Kiwi singer Stan Walker has opened up about his mental health issues, saying his cancer diagnosis "was the easiest part" compared to his battle with anxiety.
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The 'Thank You' hitmaker explained he used to think anxiety was "fake", telling news.com.au he would laugh when he heard someone talk about it.
It wasn't until Walker "experienced an episode" that he understood the severity of the mental illness, saying it was like being possessed "by a demon".
"I started panicking. I yelled out so loud 'no' and ran downstairs to people because I didn't want to be by myself," he said.
"I thought I was getting attacked and didn't know what it was."
Walker had his stomach removed in 2017 in order to save his life. His family has an aggressive CDH1 hereditary mutation, giving them an 80 percent chance of getting stomach cancer.
Having survived cancer, Walker found the battle was not over.
"Cancer was the easiest part," he said.
"It's the mental stuff that lasts."
The 29-year-old musician said that in his darkest moments he had contemplated suicide, but that "human connection" had been the key to carrying on.
"Sometimes someone has spoken to me and it's been life and death for me and they didn’t even know," he said.
"We're humans, we sometimes lose our way, we fail, we fall over. We need that human connection to uplift us and speak life into us.
"We just need to feel loved and like we have purpose."
Walker will round out 2019 with two summer shows in Waihi and Whitianga over New Years.
Where to find help and support:
Need to Talk? - Call or text 1737
Lifeline - 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
- Youthline - 0800 376 633, text 234, email firstname.lastname@example.org or online chat
- Samaritans - 0800 726 666
- Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757
- Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)