John Lennon’s Depression (+5 ways he battled it)

In this article, we will discuss the full story of John Lennon Depression, his brief biography, explore some major events from his life that resulted in depression and then address some of the questions around the topic.

John Lennon was depressed as a result of severe events from his life including:

  • Trouble and disturbing childhood
  • Death of his mother
  • Excessive use of drugs and alcohol
  • His controversy and disband of Beatle
  • Failing to live up to the public’s expectation
  • His major releases cover his life events.

John Lennon

John Winston Ono Lennon was born on 9th Oct 1940 in Liverpool, England. He was an English songwriter, singer and a peace activist. He gained fame and recognition from worldwide as a founder, vocalist, guitarist and a co-lead vocalist of the team the Beatles. 

His childhood and adolescence period was spent with his uncle and aunty since his parents were divorced. He had undergone lots of trouble when growing up, his father passed away before he became famous and earned worldwide recognition while his mother died in a car accident. His mother’s death traumatized and mentally disturbed him throughout his teen years. 

Owing to the incident of his mother, he started drinking heavily after her death and he frequently engaged in fights with others.

His senior school years were marked and known by a severe shift in his behaviour and his teachers often shared his wrong ambition, his energy being misplaced and much of work lacking efforts. His behaviour resulted in a severe disturbance in his relation with aunty.

Since he failed in the O-level examination, he was accepted in Liverpool College of Art and even over there, he was threatened to be expelled from the college because of his behaviour. 

Lenon at the age of 15 formed a Skiffle group that plays a spirited set of songs. He met Paul McCartney during the second performance of Quarrymen, the group he formed. 

His songwritings was partnered with Paul McCartney and it remained the most successful ever in musical history. The first single of the band was “ Love Me Do” which was released in Oct 1962 and it topped in British chart scoring No 17. The Beatles had achieved their success and major recognition in early 1963 in the UK 

Lenon later grew concerned and worried about his fans who often attend Beatle concerts that they are not able to hear their music over and above the screaming of the fans. And this resulted in the band’s musicianship to suffer. His song, “ Help” expressed his feelings of the fan where he said, “ I mean it….It was me singing help”. He also had his first experience with the use of LSD when he and Harrison were invited for a dinner party.

It was after the final concert of the band in 1966 that Lennon started filming a black comedy, and before rejoining with his bandmates that he had increased use of LSD. 

John Lennon and Depression

Certain episodes from his life and events result in depressive episodes and make him vulnerable to it.

He spent most of his life crying for help

Most of his life was spent on crying and in the 1960s, he also released his song, “ Help” and also composition, “ Help me to help myself”. He was believed to be a revolutionary and idealistic member of The Beatles.

People who personally know him felt that there is something lurking in him and it was believed to be a suicidal sign and a shadow that resulted in personal isolation that went on for about five years. 

Although he was dealing with depression and tough times, he still has a high hope and believes in himself. It was evident in the message he left for himself before Mark David Chapman shot and murdered in Dakota’s building.

Dear John

Don’t be hard on yourself

Give yourself a break

Life wasn’t meant to be run

The race is over, you’ve won.

His song “Help” contained the struggle he had been dealing with and the external as well as societal pressure he was facing. It had been so pressuring for him to cope up with it since it was too fast and drained him emotionally as well as mentally. 

In his song, he shared the struggle and insecurity openly, his depression and the need for someone to support him.

Troubled relation and life

Lennon when growing up had a troubling time, leaving his father and not seeing him and his mother who passed away in a car accident. He spent much of his time growing up with his uncle and aunty. While his bond with his uncle is strengthening, he passed away.

Demise of his mother and the consequent effect on Lennon

His mother’s death was a painful experience for him and his song Mommy’s death was about how can’t get over her death through his mind. It was so much pain for him and had a huge impact on him. Despite much of his time spent with his aunty, his mother’s death hurt him a lot. He always tried hard to hide away the pain and suffering since he felt expressing it will make him look like a fool.

Break of the band The Beatles 

Since The Beatles disbanded in 1970 where Paul McCartney, George and Ringo followed their own path for success, he couldn’t follow his path. This resulted in a serious psychological drain on him, it made him vulnerable to depression.

