Local Singer Sezairi “Vomited Every Week” Before Singapore Idol Performances Due To Anxiety
Though he went on to win Singapore Idol, the singer shared with Jean Danker on her mental health podcast R U Okay? that his anxiety only continued to snowball from there, until he sought help.
Back in 2009, a fresh-faced, 22-year-old Sezairi Sezali was crowed the winner of the third season of singing competition show Singapore Idol.
And while the win was hard-earned, Sezairi, who turned 35 this year, barely had any time to bask in its glory.
Rather, he was thrown into a world of stress and mounting anxiety. On the latest episode of Jean Danker’s podcast, R U Okay?, Sezairi revealed that he actually “vomited every week” before his performances on the show.
“I suffer from a lot of anxiety, depression. It’s so bad that when I was doing the whole [Singapore] Idol thing, right, something started to happen to my body. I wasn’t sure why, [but] I vomited before I went on stage, every time, every week,” he said.
Sezairi continued on, explaining that it got to a point where all the crew members working on the show knew about it, and that there’ll be someone standing by to help him get something to settle his stomach after he threw up.
“[But] just as I sing the first line right, [the anxiety] goes away. And that is the most frustrating thing, ‘cos before I sing it sounds like hell. Like I have to go through this unnecessary hell, and I have to keep telling myself that it’ll be fine when I sing the first line,” he said.
Watch the full episode below. Our story continues after the video.
Even after his win, Sezairi didn’t have time to catch a breather. He enlisted for his National Service (NS) soon after, where he suffered his first panic attack.
“I had recurring nightmares every night when I was in NS,” he shared, adding: “Every night was a constant nightmare, and it got to a point where I became so anxious that I kept having panic attacks.
“[‘Cos I wasn’t in a good headspace], anything someone says to you that’s slightly sarcastic — and this is very common when it’s over Twitter or the Internet — 'cos there’s no judgement of tone. People can try to say nice things, but 'cos you’re not in the right headspace, everything seems bad. And everything, for me at that point in time, sounded really bad,” he explained.
Sezairi revealed that he didn’t know it then, but there’s a link between one’s gut and brain, which is why his anxiety caused him to throw up before performances during his Singapore Idol days.
He added that he had so much anxiety, he actually developed a stomach ulcer from it.
“I have scars on my stomach lining now 'cos of all the [stomach] acid that’s like, wilding in there,” he said.
Thankfully, he was able to find a way to manage his condition.
”I’m very thankful that I have a partner who is completely understanding and forces me to engage [with] these kind of things,” he said.
Sezairi tied the knot with his long-time content creator girlfriend, Syaza Qistina Tan, in 2016.
He went on to share that he only started to see a therapist about “five to six years ago”. However, he’s found that these weekly sessions have really helped him.
“I'm still talking with a therapist. Every week, actually,” he said.
“For me, with the depression and anxiety and stuff, I’ve had medication, I’ve had therapy, and for me, I feel like Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), which is kind of like talking therapy, it works best for me 'cos I feel like I’m an individual who can rationalise a lot of these things, while not being so egoistic about it,” he said, adding that he feels that “working on yourself” is one of the most important things to do.
Catch Season 1 of R U Okay? on meWATCH here. Watch the full video below to find out more about why Sezairi feels CBT works for him, and how he likens himself to this ‘cupboard meme’.
Photos: meWATCH, Sezairi/Instagram