Ariana Grande and PTSD:
why musicians embracing their adversities will help shrink stigmatisation
25-year-old pop superstar Ariana Grande recently shared images of her brain scans which seemingly show signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, almost two years after the Manchester terror attack that occurred at her concert in 2017.
The images had been posted to the vocalist’s Instagram story, with the caption “hilarious and terrifying” alongside comparison images of a healthy brain. Grande has been open about her mental health adversities since the attack, dedicating a song on her album Sweetener to the struggles of having anxiety.
PTSD, however, is less commonly acknowledged within the spectrum of mental health. Whilst depression and anxiety are often vocalised, many other conditions often fall into the background and resultantly become more stigmatised due to a lack of education and understanding.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder may develop after experiencing traumatic events or even witnessing them. Given the nickname ‘shell shock’, the condition was first recognised in war veterans after experiencing the traumatic scenes involved in war.
The stigmatisation that PTSD sufferers may experience often involve people assuming that they are merely dwelling on past events – that there is no biological reasoning behind it. More often than not, it is not so much a negligence to understand the condition, but a lack of explanatory evidence to fully fathom its effects. With Grande’s shared images, however, the barrier between disbelief and understanding are opened up in order to allow a vast number of people to physically see the effects of the condition.
Sharing personal limitations and hardships is never easy for the average person, let alone someone in the public eye. Grande seems to be utilising her position of influence though, bringing together not only a fanbase, but a world of social media users.
Whilst it’s not the sole responsibility of music artists, influencers or celebrities to help bring a sense of understanding to mental health, there is certainly an open window to utilise their sovereignty to help the world become more acclimatised to the ways that mental health issues can affect people and more so, help bring people to a closer sense of understanding and support.
For more information on PTSD, click here.
Words by Sophie Barnden