Rebuttal Rewrite-RowanRat

Far Fetched or The Truth?

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the term conspiracy theories? If it is along the lines of “crazy,” “dramatic,” or “nonsense,” then you have a similar opinion compared to the vast majority. These theories have been around for as long as we can remember. Oftentimes with conspiracy theories, it involves the exaggerated ideas resulting from reading too far into something. While it may seem probable that the idea of specific lyrics containing themes of mental illness is embellished, that is not the case.

Mental illness has gained a poor reputation in today’s society. This is as a result of the influx of people claiming that they have certain illnesses, especially depression and anxiety. This makes the idea of mental illness being apparent in song lyrics that much more unbelievable. However, being that music is a form of communication, there is a guaranteed reflection of the artist’s mental state in their creative writings.

To begin with, we must understand the true meaning of conspiracy theories. According to wikipedia, it “refers to a hypothesized conspiracy with specific characteristics, such as an opposition to the mainstream consensus among those people who are qualified to evaluate its accuracy.” Rather than this information being understood as factual, it is instead represented as opinion based. In the International Review of Social Psychology, “A ‘Conspiracy Theory’ Conspiracy Theory? A Mixed Methods Investigation of Laypeople’s Rejection (And Acceptance) of a Controversial Label,” “The label ‘conspiracy theory’, while part of everyday media discourse, is considered by many as problematic.” There is a divide between those who do and don’t believe in conspiracy theories, and that divide plays a significant role when it comes to music artists and their believed mental situations.

In an article, J. Wonya speaks of the scenario involving the suicide of Chester Bennington following Chris Cornell’s death. She says, “A few years later, I overheard a coworker talking about how she didn’t believe Chester killed himself, and that it was a “setup” to get more record sales”(medium). There were many theories going around of how he wasn’t actually depressed. However, this is not the case, and can be proven through the lyrics he has created. For example, in his song, “Crawling,” he states, “crawling in my skin, these these wounds, they will not heal…to find myself again, my walls are closing in…discomfort, endlessly has pulled itself upon me distracting, reacting against my will I stand beside my own reflection. It’s haunting…” Based off of these lyrics, it is apparent that Chester Bennington was dealing with some troubles, more so than the average feelings of sadness.

In similar fashion, let’s take a look at some more proof by various artists who have been diagnosed with some type of mental illness. There are many songs with dark lyrics that are a result of the artist having mental illness. In the first place, Eminem has been diagnosed with depression and his song, “Stan”, writes “You coulda rescued me from drowning / now it’s too late, I’m on a thousand downers now, I’m drowsy / and all I wanted was a lousy letter or a call.” Another by Eminem, “Rock Bottom” writes “My life is full of empty promises and broken dreams / I’m hopin’ things look up; but there ain’t no job openings / I feel discouraged, hungry and malnourished.” These lyrics reflect Eminem’s diagnosis of depression through the negative phrases he encompasses in his music. Secondly, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day has been diagnosed with panic disorder and his band’s song, “Basket Case,” writes, “Sometimes I give myself the creeps / sometimes my mind plays tricks on me / it all keeps adding up I think I’m cracking up / am I just paranoid or am I just stoned?” Through this song, Billie Joe Armstrong includes his personal feelings and thoughts that continue to go through his mind. In addition, Morrissey of The Smiths has been diagnosed with depression and his band’s song, “I know It’s Over” writes “Oh Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head.” All of these songs demonstrate how mental illness affects and is apparent in the lyrics of those artists who are suffering.

In an article titled, “Stop Reading Too Much Into Things!(You’re NOT as Intuitive as You Think” by Counseling for men, it is expressed that, “When it comes to being intuitive, I believe people are a lot worse at reading into things than they think.” This statement confirms that when you are reading into things, you are not correct in your assumptions. Moreover, you should stop reading into things all together. This will prevent any incorrect presumptions. However, not everything is as it seems. A sad song written by an “emo” band or artist is just written for the sake of their theme. But that’s not always the case. If you were to halt any sort of investigation, you will be unable to find potential proof. And in this case, the truths of what’s going on in the artist’s minds.

