Justin Bieber is not holding back as he takes audiences inside his world for the first time since his four-year hiatus from music.The 25-year-old singer is documenting his return to the studio for a 10-part YouTube series, Justin Bieber: Seasons.
In the first four episodes he got very candid about the creative process behind his new album, rebounding from a dark period in his life and his romance with wife Hailey Bieber. Now, in episode five, he’s opening up about his battle with addiction and Lyme disease, which was recently exposed in the press.
Ahead of the docuseries’ debut on YouTube, Bieber took to Instagram to address reports about his diagnosis. “While a lot of people kept saying Justin Bieber looks like sh*t, on meth etc. they failed to realize I've been recently diagnosed with Lyme disease, not only that but had a serious case of chronic mono which affected my skin, brain function, energy, and overall health,” Bieber said, adding that “these things will be explained further” in Seasons.
“It feels good to share, to be honest,” he says in the episode, revealing why he never talked about this publicly before. “I don’t think I was ready or mature enough to even take responsibility and like really mean it.”
Here are the biggest revelations from episode five of Justin Bieber: Seasons, which is now available on YouTube Premium.
The latest installment opens with a trigger warning that it “contains raw and honest discussions about addiction and anxiety,” before Justin gets candid about the first time he smoked weed at the age of 13, and how he quickly became dependent on it. “That’s when I realized I had to stop,” he says.
From there, the singer goes on to reveal that started drinking lean (a narcotic substance often called “purple drank” or “sizzurp”), taking pills, doing Molly and trying Shrooms. “It was just an escape for me. I was young,” he says, adding that by growing up in front of the spotlight, people saw that and took advantage of the situation or latched onto it. “My experience was in front of cameras and I had a different level of exposure.”
“I think when you take somebody very, very young and they get horrible, crazy crippling anxiety and it goes undiagnosed and you don’t know what it is you are feeling, you start to self-medicate because it makes you feel better,” his wife Hailey says. “Just helping not to feel anything.”
Scooter Braun, his manager, says that around 19 years old is when the “dark period” started, when the singer was getting in trouble with the law or caught acting out on camera. “We didn’t speak a lot during the time he was running amok,” his friend Ryan Good adds.
“I started valuing the wrong things in this business because there were things dangling in front of me,” Justin says as the episode recounts all his troubling headlines.
He goes onto say people with secure households learn at a young age not to do that stuff. He never had that security or family or consistency or reliability and accountability – all these things that might normally make someone understand how the world works. He was a “good kid,” but acted out and didn’t respect authority. “The truth is, I never had the tools. My parents never gave me those tools to be a good team player,” Justin says.
“There was chronic stress,” Dr. Daniel Amen, Justin’s brain health doctor, says, referring to his tumultuous childhood.
Hailey says Justin and she weren’t in each other’s lives until he got sober.
Justin decided to stop because, “I was, like, dying,” he says, revealing that his security team was coming into his room at night to check his pulse and make sure he was alive, and in the mornings he would be back to popping pills and smoking weed. “People don’t know how serious it got,” he says. “It was legit, crazy scary.”
“I basically said to myself, ‘God, if you are real, you get me through this season of stopping these pills and stuff, and if you do, I’ll do the rest of the work,’” he says, adding: “I never did the actual work. I got off the pills but never went to the root of everything so I just circled back around which most people do.”
Dr. Amen recalls meeting Justin in September 2014 and “he was a wreck.”
“Mental health is so important to get on top of. If you have ADHD or something you don’t want to take medicine, I strongly believe in it, it’s not the only answer but it can help you. So, that’s my advice to you,” Justin says, adding that he’s been using an oxygen chamber to help him cope with his anxiety. Hailey explains that it brings more oxygen to your brain and organs. “We have one in our house. As you can see in the doc, there was one in the studio,” she says. “People are gonna think he’s a crazy person. People are gonna be like, ‘What is this contraption machine? That’s rich people shit.’ I don’t know.”
Later in the episode, Justin goes to the doctor’s office to get a nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide IV treatment, which will flush out toxins. “For people who used to have a drug problem, when they get sober, the pleasure centers of their brain don't work the same,” Hailey explains. “So what NAD does is actually helps to repair that part of that brain and it helps repair the pleasure centers to balance them back out.”
“I have abused my body in the past and now I am just in the recovery process, trying to make sure I am taking care of my body and taking care of the vessel that God’s given me,” Justin says before revealing that in 2019 he underwent a series of medical tests to get his health better.
He says he has been struggling with his energy for some time now. He realized after a series of tests that he has Lyme disease, which is very hard to test for and hard to diagnose. “Lyme disease is the fastest growing bacterial infection in the United States right now,” Dr. Erica Lehman, a Lyme disease specialist and Justin’s doctor, says. “It can cause a whole spectrum of neuropsychiatric symptoms -- mood swings, irritability, depression, anxiety. Justin fits the picture of these symptoms.”
In addition to Lyme disease, the singer also has been diagnosed with Epstein-Barr (EBV), which is commonly known as mono.
This recent revelation comes after Justin saw a therapist in Los Angeles who diagnosed him with bipolar disorder and gave him lithium without properly assessing him. “When I looked at his brain, it wasn’t bipolar,” Dr. Amen says, adding that “it’s hard to do amazing things for other people when your brain’s not right.”
Hailey says he felt so sick and there was no explanation for what was going on before he got the proper diagnosis. “Now that we have all the answers and know how to alleviate it and fix it. I think he’s honestly not only healthier than he’s ever been, but he’s on the road to maintaining a healthier life than he ever has,” she adds.
Justin then says he is committed to getting better whether it's inconvenient or not. It’s not only for him, being the best version of himself will help be the best husband, father and friend he can possibly be. For all the fans who want to enjoy the music he makes – he can’t do it if he’s not healthy.
“There are so many people who have gifts or an opportunity to make a change. And they end up losing it or using their gifts for selfish reasons. I see so many talented people and it feels like they’re wasting something so precious,” Justin says. “It’s up to us as individuals to use the gifts that we’ve been given to contribute.”
The singer also explains that it might not seem hard to some people to get out of bed in the morning, but it has been really hard for him to get out of bed. “I know a lot of people feel the same way. So, I just also want to say you’re not alone in that,” Justin says. “Life is worth living. If you’re not going to give up, the only thing to do is push forward. That’s it.”