DMC Admits He Drank Alcohol Heavily to Medicate Undiagnosed Depression
The New York rapper, born Darryl McDaniels, admits that he was a functioning alcoholic for over 20 years, during which he believes he was drinking to medicate undiagnosed depression and anxiety. He decided to seek help after a harrowing binge in Las Vegas following the fatal shooting of Run-DMC's longtime DJ, Jam Master Jay.
"I never accepted or faced my emotions about [Jay's death]," DMC writes. "That New Year’s Eve, DJ Hurricane of The Beastie Boys invited me to Las Vegas—one of the worst places I possibly could have gone. I was sitting in the suite of the hotel, and I had just drank a fifth of Rémy Martin, by myself. I sat there in this room alone, drinking a bottle that maybe 30 people could share. I looked at the bottle, and something in my head said, 'D, you can’t get higher than this. If you keep drinking, you’re gonna kill yourself.'”
After the Vegas trip, DMC entered rehab and ultimately started seeing a psychiatrist. He writes that therapy helped him accept his own struggles with mental health, which he resisted while recording and touring with Run-DMC. As a successful artist, DMC shares that he found it difficult to find sympathy, especially after discovering in the late 1990s that he was adopted.
"Run and Jay would say, 'Suck it up,'" he admits. "They couldn’t understand how it feels to find out at age 35, out of nowhere—all my cousins knew, all my teachers knew, all the doctors knew, all the nuns knew—that you were adopted."
The "Walk This Way" MC closes with an impassioned screed encouraging others to stop stigmatizing mental health problems and seek healthy solutions like therapy.
"Hip-hop is about keeping it real. Telling the truth," DMC continues. "A lot of men, they’re fronting. They’re hiding the truth. They lie. They take substances. They act tough. They’re violent. They talk a lot to hide the fact that they are going through something. Admitting that you have a mental health issue is not being soft. It’s the hardest, most powerful thing you can do for yourself."
DMC's essay comes two weeks after Bryston Tiller tweeted about combatting depression last year. Hopefully, opening up becomes a trend.
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