In a recent interview with The Guardian, original superstar DJ Sasha has spoken out for the first time about anxiety that crippled him during his time in the public eye. Despite being arguably the most famous DJ in the world at the time, the first of his kind to be paid as much as £50,000 for a two hour set, the pressure of his reputation paired with the touring lifestyle proved a destructive influence on his wellbeing.
Speaking to the Guardian's Kate Hutchinson he said, "I just couldn't cope with it…I couldn't cope with everyone knowing me, I couldn't cope with the lifestyle – it was mad." He goes on to detail how music would trigger his anxiety attacks: "I thought I was losing my mind. The more intense the music, the more intense the anxiety got. It was quite a hard period of time: I was in the DJ booth with thousands of people in front of me going crazy but I was thinking I was losing the plot."
Most tellingly given current conversations about mental health in electronic music, Sasha also describes a sense of helplessness—not knowing what the attacks were or where to turn. "I had no idea what was happening to me, and I didn't know who to talk to. It wasn't until a friend of mine explained to me what had happened to him – because he'd been off work for about three months – and I was like: 'Oh my God, I'm having the same thing.' I went to a doctor and started talking [about it]. I found that I was able to deal with it and I haven't had one for a long time."
Given Benga's words last year, and an increasing openness with regards to the connections between DJ touring lifestyles and mental health problems, hopefully Sasha won't be the first of this older generation to come forward.