Lewis Capaldi says antidepressants mean he 'can't get a hard-on to save his life'
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Lewis Capaldi has admitted the antidepressants he’s on mean he ‘can’t get a hard-on to save his life’, having spoken out about his experiences with anxiety, panic attacks and Tourette’s syndrome in a new Netflix documentary.
Released later this week, How I'm Feeling Now is an ‘all-access’ film, following a year in the singer’s life as he ‘tries to balance his fame with his desire for normalcy.' The new documentary also shows the Bruises singer 'dealing with the pressure to somehow eclipse his wildly successful first album amid increasingly difficult mental health issues’.
While the feature-length film features plenty of the trademark humour that fans have come to love from Capaldi, it also offers an honest exploration into the various mental health issues he's found himself grappling with since the hugely successful 2019 album, Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent. That, and the pressures of the follow-up sophomore album, which has landed four years later.
We see as he starts developing nervous tics in his shoulder, which he later discovers is due to Tourette’s syndrome.
“This twitch became out of control and it was awful, it was absolutely horrific,” Capaldi says.
“It started to get in my head about these pressures about being like, 'Oh f**k, there's like skin in the game now, rather than just me singing my silly little songs. Other people are depending on me.'”
He also says he suffers panic attacks, which leave him feeling ‘disconnected from reality’, and as if he’s ‘going insane’.
“I can’t breathe, like I can’t feel my breath going in,” Capaldi continues.
“It's f**king wild. And I get dizzy and... I'm sweating, my whole body starts to do what my shoulder does.”
Later in the film, the star says he’s decided to start visiting a therapist, and is also on an antidepressant drug called Sertraline, which can be used to treat a number of conditions, including generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder and social anxiety.
“I’m on these f**king pills, Sertraline,” he says.
“They’re not doing anything except for I can’t get a fucking hard-on to save my life. Sorry.
“And they gave me the s**ts for six weeks... so that was great.”
Capaldi's amusing candour on the topic will no doubt prove a refreshing watch for viewers, but also highlights the breadth and depth of the effects mental health issues can have, especially among those who can seem so positive and upbeat.
His parents, Mark and Carol, reveal their superstar son isn’t the ‘happy chappy guy’ many of us see on stage, in interviews or on social media.
Mum Carol says: “You think, ‘Where is all this coming from? All these deep, meaningful words that he manages to get into a song?’
“I mean, I think everybody’s complicated, they’ve got things that they keep to themselves, and that’s just Lewis. He’s not just the comedian we all think he is.”
Dad Mark adds: “He sees humanity, that darkness, and he understands it, and he can vocalise it.
“And that’s where the conflict possibly is as well, because the darkness comes over the happy chappy guy and manifests itself in all the tics, the anxiety and all the other things that he’s kind of surrounded in.”
How I'm Feeling Now premieres on Netflix on Wednesday 5 April.