Actor Donald Glover, who also goes by the stage name Childish Gambino for his musical pursuits, posted a series of troubling, handwritten notes on Instagram last week that made many wonder if the young star was struggling with depression. In an interview with People magazine Thursday, Glover said he’s happy he vented.
The concern began Tuesday night when 30-year-old Glover took photos of notes he scribbled on a hotel note pad and posted them on the popular social network. He wrote, “I feel like I’m letting everyone down. I’m afraid I hate who I really am.” And followed that by saying “I’ve been sick this year. This is the first time I’ve felt hopeless.”
Glover is widely regarded as the breakout star of the NBC series Community. According to the Los Angeles Times, he will be appearing on the hit show less frequently this year to focus on his music career and his new role on the FX comedy series Atlanta. Based on the notes he posted on Instagram, the new-found fame may be taking a toll on Glover.
However, in his interview with People, Glover said that he’s no more depressed than anyone else — he was just feeling down and needed to vent. He didn’t expound upon his comments about being “sick this year,” but seemed content with expressing his emotions in the way he did.
"I was just tired of telling people I was tired. It felt like every day someone would ask, 'What's wrong. Are you OK?'" Glover said. "And I would say, 'I'm tired, I'm tired.' I didn't want to do that anymore. I guess sometimes not telling the truth is just as bad as telling a lie."
While Glover insists he’s not depressed or suicidal, his notes do exhibit some of the common warning signs of someone who is struggling with those conditions. In an article for PsychCentral, Dr. John Grohol outlines common words and phrases that suicidal people use. They include “I feel like there is no way out,” “Life isn’t worth living,” and “Nobody understands me.”
Grohol also explained that severe depression is one of the telltale signs that someone may be considering suicide. Symptoms of depression include: sad mood, change in sleeping patterns, significant changes in weight or appetite, feelings of worthlessness, fatigue, and withdrawal from family and friends.
In Glover's case, his comments seem consistent with someone battling depression, but he insists that he’s happier now that he was able to get the feelings out there.
"I'm glad people saw it. I feel like I got some stuff out there," he said. "I got it off my chest. It felt like I had been holding on to something."
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or suicide, either get emergency help by dialing 911 or call the toll free Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to speak to someone who can help.