Queen Guitarist Brian May Opens Up About Feelings of Depression Over the Holidays

Queen guitarist Brian May opened up in an Instagram post on Friday about struggling with depression over the holidays, and renewed his commitment to caring for his mental health.

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Inspiration for the next 10 years ? Thanks to my dear friend Joe Elliott @defleppard I have this great image of my hero Jimi Hendrix on my wall to remind me to keep reaching for the stars. Ach ! A bit too glib for you ? Well, that's my brave face. Most of this Christmas period I haven't wanted to show my face because my face was grim. There's something about this time of the year that paralyses me. Depression, hopelessness, fear ... I get engulfed. Is it logical ? No. Should I be grateful for my life and therefore NOT depressed ? Yes. But none of that makes any difference when you look up and the colours have gone out of the world. Tomorrow I am wrenching myself back into 'normality' - starting with some biking and stretching and hot and cold showering. Oh ! And the Veganuary quest ? It went OK on Day 2. Breakfast : half a grapefruit and crispbread with plant-based spread and home-made marmalade. Jasmin tea, black. Lunch : a Vegan Leggera Padana in Pizza Express with my littlest ones. That's very easy - they do it all for you - they make it with Vegan cheese and it tastes just like 'normal' ! And for Dinner : some nice light veggies prepared by my amazing wife ! There are SO many great vegetables in the world - artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, roasted parsnips, new potatoes, and a rocket and tomato salad, perked up with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar from dear old Luciano Pavarotti's home town. Plus a nice selection of nuts and raisins. Hey ! This is a doddle !! Ha ha !! Well, we shall see ! Happy Friday folks ... we'll soon be out of this murky Sargasso Sea ! Bri

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In a selfie with a portrait of rock icon Jimi Hendrix, May thanked Def Leppard vocalist Joe Elliot for the artwork. He called the picture "inspiration for the next 10 years" and a reminder "to keep reaching for the stars."

After asking if the sentiment was "a bit too glib," the "Bohemian Rhapsody" guitarist declared that it was his "brave face."

"Most of this Christmas period I haven't wanted to show my face because my face was grim," he said.

May went on to explain that the holiday season can be a difficult time for him. "There's something about this time of the year that paralyses me," he wrote. "Depression, hopelessness, fear... I get engulfed."

He also noted that depression can affect anyone, seemingly without any reason. "Is it logical? No. Should I be grateful for my life and therefore NOT depressed? Yes," he wrote. "But none of that makes any difference when you look up and the colours have gone out of the world."

The Queen guitarist vowed to take steps towards better mental health. "Tomorrow I am wrenching myself back into 'normality'-starting with some biking and stretching and hot and cold showering," he continued. He also added that he's participating in Veganuary, which is a U.K. event that encourages people to go vegan for the month of January.

Queen's publicist declined a request for comment from Newsweek.

Def Leppard's Instagram account shared a supportive comment on the post. "We love ya Bri!! Better days ahead," they wrote.

In 2012 May—who holds a doctorate in astrophysics—revealed in an interview with Astronomy that he went through depression following Queen frontman Freddie Mercury's 1991 death. "At the time, I couldn't think of anything I enjoyed. I was just in a very black place," the guitarist said. He spoke about rediscovering pleasure while staying at a clinic in Tucson, Arizona. "I figured out, because of the beautiful skies there, that one of my greatest joys was just looking at the stars," he said. "So I feel anchored to the universe in some way. It's quite a powerful force in my life."

May's Instagram post was not the first time the guitarist has spoken candidly about his mental health on social media. In February 2019, he shared a photo of the moon, apologizing for not wishing his followers a happy Valentine's Day. "I hope you all had a good one. I was too depressed to go near social media," he wrote. I had probably the most miserable V day of my whole life. Owing to a diary oversight I was alone all day, and really couldn't face going out to eat on my own."

"I do NOT want sympathy, so please don't give me any," May wrote in his 2019 post. "But now you know that this particular rock star does not have a magically perfect life. Maybe that's a useful thing to know."

Brian May
Brian May of Queen performs onstage during the 2019 Global Citizen Festival: Power The Movement in Central Park on September 28, 2019 in New York City. Kevin Mazur/Getty
Queen Guitarist Brian May Opens Up About Feelings of Depression Over the Holidays | Culture