Ryleigh Plank on nervousness, melancholy, psychological well being

Ryleigh Plank isn’t afraid to talk about mental health. No longer.

That’s the problem, she says: people don’t talk about it enough.

“I want to be part of that change – make it something that people are okay with,” she says. “It is so important to me.”

That’s why the Fort Myers singer sees her current run on “The Voice” as more than just a chance to sing on a national TV show.

It’s a platform too. Or maybe a megaphone.

And she plans to speak into that megaphone as long as you let me.

“Sometimes it feels socially unacceptable to struggle with your mental health, you know?” She says. “And I think it’s necessary to talk about it so big on a national front.

“So many people fall further into the darkness because they feel that it is not allowed or that it is not okay. It’s just so important to me that other people don’t feel the way I felt when I was a child. “

Plank, 20, says she has been battling depression, and especially anxiety, since she was twelve.

“During middle school and high school, I still struggled with bullies and people who like to spread rumors and are not nice,” she says. “It was definitely a fight, especially when I was younger.

“I also struggled with self-harm the whole time. It was just a lot of mental agony. “

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From the start, the producers of “The Voice” played their ongoing battle against anxiety and depression – and Plank says she’s okay with that. She also discusses it on her social media pages.

Plank says she has been silent about mental health long enough. She’s been doing it for too long attending schools in New York and Fort Myers (she graduated from the Center for the Arts at Cypress Lake High in 2019).

“My classmates would not have had the faintest idea that I was struggling with my mental health,” she says, “because I tried so hard that I didn’t carry anyone away, that nobody really knew”.

“So as I grew up a bit, I realized that it wasn’t something I had to or should hide, necessarily.”

Plank admits it’s an ongoing fight – and one that she says will likely always be with her.

“Depression is something I have to deal with all my life,” she says. “It’s increasing and decreasing, and I’ve learned that it doesn’t have to define me, and I don’t have to be miserable all the time.

“Right now I feel great. I feel great! But you never know: in a year I might not be so good anymore. … It varies and life happens and things change. “

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The trick, she says, is learning healthy ways to deal with depression and anxiety.

“It’s just about finding these patterns and learning what works for you and what doesn’t and what makes these feelings and what doesn’t,” she says. “You know, it’s always a learning process.”

Plank will be returning to “The Voice” for the show’s live playoffs, which begin Monday November 8th.

“The Voice” is broadcast on Mondays and Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m. Learn more at nbc.com/the-voice.

Connect with this reporter: email [email protected] or connect on social media at Charles Runnells (Facebook), @charlesrunnells (Twitter) and @ crunnells1 (Instagram)

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