Geezer Butler used to cut himself to “get relief” from his depression.
The Black Sabbath bassist-and-lyricist has opened up in great detail about his battle with his mental health over the years, and how he would self-harm so he wouldn’t be focused on his mental state.
In an interview with Uncut magazine about his candid memoir ‘Into the Void: From Birth to Black Sabbath – and Beyond’, he said of his battle with mental illness: “People didn’t understand. You’d go to the doctor and he’d say, ‘Go and have a couple of pints’ or, ‘Go and walk the dog.’ I thought,
‘Well, that’s not going to help me. Nobody talked about it and nobody understood it. I just thought in the end it was a normal thing to be depressed and I started cutting myself to get relief. One day I cut myself so deeply that I couldn’t stop the blood. People used to think I was really moody, but it was when the depression hit me I couldn’t get out of it, I couldn’t talk to people. People used to think I was miserable.”
The Ozzy Osbourne-fronted heavy metal band went on to have a huge hit with ‘Paranoid’, which Geezer penned about mental health, and it wasn’t until a long time after then that he decided to seek treatment and he has been on a number of different medications ever since.
The 73-year-old musician said: “Then I wrote the song ‘Paranoid’ which is all about mental health stuff and it wasn’t until ages after that that I went to the doctor and they gave me pills. I had a mental breakdown, went to a doctor in America and he put me on Prozac. After about six weeks on that, the depression started lifting. I’ve been on various antidepressants ever since.”
The band released the LP ‘Paranoid’ in 1970 and it was a huge success, giving them their first of only two number ones in the UK, along with 2013’s ’13’.
However, even all the money and success couldn’t cure Geezer’s depression.
He said: “I enjoyed the success of the album, absolutely.
“People would say you’ve got all this money coming in, you’ve got a No 1 album, what have you got to be depressed about? It’s like a disease – there’s nothing you can do about it, no matter how much money you’ve got or how happy you are with your job. When you’re in it you don’t think you’re going to get out of it. I’d go into this big black hole. And once you’re in it you can’t remember what normal life was like.
“People used to think if you were depressed, that you were antisocial, miserable.”