Recent AEW signing Malakai Black has spoken about his battles with mental health and using depression as fuel for his creativity.
In an in-depth interview with the Drinks With Johnny podcast, Black discussed leaving a challenging home life at the age of eighteen and being around addiction:
I remember one specific point, I was 15-years old and I remember waking up in that place after another night of way too much alcohol for a 15-year old, and I look around and there’s a dude literally injecting himself and I just go, “Wow.” It’s one of those things where you’re like, ‘I don’t think a 15-year old needs to be in this surrounding.’
On leaving home at such an early age, Black revealed that he simply never felt comfortable within his family home:
My mom knows why I didn’t want to be home. It’s just one of those things where I just tried to get away from my house, from my parents all the time. I didn’t want to be around them. I felt misunderstood. Home, for me, was not a comfortable place. Home became a comfortable place when I no longer lived at home.
However, Black appears to have a unique relationship with his trauma, detailing how negative emotions can often provide fertile ground for creative inspiration:
I think all that creativity, all that anger, all that frustration, all the sadness, all the hurt can create such creative passion. It literally is sometimes, and it’s sad to say, sometimes the best fuel to create some of your best work. I’ve had some of the best matches when I was mentally at my lowest point.
Such has been the correlation between Black’s career path and his battles with depression, that he even felt that life without the illness might have an adverse effect on his wrestling career:
There was a time in my life where I thought that I was going to lose my wrestling career because I thought if I wasn’t sad or if I wasn’t depressed, I wouldn’t have any fuel to create. I wouldn’t have any fuel to make anything of myself and I would lose all the stuff that I had worked for. So, all this pain and anguish, and I hate using those words, they sound so edgy, but it’s not fun to have this really unhealthy mindset where you’ve convinced yourself that you can only be good if you’re absolutely f**king horrible and you destroy shit and you deliberately get involved with people you know are not good for you.
The interview is a fascinating insight into the mindset of one of wrestling’s most exciting stars.