Kid Cudi Opens Up About Living with Anxiety and Depression: ‘I Turn My Pain Into Music’

Kid Cudi is sharing a powerful message about mental health.

Ahead of the Well Beings virtual town hall event, the 36-year-old rapper opens up about his experience overcoming depression and anxiety in a new video, exclusively premiering on PEOPLE.

“When we’re young, we face a lot of pressure to do things that harm us. We pretend to be happy when there’s a raging violent storm inside of our heart,” Kid Cudi says. “Once it was difficult for me to find the words. Anxiety and depression ruled my life for as long as I could remember. I was scared, I was sad, I felt like a damaged human swimming in a pool of emotions.”

“I knew I deserved peace and to be happy, but I didn’t know how,” he shares. “It took me a while to get to this place of commitment, to say I’m gonna get through this. To know that we can take our pain and turn it into something.”

“I turn my pain into music,” Kid Cudi says. “And my music is how I am different. And my difference is my power.”

HOLLYWOOD, CA – MARCH 05: Kid Cudi arrives for the Premiere Of HBO’s “Westworld” Season 3 held at TCL Chinese Theatre on March 5, 2020 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)

The rapper — who released “The Adventures of Moon Man & Slim Shady” with Eminem on Friday — first told fans about his struggles with mental illness in a Facebook letter posted in 2016. In the letter, Kid Cudi told his fans that he was checking himself into rehab to tackle his depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

“I am not at peace,” he wrote at the time. “My anxiety and depression have ruled my life for as long as I can remember and I never leave the house because of it … Its time I fix me. I’m nervous but I’mma get through this.”

After rehab, Kid Cudi spoke to Billboard about finding peace in a 2018 cover story. “I have so much joy that I don’t feel like I’m fighting anymore,” the artist said. “It was this year, around my birthday [in late January]. I’m the best I’ve ever been in my life. I realized I was genuinely happy, and there’s nothing really going on in particular.”

“Creating is making me happy again,” he added.

Kid Cudi is scheduled to participate in the upcoming Well Beings virtual town hall hosted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness and WETA, the PBS station in Washington D.C., to launch a campaign targeting the youth mental health crisis.

The Well Beings virtual town hall will also feature appearances by Ariel Winter, Billy Porter, Bill Pullman, Sean Astin, Alanis Morissette and many more and will be live-streamed on July 14 at 11 a.m. ET.