Eminem’s “The Monster:” A Mental Health Anthem

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I have always liked Eminem as an artist, but after my diagnosis of bipolar disorder in 2009 and the in depth learning about mental illness that ensued, I realized that many of Eminem’s songs, spanning across his immensely successful albums, contained lyrics about bipolar disorder and mental health. It would have often been hard for someone without an insider perspective of bipolar disorder and mental health to have noticed these topics in Eminem’s older lyrics, but over time the lyrics about bipolar disorder and mental health came more into the forefront on songs such as “Deja Vu,” from the album “Relapse,” where Eminem rapped, “As I fall deeper into a manic state I am the prime candidate for the drug addict trait.” Mania is the defining characteristic of bipolar disorder and “manic” is the active form of the word mania.

Today, I am here to try and articulate what Eminem’s song, “The Monster,” featuring Rihanna, means to me, and why it is all about bipolar disorder and mental health as a whole. The song also once again, strengthens the case that Eminem is in fact talking about his own struggles with mental illness.

The song starts with Rihanna belting out the hook with the lyrics, “I’m friends with the monster that’s under my bed, get along with the voices inside of my head, you’re trying to save me, stop holding your breath, and you think I’m crazy, yeah, you think I’m crazy.” Voices are common in both bipolar disorder with psychotic features, and schizophrenia. So when someone sings about hearing voices, it automatically brings both of these axis 1 mental illnesses to mind.

Eminem comes in with the first verse on “The Monster,” containing lyrics pertaining to mental illness. Eminem raps, “fame made me a balloon cause my ego inflated,” which is an important line because people with bipolar disorder are known for having larger than life egos, especially during manic episodes.

Continuing in the first verse, Eminem raps, “Hit the lottery, oh wee, with what I gave up to get was bittersweet, with this like winning a huge meet, ironic cause I think I’m getting so huge I need a shrink, I’m beginning to lose sleep: one sheep, two sheep, going cuckoo and cooky as Kool Keith, but I’m actually weirder than you think.” Eminem actually says he needs “a shrink,” which is common language for a psychiatrist, who are the people who treat mental illnesses. There is also double meaning as the word shrink also means to get smaller. The line about losing sleep specifically relates to bipolar disorder. Anyone who has bipolar disorder knows that sleep cycles are extremely disrupted by the disorder, and during manic episodes, a decreased need for sleep and high energy are a couple of the biggest red flag symptoms. Eminem finishes the above lines by actually admitting that he is “weirder than you think,” which is how many people living with mental illnesses secretly feel about themselves. I am saying this out of personal experience.

In the second verse of “The Monster,” Eminem raps, “No, I ain’t much of a poet but I know somebody once told me, to seize the moment and don’t squander it, cause you never know when it all could be over tomorrow, so I keep conjuring, sometimes I wonder where these thoughts spawn from, yeah, ponder it, do you want this? no wonder you losing your mind, the way it wanders.” The line, “cause you never know when it all could be over tomorrow” is a thought that most people who are in recovery from addiction and mental illness, or have had a near death experiences, understand on a deeply personal level. Eminem has spoken and rapped about his struggles with addiction and his near death experience after a drug overdos. The lines, “so I keep conjuring, sometimes I wonder where these thoughts spawn from, yeah, ponder it, do you want this? no wonder you losing your mind, the way it wanders,” are clearly about bipolar disorder. They relate to bipolar creativity, which is the holy grail of bipolar disorder and racing thoughts, which are a major symptom of manic episodes in those with bipolar disorder. During racing thoughts, thinking occurs so quickly that people with bipolar disorder go from thought to thought. Eminem also flat out says he is losing his mind, which is clearly about mental illness.

Eminem finished the second verse of “The Monster” with the lyrics, “Cause I need an interventionist, to intervene between me and this monster, and save me from myself and all this conflict, cause the very thing that I love is killing me and I can’t conquer it, my OCD is conking me in the head, keep knocking, nobody’s home, I’m sleepwalking, I’m just relaying what the voice in my head’s saying
don’t shoot the messenger.” In the first part of this quote, Eminem raps about needing someone to intervene and save him from what is inside of his mind. The line, “cause the very thing that I love is killing me and I can’t conquer it,” is actually my favorite line of the song. When I hear Eminem rap this, I think about the strange connection that those of us with bipolar disorder have to the disorder. We hate it for all of the anguish it causes, but we love being manic sometimes for the euphoric highs, confidence, and the creativity it may bring. Eminem for the first time I have noticed, actually admits to having OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder,) in a song. Obsessive compulsive disorder is a disorder that often co-occurs with many other mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Once, again Eminem finishes the verse talking about the voices he hears in his head. Also, the part about sleepwalking and saying what the voices say to say is kind of what it feels like to be in either a depressive or manic episode. It kind of feels like sleepwalking and this becomes evident only when the episode has ended.

The mental health lyrics continue on verse three of “The Monster,” with Eminem rapping, “In the draft, turn nothing into something, still can make that straw into gold chump, I will spin Rumpelstiltskin in a haystack, maybe I need a straight jacket, face facts, I am nuts for real, but I’m okay with that, It’s nothing.” Making something out of nothing and the Rumpelstiltskin reference is what it feels like to come back from the bottom of the depths of addiction or severe mental illness to make something of yourself and obtain success that previously seemed improbable. Eminem has turned straw into gold buy using his experiences in his music like I used my experiences with addiction and mental illness to write this blog. If you still don’t buy into the fact that eminem is talking about his own mental health status, the final lines, “face facts, I am nuts for real, but I’m okay with that, It’s nothing,” are a proclamation of Eminem’s own mental illness and that he has come to terms with it.

The song “The Monster” by Eminem, featuring Rihanna, is all about mental illness. This song should draw public attention to mental health like Eminem’s song “Love The Way You Lie” brought attention to domestic violence. Rihanna is featured in both songs. Eminem’s song “The Monster” is truly a mental health anthem.

**This post it is not originally posted by me, it is in fact some sort of research that Mr. Mark Vasey had posted up a while back on his webpage, I am truly honor with this post as a Eminem fan that I am, and I took this as an opportunity to share it with all you guys, hope this article can clear a lot of you guys thoughts as it did on mines, and thank you so much Mr. Mark Vasey for providing such an interested article not only about this particular song but about Mr. Marshall Matters, Eminem.

Here is the link to video of Eminem ft. Rihanna, ‘The Monster’, so you can all enjoy it.

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