Shawn Mendes opens up about past anxiety: 'I actually couldn’t sing anymore'

Shawn Mendes started meditating, journaling and reading to start healing, and he has molded his daily routine around maintaining a "calm and good" state. PictureGroup

Shawn Mendes is gearing up to embark on Wonder: The World Tour, beginning with Copenhagen in March 2022, but there was a time not long ago when he felt like he would never perform again.

"My personal wellness journey started a couple years ago when I was going through a really dark time," the 23-year-old global pop star told GQ. "I had so much anxiety that I actually couldn’t sing anymore. It was all in my throat, which a lot of men experience. We often experience those emotions as tension in our back, neck and as pain in our bodies. I couldn't sing anymore, and I always had a thing about quitting. I didn’t want to quit."

Mendes said it all began to manifest "two Grammys ago," and he started meditating, journaling and reading to start healing, and he has molded his daily routine around maintaining a "calm and good" state.

"The most recent big emotional breakthrough I had was realizing I had this good guy complex that a lot of men have," the three-time Grammy nominee added. "Like a lot of men, I feel a pressure to be a good guy, I want to be a good guy, and in moments where I'm betraying that, I realized I was still making it about myself by explaining myself. I was taking up more space explaining myself, instead of creating space for the person I was hurting, my girlfriend. And in trying to be the good guy, I ended up the bad guy. That was a big breakthrough."

Mendes' girlfriend, Camila Cabello, was revealed as Glamour's first-ever global cover star:

In the accompanying cover story, Cabello, a three-time Grammy nominee who recently made her film-acting debut in Kay Cannon's reimagined Cinderella remake, also touched on mental health and therapy.

"For better, for worse, we’re very transparent with each other. I think that’s why we can trust each other so much, because it’s a very 3D human relationship. I’ll be venting or ranting about something, and he’ll be like, ‘Have you talked to X about it?’ And I’ll be like, ‘No. I’ve got to do a session.’ And he’ll do the same thing to me. I think even just the language of being like, ‘Hey, I’m sorry that I’ve been distant with you or snappy with you. I’m just struggling and I’m feeling kind of anxious.’ That level of transparency really helps a lot.


"I have this pattern of eating a lot when I’m anxious or uncomfortable. It’s a comfort thing for me. I'll just kind of become unconscious and zombie-eat a lot, and then I’ll feel sick. I’ve told Shawn about that. So at the VMAs party, I was like, ‘I’m doing it.’ And he was like, ‘It’s okay. You’re doing it. That’s okay. Let’s just take a breath and not do that.’ It’s really good for me to be able to talk about my patterns with someone."

The couple, who have been together since July 2019, have a "Breathe Into It" series through the Calm app.

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