Pop megastar Harry Styles, 28, opened up about going to therapy after years of feeling like it wasn’t for him, in a recent interview published in Better Homes & Gardens. “I thought it meant that you were broken,” Styles told the magazine, which featured the singer as their June cover star. “I wanted to be the one who could say I didn’t need it,” he continued. Fortunately, his initial reluctance eventually eased, and five years ago, Styles started seeing a therapist. The sessions have allowed him to “open up rooms in himself,” he said.
“I think that accepting living, being happy, hurting in the extremes, that is the most alive you can be. Losing it crying, losing it laughing—there's no way, I don’t think, to feel more alive than that,” Styles said.
During the COVID-19 pandemic—and the isolation that came with it—the former One Direction member felt compelled to dig even deeper. “In lockdown, I started processing a lot of stuff that happened when I was in the band,” Styles said. One Direction, which launched in 2010 thanks to Simon Cowell and the talent show The X Factor, quickly went on to earn millions of fans around the globe, according to Rolling Stone. In 2014, the band’s Where We Are Tour, in support of their album Midnight Memories, was the highest-grossing concert tour of the year, pulling in a massive $290 million, according to Forbes. It remains in the top 20 highest-grossing tours of all time. But by 2015, the band had gone on hiatus. In the interview, Styles elaborates on his time with the band, saying that he was often asked to share much of himself with the world, including childhood photographs that were given to The X Factor, “to get people to engage with you, to like you.”
The singer also explained that becoming a solo artist liberated him from some of the trappings that came with being in a band, saying that he had previously signed cleanliness clauses that stated an agreement could be voided if he did anything unsavory, according to the magazine. Before he went solo he felt like very few parts of his life were for him, and him alone. “For a long time, it felt like the only thing that was mine was my sex life. I felt so ashamed about it, ashamed at the idea of people even knowing that I was having sex, let alone who with,” Styles said. But after more time in the industry, and learning more about himself in therapy, he was able to shed some of the feelings of shame and guilt he experienced. “I got to a place where I was like, why do I feel ashamed? I'm a 26-year-old man who’s single; it’s like, yes, I have sex,” Styles said.
Styles’s third album Harry’s House will be released on May 20. The star will also perform for 10 nights at Madison Square Garden from August 28 to September 21 as part of his international Love On Tour.
If you feel like you might benefit from therapy but you’re not sure where to begin, start by considering what you are looking to get out of it, as SELF has previously explained. You may even consider jotting down some notes about topics you’d like to discuss. “Sometimes knowing what you want to share and what you feel comfortable sharing early on with respect to any traumas you may have experienced in your life is important, as that’s some critical information that therapists are going to want to know about,” psychologist James Rodriguez, PhD, director of trauma-informed services at the NYU McSilver Institute, told SELF previously. Next, you can start narrowing down who you would like to speak with. Psychology Today offers a useful Find a Therapist tool, which can allow you to filter therapists based on your location or specific needs. Other helpful platforms include GoodTherapy, Therapy for Black Girls, and Inclusive Therapists. You can also browse this list of mental health resources for marginalized communities or check out this list of mental health tips from real therapists.
Originally Appeared on SELF