A compelling exploration of fame and mental health – Lisa Cameron reviews 'Lewis Capaldi: How I’m Feeling Now'
Lewis Capaldi | image courtesy of Netflix
Lewis Capaldi’s down-to-earth personality makes this excellent documentary a relatable watch
Lewis Capaldi, an inspirational artist whose music, voice and personality have touched many, has released a moving documentary on his journey through celebrityhood. This documentary takes us on an unadulterated yet emotive depiction of Capaldi’s fame, not dissimilar to his persona, equally showing us the positives and negatives of rising to become a celebrity. Capaldi introduces us to his family, upbringing, passion for music, path to fame, his struggles with mental health, and of course, his journey to recovery.
Not only does Lewis touch on the challenges of adjusting to fame, but he also importantly touches on the cognitive dissonance between the external image he portrays to others – a happy, funny, confident young man – and the internal struggles he has truly experienced. He speaks of his insecurities exponentially growing alongside his fame and also the effect of the increased unending pressures felt from his team and his fans to perform and produce. For a man who uses his voice and music to powerfully communicate his inner world, his emotional expression was turned into a business to which he felt at times his identity was lost.
Most importantly, Capaldi speaks to millions about the importance of taking care of your mental health. The down-to-earth, unassuming nature of his personality – and the openness and vulnerability that comes across in the documentary – makes his experiences extremely relatable. He touches upon the lasting impact of unprocessed or unattended childhood difficulties and traumas and the incredibly slippery slope of mental health.
Lewis is honest about his inner struggles, his experience of panic attacks, and the increased severity of his nervous twitches, later diagnosed as Tourette’s syndrome. In heart-wrenching scenes, we observe the impact of his unnurtured mental health upon his relationship with his family, loved ones, himself, and passion for his music.
It raises crucial mental health issues
Across the documentary, we see Capaldi’s ability to cope reach a breaking point, whereby he walks off stage because of crippling anxiety. At this point, his family and production team stop him from producing music (and the documentary) to focus upon himself and his mental health.
Compellingly, Lewis returns and reflects on his journey. In not so many words, he speaks of the support professionals have given him but also of the changes he had to make in himself. A new, more self-compassionate, Capaldi shares the value and importance of self-care, having a balanced lifestyle and boundaries, and giving as much time to his own health and mental health as he does to his career. A stark contrast to the Capaldi we initially saw.
Most heart-warmingly, with renewed insight, Lewis re-discovers his love and passion for music, hitting the top of the charts and preparing to perform at the O2 arena.
This excellent documentary, produced in a way which stays true to Capaldi himself, takes us through the motions of his extraordinary journey, bringing out laughter, warmth, sadness, and hope.
Significantly, it raises crucial mental health issues for us all and the importance of nurturing ourselves in an increasingly pressured world.
Lisa Cameron is SNP MP for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow
Lewis Capaldi: How I’m Feeling Now
Director: Joe Pearlman
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