Billy Corgan’s depression and suicidal thoughts (+Understanding what he went through)


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Page last updated: 10/11/2022

Billy Corgan’s depression and suicidal thoughts (+Understanding what he went through)

This article will show how Billy Corgan has written many songs that are related to his mental health condition. In it, we will explain how some of them were related even to suicidal thoughts, and what are ways the artist copes with these feelings.

Billy Corgan’s depression and suicidal thoughts

Billy Corgan m, the frontman of the band Smashing Pumpkins has been open and honest about his mental health. He has stated that he not only felt depressed before, but experienced panic attacks, and suicidal thoughts.

In many interviews, like the one given to a podcast called Why Not Now? hosted by Amy Jo Martin, the singer shared how he felt his life change completely, in 1991, with the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind, and Pearl Jam’s Ten.

Back then he was seeing himself as a possible good musician. He was happy with what he had achieved so far and felt like he was going in a good direction. But as soon as those two albums were released, he felt the winds of music go in a completely different direction. He began to feel out of place and questioned his capability. His confidence was shaken.

He felt like all that he had envisioned for himself, all that he was preparing himself to be, wasn’t going to happen anymore. As he has shared: “Within a short period, I went from thinking I was very successful within my given field, to all the rules had changed in my given field,”.

He also explained how he saw his future crumbling before him: “Everything I had built myself up to be and do was no longer as relevant as it needed to be. I went into a very strange depression because I felt like something had not been taken, but the change made me feel kind of inadequate in a way I wasn’t prepared for.”

During that time, he began to have massive panic attacks. When describing how they were, he said, to Howard Stern in 2018: “I would be in the shower, and my heart would start racing, and I was like, I’m losing my mind. Now I understand. It’s the worst.”

The suicidal thought became frequent, and he began to constantly think about jumping out the window. It got so intense that he got to a point in which he was giving away his belongings and planning his eulogy. This is known as a clear sign of suicidal ideation. 

And even though he went through that for some time, he said it reached a point in which he understood he wasn’t going to end his life. At that moment, he had a breakthrough: “I woke up one morning, and I kind of stared out the window and thought, ‘Okay, well, if you’re not going to jump out the window, you better do whatever it is you need to do,’”.

At that moment, he wrote what possibly became one of the most famous Smashing Pumpkins songs “Today”. And even though people may not relate to suicidal thoughts, since it talks about how to make today a great day, Billy Corgan said “I just thought it was funny to write a song that said today is the greatest day of your life because it can’t get any worse.”

And even though after this breakthrough he managed to find a way out of that dark place, he has stated that he needs to keep his mental health in constant check. He said that he will always need to care for that, since he believes the traumatic experience of having gone through abuse by his stepmother, in his early years left a mark on him.

As for what helped him through the suicidal thoughts, he has said that for him, it is related to a spiritual question. And even though he understands it is different for everyone, he has said: 

“To me, it is a spiritual question. This is my version. You are saying to God, ‘I don’t accept my circumstance, and I’m going to stop this game. The secondary part of that is you are saying, ‘I can’t imagine a tomorrow where there will be laughter or happiness.’ That is unfathomable to me now, and that’s what keeps me going. I think of my son. I think about how I could sell everything and move to an island.”

Billy Corgan’s depression and suicidal thoughts (+Understanding what he went through)

What are the signs Billy Corgan was depressed?

In going over what has been said, it is possible to find many signs of depression. It not only shows in the affirmations of the singer but in the presence of suicidal thoughts. Along with that, the low sense of self-worth, and how he had a negative view of himself can be a sign of depression.

The loss of interest he felt in his music career, shows how depressed people can lose interest even in things they loved. They will also have a hopeless view of the future, and lose their purpose as he did.

Another important factor in what he said is the belief that having gone through a traumatic effect is what caused him to get depressed. 

And even though now it is known how there are some factors such as genetics, or imbalance in the person’s brain chemistry that can cause depression, having a connection as to how a traumatic experience caused it, helps let go of the stigma that depression is a choice or a sin.

And finally, the most important thing that he brought to the discussion is the notion that caring for your mental health is a constant thing. People still struggle in realizing that caring for your mental health should be done the same way as you care for your physical health. So for him to highlight that, opens space for this discussion.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Was Billy Corgan depressed? 

Why can celebrities get depressed?

Celebrities can get depressed for all the same reasons everyone else will get depressed. And even though it may be strange, and some people would assume that because they have financial security, and millions of fans, they don’t have a reason to be depressed, depression is not related to those things.

Depression can come, as said by Billy Corgan when a person starts to lose track of their worth, and not any form of reassurance will change their mind. It is an inside job, in which the person, even celebrities, will have to find their path and a new sense of self-worth.

What are the most common symptoms of depression?

Depression can lead the person to experience intense sadness. It can also cause them to lose interest in things, even the ones they used to love. Depression can also cause the person to have less energy, and become fatigued. Their ability to focus will also be smaller.

It often changes the person’s eating, and sleeping patterns, as it causes the person’s self-esteem and self-worth to go down. When depressed the person may feel more irritable, guilty, empty, hopeless, and become isolated. It can also make the person experience excessive crying, and may even lead to self-harm, thoughts of death, and suicide.

Does depression have a cure? 

No, depression doesn’t have a cure. Rather than that, mental health professionals say that depression goes into remission. That is because once the person is feeling better, it is impossible to say they won’t experience another depressive episode in their lifetime.

And even though this can be discouraging to someone struggling with depression, or that has just gotten into remission, you shouldn’t be afraid. Keep in mind that once you go into remission you will be able to experience joy again. And not only that, you will regain control over your emotions, and interest in things you used to love.

And once you are in remission, just try to maintain the care for your mental health. This is one of the most important ways to prevent you from having a relapse in the future.

What are suicidal thoughts? 

Suicidal thoughts, or suicidal ideation, are ones in which a person thinks about ending their own life. It can happen in two ways: a more passive one, and a more active way. 

In the first one, the person will have a fleeting thought about ending their life, but there is no concrete plan for it. The more active plan is the one in which the person will plan how, when, and where to do it. This tends to be the most dangerous type of suicidal thought, which the person can act on in a moment of impulse.

What are signs someone is having suicidal thoughts?

When a person is having suicidal thoughts, some things may let other people know they are thinking about it. They may become more agitated, and irritable. And even though their sleeping patterns have changed before, when they are suicidal they can make them experience insomnia.

Aside from that, when a person is having suicidal thoughts, they can start to say goodbye to their loved ones, and give away their belongings. It is also possible that they will begin to show curiosity in news, and conversations involving death, violence, or even suicide.

How can I help a friend that has suicidal thoughts?

If you think one of your friends is having suicidal thoughts, the first thing you may want to do is talk to them. Have an open and honest conversation, and ask them if they are thinking of ending their own lives.

Because suicide is such a taboo, many people may have trouble talking about it with others. They may fear worrying about their loved ones or showing how weak they are. So by asking them, you will make them more comfortable with talking about it. 

It will also show that you are there to support and understand them, rather than judge them. At this moment, it may be important to understand at which moment of the suicidal thought they are, if they have been planning it or not, and talk to them about getting the professional help they need.

Aside from that, if you notice they have been the active way of suicidal thoughts, it may be important to talk to their support network and set a schedule so your friend is not left alone. It is also important to take out of the reach things they can use to harm themselves.


This article centered around showing how the singer/songwriter Billy Corgan has shown through his songs and interviews his battle with depression and suicidal thoughts. 

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write them in the section below.


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