John Meyer explains how anxiety affected his music and relationships

John Meyer shares how anxiety has shaped his music.  (Photo: Getty Images)

John Meyer shares how anxiety has shaped his music. (Photo: Getty Images)

John Meyer is opening up about his experience with anxiety.

The 45-year-old musician was asked to tell an experience that formed him, but that few know, during an interview on the Call her dad podcasts. “Anxiety,” she shared before reflecting on how she impacted him.

“Anxiety before there was social media that could tell you what anxiety was. Not to say it makes it easier, but anxiety feeds on feeling isolated from it and so it’s a little easier now when you can read about other people’s experiences and you go, ‘Oh, OK,'” she explained. “I mean, having anxiety in the mid-90s, late 90s was like, you think you’re going crazy. So, for me, it gave me a lot more depth.”

She has described her own anxiety as “feelings of panic” or feeling like “the walls are closing in”. She also said those feelings came with questions. “‘Why can’t I sleep?’ “What’s happening in the universe?” ‘What’s happening in my body?’ [It] turns into hypochondria. ‘Does my heart beat faster? Is my throat closing up? Why do I hear the beat in my ear?’ You know, you’re on WebMD looking for everything. And whatever it is it also makes you super inserted into yourself.”

While experiencing anxiety was difficult for Mayer, she credited him for some of his masterful lyrics.

“A lot of my music is born out of a desire for answers after feeling really, really lost because I’ve lost my way in just my head. It got to the point where, when I’d have an anxious moment, I’d think, ‘Well, here comes a song'” he said.

Mayer assured listeners that he “never tried to induce an experience just to write a song,” however, his first three records are about “managing anxiety.”

“‘Why Georgia?’ Why am I fucking here? Am I living it right? Why am I here?” she went on. “There’s a song ‘Not Myself’ on the first record. … It’s about having a panic attack in front of someone,” which again was a very real experience for him.

“I was going on a date in my senior year of high school with one of the cutest girls, I couldn’t believe it got to the point where this girl wanted to go to the movies with me. I didn’t drive until I finished high school, so i was riding a shotgun. So right there, i’m being guided by the girl i’m going to the date. When we got to the cinema, and i was eating like tums because i had such a nervous stomach – first it was like i found out the benzodiazepines — and I was eating Tums, stomach ache, and before we even got out of the car I was like, ‘I have a stomach ache, can you walk me home? ‘ And she walked me home and I went home. as soon as I got home I was like, ‘Ah.’ I am deeply uncomfortable in many situations,” she said, explaining his initial acknowledgment of her struggle. “And so, for a long time I would resist dating because it would make me so nervous that my stomach, I would, would be terrible.”

Though he’s gotten good songs from the relationships and deep feelings that have emerged during his years in the spotlight, Mayer has admitted that the anxiety of many of his previous experiences weren’t worth the success his artistic expression had brought him.

“I would, absolutely in those 20, 21, 22, 23-year-old moments, trade every song I was going to write not to get that feeling. There’s no doubt about it,” he said. “Take all the songs I’ll ever write, stop this feeling from happening right now.”

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