“This is the first time I’m being super vulnerable. This is me sharing my journey through anxiety and depression.”

Ashley Tisdale, who first broke through starring in High School Musical, is now confessing her years long battle with anxiety and depression in a new album, aptly titled Symptoms.

Tisdale told People that with Symptoms, “This is the first time I’m being super vulnerable. This is me sharing my journey through anxiety and depression. I didn’t know the anxiety symptoms I had in the past while touring. Before, I would freak out before going on stage. That was a panic attack. I had no idea what that was until I started reading about it.”

About the lead single from the album, “Voices in My Head,” Tisdale explains, “There are so many times I’m at an event or even just a social party and I feel like I’m not good enough to be there, and I feel that a lot of us struggle with that. That negative thinking, that little voice in your head…”

Tisdale hopes her new album will help erase the stigma around mental health issues. “The reason I wanted to do this album was because I wanted to make someone at home not feel so alone in what they go through. They could look at me and go, ‘We’re all human. We all go through things.’”

Tisdale adds, “It’s so easy for people when someone goes, ‘Does anyone have anxiety?’ Everyone at the table will go, ‘Yeah, I do.’ If someone says, ‘Do you have depression?’ Nobody really wants to talk about it.”  

She also told AOL, “I feel really vulnerable talking about it, and it’s weird to talk about it, but if I could make someone at home feel less alone, then I’m doing my job as an artist. I’ve gone through a journey. It’s obviously painful and hard, but it’s also the most beautiful thing.”

When recording the album, Tisdale called the studio “my happy place,” and “my safe place” where she could be creative, and she called recording Symptoms “therapeutic. I feel like it saved me from just dwelling in what I was feeling.”

And through the process of recording Symptoms, Tisdale learned to accept and embrace herself. “I think that when you struggle with those things, instead of being like ‘Oh I hate that stuff,’ I really accept it. I think that’s what makes you beautiful, that you’re not perfect.”

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