Jimmie Allen Is 'Having a Tough Time' Balancing Bipolar Disorder During Coronavirus Isolation
"For me, what has helped [so that] I didn't have to take medication anymore was traveling and touring and meeting people," Jimmie Allen says during an appearance PEOPLE Now
"The first couple weeks was great, the last couple weeks have just been mentally rough," Allen admits during his recent appearance on PEOPLE Now. "Trying to write and create — yeah, I'm struggling right now. But it's cool, it's getting better."
Last month, the country star, 33, opened up about mental illness for the first time, revealing that he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 13. "To everyone struggling daily fighting internal battles, remember you’re not alone. Seek help. People are there for you," he wrote on Instagram.
When asked whether music has been a helpful distraction throughout the pandemic, Allen candidly admits that it isn't an effective coping mechanism for him. "Not really, honestly," he says as he explains that before social distancing began, connecting with people was his non-medicinal treatment. "For me, what has helped [so that] I didn't have to take medication anymore was traveling and touring and meeting people."
"That's kinda what was my medication for a while," Allen says. "The first couple weeks of the quarantine was easy. I was like, 'We can get through this.' The last couple weeks, when what I realized was my new medication — the touring and being around people and hanging out — was stripped, I had to readjust and figure out, 'What else can I do to help myself get through this?'"
Allen wants to avoid treating his disorder with traditional medicine because he's experienced some adverse side effects. "I didn't want to get on medication again because for me, it makes me like 'blah,' no personality, no energy," he explains. "But at the same time, I don't really want the mood swings either, so I don't know honestly. It's something I haven't figured out yet. Still trying to find a balance, but as soon as I found out one, I'm definitely going to tweet it and recommend it to people."
Since sharing his diagnosis, Allen has been hearing from others dealing with similar situations — including a fellow country musician.
"I've had a lot of people reach out. I had an artist reach out — he's a well-known country artist and he has bipolar disorder — and he said he's not comfortable enough to say it and thanked me for doing it," Allen says. "He asked me why and I said, 'Well, the one thing I don't want is for people to feel like they're on an island by themselves. When you feel like you're isolated and you're on your own, you feel hopeless and who knows what those hopeless thoughts can turn into. My thing was, if there's anyway to let them know, 'Hey, you're not in this by yourself, someone that you might listen to on the radio has the same struggles as you. It reinforces the fact that we're all human, we all struggle with something. To realize there's a way to get over it if we take the time to try to find it."
As another way to help others, Allen is launching a new Instagram series called New Artist Showcase where he will highlight unsigned artists every week. He is currently accepting direct messages from musicians looking to be featured on his show.
Upcoming stars including teen pop singer Cody Newman and fellow country musician Aaron Vance joined Allen on PEOPLE Now to discuss how he has impacted them with his newest work.
"You don't see a lot of artists supporting artists," Vance said of Allen. "I respect you a whole lot bro, for doing what you're doing because it takes a lot to do that. Out of all the people I know since I've been in Nashville, in this generation, Jimmie you're the first person I've seen to do this and that's a blessing and I thank God for you."
Allen also speaks highly of Vance saying, "We used to work out of the same building and I just always loved him. I loved his music, love who he is as a person. I even told him. I was like, 'Bro, we need to do some work together.' So, me and Aaron got some things in the works. As soon as this thing is lifted, we can get back in the studio and get back in this stuff."
Newman shared her sentiments for Allen as well, "Jimmie has really been there for me since the beginning. I'm still really growing as an artist, I think developing a community is a very important thing as an artist because helping others grow, like Jimmie said, is as important as helping yourself grow."
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