, he has encouraged others to speak freely about drugs, addiction, and the aftermath. “Part of me opening up and talking with people about mental health is a way of moving forward,” he explains. “It’s good to see people on my Twitter feed talking about it.
Benga goes on to relate his mental illness with his use of substances: “I’d been taking them since I was 17 years old, but it really started to affect me when I was about 22, 23. The majority was ecstasy but I also discovered ketamine when I was 25. I started to get anxiety and paranoia, but it’s always been in my nature to carry on and think that everything is going to go away.”
After bouts of mania and depression, and an eventual arrest in March 2014, Benga finally decided to seek help. Through admittance to hospitals, medication, time and telling his story to the public, he is fully aware that his battle with drugs will be a lifelong journey. However, the silver lining on his health and career is clear as he explains that “this illness has kind of given [him] a focus” and has helped him better identity what is most important in his life.
Via: The Guardian