He shared how the world around him was filled with injustice, movement, social crossword that he felt very deeply and enraged him. In one of the album, he expressed his deepest thoughts while performing on a stage, “ I don’t believe in magic, I don’t believe in Elvis…I don’t believe in The Beatles…The dream is over, I was the walrus, but now I’m John”

His exposure to LSD as well as Alcohol had trapped him in a box and making music didn’t motivate him as well. It didn’t bring joy and satisfaction to making music.

Lennon’s song Mother and How?

His single mother was all about how he missed being with her, “ Mother you had me, but I never had you and the father part basically says how his dad left him, but John couldn’t mentally let go.

He did meet and saw his mom, however, he didn’t get to do and experience much of the things with her.

Another song, “ How?” is a short quick song of him. “ How can I go forward when I don’t know which way I’m facing” and the song basically has a sad tone where he doesn’t know where to go ahead in his life, what all he is doing and a subtle way of expressing he’s depressed.

Another song by Lenon, “ Help” deals with the younger life of Lenon which is much better than the present and he was self-assured at that time. And documented how his life changed as he aged and the insecurity that grew in him.

He often says the song was literally Lennon crying for help and support.

Lenon constant need for help and support

Mc Cartney shared that Lennon had never confessed that he was feeling miserable and low but found and observed that he was always seeking and looking for help and often had paranoia that people around him were dying. His father also left home when John was only three, his mother passed away and his uncle with whom he became very close also died. Thus, his whole life has been a struggle and cry for help.

His major controversy 

Another episode from Lenon’s life that severely disturbed him was when he publicly declared that Beatles were more popular than Jesus, this prompted serious burning and mass attack of Beatles’ record and he later became an anti war activist. After that, he dropped his music business to spend quality time with his wife and son.

Separation with his wife

Apart from the struggle professionally, his personal life has been a battle as well. He was depressed after his separation with his wife, Yoko Ono. He had a hard time coping with it thus, spent most of his life depending on drugs and intoxicating drinks.

The pressure of living up to public expectation

Despite that, he also carried with him the constant pressure of having to live up to others expectations and standards created. He thus spent much of his later period in Los Angele depending on drugs.

Indulgence in drug and alcohol

Lenon was severely affected by drug use and at some point, he was suicidal at a subconscious level. He spent days and nights drinking excessively and taking Librium. It was also aimed to distract his mind so that he won’t be conscious anymore.

He consumed a lot of drinks daily. His thoughts run and drive him crazy where he feels like he is jumping out of cars and cars running over him.

Strawberry Fields Forever

The song was about the strawberry field which was his escape when he felt stressed and angry. In his interviews, he shares that he often thinks he is different and no one he thinks is similar to him. It is now a section from Central Park across the Dakota street where his wife landscaped it in honour of her husband, Lenon.

These are some of the events from Lenon’s life that show serious stress and depression underlying in Lenon and how often he was bothered by these thoughts.

Lennon’s last few days

The 40-year-old artist was on his way to enter a luxurious Manhattan apartment where Mark David Chapman shot him four times with a 38 calibre revolver. 

Lenon blood heavily and rushed to hospital, however, he took his last breath en route to the hospital. 

FAQs: John Lennon Depression

What were John Lennon’s last words?

Yeah was apparently believed to be the last word of John Lenon according to some interview with policemen rushing towards Roosevelt Hospital “ I’m Shot” he responded right after bullets hit him.

What was John Lennon’s IQ?

His IQ tested at the age of 16 was 165.

Did John Lennon suffer from depression?

Yes, Lenon suffered and struggled with depression.

Was John Lennon in the Beatles?

Yes, Lenon was a member of the Beatles, however, he took a break from the band in between to spend some time with his wife and son.


In this article, we discussed the full story of John Lennon Depression, his brief biography, explored some major events from his life that resulted in depression and then addressed some of the questions around the topic.

Internal link for more information,pressure%2C%20and%20a%20Beatles%20reunion.&text=But%20it’s%20hard%20to%20think,one%20who%20taught%20and%20led.


Exploring your mind. (2018). John Lennon and Depression: The Songs No One Understood. Exploring Your Mind.


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