As has been noted, it is completely understandable that searching for hidden clues in song lyrics that reflect some sort of mental illness is rather excessive. A song may be sad, chaotic, or fearful, but to assume that it is as a result of showing signs of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, or other illnesses does seem to stretch the truth. These beliefs are fathomable, but it is important to realize that it is not the case in this situation. There is a common link between creativity and mental illness. Many songs reflect the type of life an artist has. Further, one’s mental health is a significant part in one’s life. Therefore, it is more than likely that if an artist suffers from some type of mental illness, it will show in the songwriting of those artists. With that being said, before making a decision that will deem something unlikely, have an open mind. Some conspiracy theories may be beyond belief, but not all.


Chester Bennington’s life story and the influence of his Dark passengers. (2021, April 11). Retrieved April 12, 2021, from

Conspiracy theory. (2021, April 10). Retrieved April 12, 2021, from

Nera, K., Leveaux, S., & Klein, P. (2020, October 19). International review of social psychology. Retrieved April 12, 2021, from

Stop reading too much into things! (you’re not as intuitive as you think). (2020, June 23). Retrieved April 12, 2021, from

Wynona, J. (2020, June 25). Conspiracy theories ignore music artist’s mental health – office hrs. Retrieved April 12, 2021, from

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50 songs about depression. Retrieved March 06, 2021, from

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6 Responses to Rebuttal Rewrite-RowanRat

  1. davidbdale says:

    Your References were spaced so oddly it was hard to see where one ended and the next began, RowanRat. I’ve removed some extraneous line endings to revise them. Are they more or less correct now? What’s the nature of that random floating link?


  2. davidbdale says:

    Hey, RowanRat. I’m happy to be back here reading your arguments. Let’s get started.

    You may have heard me mention more than once that I am not a fan of Rhetorical Questions. You’ve started your Introduction with one, and then expanded it to a rhetorical paragraph with a needless and confusing comparison to conspiracy theories. It’s not a good strategy. Your Intro could easily be replaced by:

    Is it an exaggeration to say that songwriters whose lyrics express mental illness are themselves mentally ill? No, and I’ll tell you why.


  3. davidbdale says:

    If I understand your claim here, you suggest that our society is too quick to make glib claims about mental illness, too quick, I guess to unprofessionally diagnose ourselves and others as depressed or suffering clinical anxiety. (I think we also are too quick to say we’re ADHD or that we “have a little OCD.”) Is that what you mean?

    I’m not sure quite how that qualifies as a refutation of your argument, but I guess your point is that we’re so in the habit of proclaiming our friends depressed when all they are is moody that anyone writing an essay about the mental illness of songwriters is probably exaggerating.

    If I’m right about all of that, then your second paragraph could be and maybe should be replaced by:

    Is it an exaggeration to say that songwriters whose lyrics express mental illness are themselves mentally ill? No, and I’ll tell you why.


  4. davidbdale says:

    Maybe this poking around for a way to create a SKEPTICAL REFUTATION for your hypothesis is an indication that your research didn’t turn up a “Worthy Opponent.” That’s understandable, but there may be a simple workaround.

    In a few seconds, I found more than 100 sources for the search “misdiagnosis of mental illness.” Here they are:

    Now, if it’s easy to misdiagnosis, that means qualified medical professionals trained to recognize depression, suicidality, and clinical anxiety are getting it wrong in significant numbers.
    Therefore, it’s perfectly natural to be skeptical when music fans THINK THEY PERCEIVE evidence of mental illness in the lyrics of songs, without any opportunity to examine the author of the songs themselves. Does that offer you any help?


  5. davidbdale says:

    Having said all that, and in no way wanting to retract my good advice that you should find some academic sources that acknowledge how difficult it is to accurately diagnose mental illnesses, I do find somewhat compelling your example of the theory that artists might “fake” mental illness to encourage record sales.

    The problem with that line of reasoning is that it can just as easily be leveled at the conclusions YOU draw. You quote Chester Bennington’s lyrics as PROOF that he was mentally ill in the lead-up to his suicide. But once you open the door to the theory that faking mental illness is a marketing strategy, you have to acknowledge that lyrics aren’t reliable for diagnosing actual mental illness. “I write about being crazy because it sells.”


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