Justin Bieber is an open book, to some extent anyway. Recently he released a miniseries on YouTube titled Seasons, in which he discussed his career and his personal life. There were lots of revelations in there, including one regarding a serious health condition. The young singer opened up about what it was and how it was affecting him.
The Seasons series promised from the beginning to be a major glimpse into the life of Bieber. A sneak preview of the show was given at the very end of 2019, on TV special Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. Promoting it, Bieber declared, “as humans we go through so many ups and downs. So many good seasons, bad seasons. Sometimes, we want to give up.”
When the show aired, it became obvious what Bieber meant. In episode four, appropriately titled The Dark Season, the star spoke about his past drug use. By the age of just 13, he said, he was addicted to both pills and cannabis. Growing up in the spotlight took a heavy toll on him.
Eventually, Bieber said, he turned to harder and harder drugs. While still smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol on the regular he took things including MDMA, mushrooms, and a concoction of soda, candy and codeine cough syrup. As Bieber explained on the documentary, “I felt like I was dying.”
Bieber went on to recall, “My security and stuff would come into my room at night to check my pulse. People don’t know how serious it got. It was legit crazy scary. I was waking up in the morning and the first thing I was doing was popping pills and smoking a blunt and starting my day. It just got scary.”
Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun also spoke on the documentary about the issue. He said, “[Bieber’s] gone through a lot in a very short life. You don’t always agree with someone’s decisions in that moment. They’re young people making decisions that affect a lot of people and sometimes in those scenarios, you’re gonna make the right the right decision, sometimes you’re gonna make the wrong.”
The topic of Bieber’s 2014 arrest for driving under the influence came up in the documentary. Musing on his misdemeanors, Bieber said, “These are things that I think a lot of people with secure households learn at a young age. I never had that security in a family, I never had that consistency.”
Bieber went on, “I never had the reliability and the accountability and all these things that make you understand the way the world works. I was a good kid but I was still like, a s***head.” He brought up his parents, Pattie Mallette and Jeremy Jack Bieber. They didn’t, he said, give him the “tools to be a good team player.”
Hailey Baldwin, now Hailey Bieber, also appeared on the documentary. The young model, who is a daughter of Stephen Baldwin, dated Bieber on and off between 2015 and 2018. In November 2018 Bieber announced that he had married Hailey, but they didn’t have an official ceremony until almost a year later.
Hailey said, “Justin and I were never really in each other’s lives until he chose to get sober and was trying to come off of the drugs.” And she had her doubts about becoming his wife. She explained, “I remember calling my parents when we decided to get married and I said, ‘This is the time I need you to stop me from doing something crazy, if you think this is a bad idea.”
One of the things discussed in the documentary was the time paparazzi cameras had caught Bieber crying in public alongside Hailey. The singer recollected, “I remember just struggling. I remember feeling, like, emotionally just overwhelmed and talking to her, not knowing how to communicate certain things and just feeling kind of frustrated.”
He went on, “There [have] been a lot of things that have happened in my life and this was a point in my life where I was just like, so overwhelmed… being a normal person and crying.” More pointedly, he added, “When I look at things on the internet and people are like, ‘Justin’s upset, why is he upset?’ It’s like, they don’t give me permission to be upset.”
Bieber said, “I don’t have permission to be human and shed tears, and there are so many people every day who are in a conversation with their girl or their wife or their mom and they break down, but they don’t have cameras capturing it. People are like, ‘Is he okay, is he having a mental breakdown?’ And I’m just emotional and, you know, I think that’s okay.”
Bieber also spoke in the documentary show about his Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (A.D.H.D.); he had previously revealed having received this diagnosis to GQ magazine back in 2016. He had told the publication that year, “I’m not getting restful sleep, so during the day I need Adderall. I’ve been on it for about a year now, but I think I’m about to get off of it because I feel like it’s giving me anxiety.”
For Seasons Bieber showed watchers a device called a hyperbaric chamber to the camera. He explained, “So what it does is it fills up with oxygen… I’ve been struggling with a lot of anxiety, and what it does is it actually, you get more oxygen to your brain, and so it decreases your stress levels.”
His wife joined in with, “It helps bring more oxygen to your brain, to your organs. We have one in our house. As you can see in the doc, there was one in the studio. People are gonna think [Bieber’s] a crazy person. People are gonna be like, ‘What is this contraption machine? That’s some rich people s**t.”
The makers of Seasons got up close and personal with Bieber as he visited the doctor’s office for treatment. Bieber explained to the camera, “What we are about to do is, the nurse is going to put in an IV and it’s called N.A.D.. And basically what it does is it is going to flush out some of the toxins.”
N.A.D. stands for Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide. Before he was given the drip, Justin said, “I’ve, uh, abused my body in the past, and now I’m just in recovery process, trying to make sure I’m taking care of my body, and taking care of the vessel that God’s given me. So here we go. You ready?”
Hailey explained the rest of the process. She told the cameras, “For people who used to have a drug problem, when they get sober the pleasure centers of their brain don’t work the same. So what N.A.D. does is it actually helps to repair that part of the brain and helps to repair your pleasure centers, to balance them back out.”
The documentary revealed that in 2019, Bieber had started to undergo a lot of medical analysis in order to discover the reason behind some underlying health issues. The star told the cameras, “I’ve been struggling with my energy for quite some time now and I just haven’t known why.”
But Bieber had eventually found out. In January 2020, just before Seasons came out, he wrote a message on his Instagram. It read, “While a lot of people kept saying Justin Bieber looks like s**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.”
In the comments of the Instagram post, a lot of people were supportive. One fan wrote, “It’s already enough that you have to deal with fame and stress and then this now. People always come up with ignorant comments and assumptions…You’ll get better sooner or later stay strong!” But there were jokes and scepticism as well.
