celebrity chef David Chang
Celebrity Chef David ChangImage by: David Chang
celebrity chef David Chang
12 November 2020

David Chang dishes survival tips for those living with mental health issues

David Chang
3 minutes read time

When it comes to mental illness, the hardest thing you can do is ask for help. There’s a stigma attached to it and a tabooness to it all that Movember is working to break down. That’s something that has to disappear. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

People have asked me about that defining moment I felt comfortable enough to speak out about my bipolar disorder, but it’s not something I ever hid. Those close to me knew that I had always struggled. I think I made it a lot more known on my podcast after Tony Bourdain passed. I wrote my memoir, Eat A Peach, but that’s when the book really started to take shape. 

The process of writing a memoir is different because it’s your life. You have to find certain stories of your life that are still going to tell a story in a cohesive way. I think that was difficult; trying to find moments in your life that will string together a story that will be good enough for someone to read.

I began realizing all of the people who had come to me over the years for help. They knew I was seeking help and I have always thought the worst thing that could happen was not being honest about it. To me, the best thing I could do to help others is to be as honest about my own struggle.

And this year has been quite a struggle for so many. Eat a Peach was supposed to be released in April. We were having conversations then about it, but people didn’t know what the world was going to look like in the coming months. So the release was then pushed to September 8th. I’m thankful that it’s out there, but it’s just been very weird not being able to tour and having to do everything virtually. This year has been quite the adjustment period.

Overall, I’ve been hanging in there trying to stay safe and healthy, just like everybody else. If you had a routine prior to this year, whatever that routine was…it’s definitely not happening anymore.

I’m just happy there are more people coming out who are talking about mental illness and the stigma associated with it. The hardest thing in my life and also what I’ve learned talking to others who suffer with depression is realizing that you can’t do it on your own. There are many avenues that can be taken. It’s not about calling a hotline or doing any one thing. 

If you’re not comfortable with one thing that works for others, there’s going to be something that works for you. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a friend. You just have to remain persistent.

Talking to my psychiatrist has been crucial to my development as a person that tries to get better and someone who is trying to handle all the things that happens in my head. I dream of a future where mental health is much better understood by the public and treatment has been completely and utterly destigmatized. In the meantime, reach out. Speak out. And aim for the best and fight like hell to avoid the worst.