Hailey answered her husband’s critics in a post of her own. She wrote on Twitter, “For those who are trying to downplay the severity of Lyme disease. Please do your research and listen to the stories of people who have suffered with it for years. Making fun of and belittling a disease you don’t understand is never the way, all it takes is educating yourself.”
In the documentary Bieber explained exactly what Lyme disease was. He said, “I realised, uh, after a series of tests that I have what’s called Lyme disease, which is a super-silent disease that’s not really very well-known… It’s very hard for doctors to test for it.” It’s estimated that Lyme disease affects 300,000 Americans every year, according to a 2014 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Bieber’s doctor, Dr. Erica Lehman, explained it for the documentary. She said, “Lyme disease is the fastest growing bacterial infection in the United States right now. And we know that it can cause a whole spectrum of neuropsychiatric symptoms. Mood changes, irritability, depression, anxiety. Justin fits the picture of these symptoms.”
Lyme disease is caused by ticks. They bite people and infect them with the disease, sometimes remaining in the person’s skin as well. The disease can be treated with antibiotics if caught early, but often ticks bite people in hard-to-see places leaving only a tiny mark, so a person might not even know they had been bitten.
Bieber is far from the only celebrity to have revealed a diagnosis of Lyme’s disease. Other people who’ve spoken out about it include Hollywood star Ben Stiller, singer Avril Lavigne, and television personality Kelly Osbourne. And in fact Hailey’s own uncle and Bieber’s relative by marriage, actor Alec Baldwin, has had it.
Alec Baldwin has never minced words about how bad he found the experience. In 2017 he spoke about it at an event for the Bay Area Lyme Foundation. He said, “I got the classic Lyme disease [symptoms] for each successive summer, for five years, every August, like this black lung, flu-like symptoms, sweating to death in my bed.”
The eldest Baldwin brother went on, “The first time was the worst of all. And I really thought this is it, I’m not going to live. I was alone, I wasn’t married at the time, I was divorced from my first wife. I was lying in bed saying, ‘I’m going to die of Lyme disease,’ in my bed and ‘I hope someone finds me and I’m not here for too long.’”
A caption on the Seasons documentary revealed that Bieber had been diagnosed with both Lyme disease and Epstein-Barr. Bieber said, “Epstein-Barr, which is mono, I have that too.” Hailey explained, “Mono makes you really sick and it makes you feel really tired. And some people can’t get out of bed because of it.”
Another one of Bieber’s medics shared something: Dr. Daniel Amen, who was described as “Justin’s brain health doctor”. He told the documentary cameras, “[Bieber] saw a psychiatrist in Los Angeles who diagnosed him with bipolar disorder and gave him lithium without ever looking at his brain. When I looked at his brain, he wasn’t bipolar.”
Bieber himself explained, “Basically, infections have played a big part in my acne and my overall toxins in the body which just creates all this stuff. So it feels good now to know why I feel so crappy all the time.” The lack of any diagnosis had, it seemed, affected both him and his wife and caused major stress.
Hailey said, “He just felt so sick and there was no explanation for what was going on. So now that we have all the answers and we know what it is and we know how to alleviate it and fix it, you know I think he’s honestly not only healthier than he’s ever been, but on the road to maintaining a healthier life than he’s ever had.”
And Dr. Amen went on, “Having got to know Justin, I know he’s got a really good heart. And when he’s balanced, he does really amazing things for other people.” Bieber’s army of fans would most likely agree with that statement. But, Amen went on, “It’s hard to do amazing things for other people when your brain’s not right.”
Bieber said as the Seasons episode neared its end, “Honestly, I’m committed to getting better, and committed to doing whatever I have to do, whether it’s inconvenient or not, because I know ultimately it’s not only for me, but being the best me is gonna help me be the best husband, the best father, the best friend I can possibly be.”
The singing superstar went on, “And for all the fans that want to enjoy the music that I make and stuff, I can’t do it if I’m not healthy and I haven’t been healthy for a long time.” He added, “There’s so many people who have gifts and an opportunity to make a change. And they end up either losing it or, you know, using their gifts for selfish reasons… I see so many talented people just, almost like it feels like they’re wasting something so precious.”
Bieber tied his health condition into his music. He told the Seasons cameras, “In the song ‘Changes’ it actually talks about how some days we want to push further, and some days we feel like doing nothing. And that often comes with our mood and our attitude towards life, you know?”
The star had a message for anyone else going through the same things. He said, “By just being here and forcing myself to get out of bed, you know it might not seem that hard to some people to just get out of bed in the morning, but it’s been really hard for me… And I know a lot of people feel that same way, so I just also want to say that you’re not alone in that, you know?”
Bieber gave an in-depth interview to Zane Lowe for Apple Music in February 2020, and it touched on many of the same things he’d discussed in Seasons. He talked about how it was his health problems which led him to cancel a tour in 2017, saying, “I was really tired emotionally, physically, and I was sick and I didn’t realize I was sick.”
His wife, Bieber said, was playing a huge part in helping him through the Lyme disease. He explained, “I think just making sure that I am just doing the right treatments for it, doing the right IVs and all that sort of stuff. Taking the necessary precautions, necessary to not get any worse, I guess. Listen to Hailey when she says she feels that I’m run down, and it’s good to have her as checks and balances. She can let me know when I’m like, ‘All right, you’re looking depleted right now.’”
But despite all his problems, Bieber is very much looking forward to the future. He told Lowe, “I’m really excited. I’m emotional thinking about it. I’m just excited to have babies with [Hailey]. I’m excited to just enjoy and just celebrate all the amazing things that we’ve been given… We just have a thing where we just say, ‘We’re so blessed.’ We are, man.”