Simon Cowell On The ‘Super Positive Effect’ Of Therapy In His Life

Simon Cowell regrets not seeking mental health therapy earlier in life, acknowledging COVID-19 as a catalyst for change. The pandemic-induced anxiety led him to reevaluate his mental well-being.

Contrasting his past skepticism about therapy with the portrayal of it in American dramas, Cowell initially dismissed it as dramatic. However, witnessing friends’ severe COVID-19 cases prompted introspection. Friends’ positive therapy experiences led him to explore the subject.

Keep on reading to learn more.

Simon Cowell Opens Up About His Mental Health Journey

Simon Cowell at America's Got Talent Season 17 - Live Show Winner Red Carpet

In the first episode of “The Mirror’s Men in Mind” podcast, created in collaboration with the mental health organization Mind, Simon Cowell, 63, expressed regrets for not seeking mental health therapy sooner in life, admitting that COVID-19 was the catalyst for his decision.

According to People magazine, the “America’s Got Talent” creator previously attributed his occasional depression to his character trait, noting, “I’ve suffered from depression over the years… but that was just something I just thought, ‘Well, that’s my character trait. I get down,’ and it’s something you deal with.”

Cowell now acknowledges the significance of seeking professional help, adding, “I wish I had done this 10 or 20 years ago… it’s like a weight has lifted off my shoulders.”

Expressing relief at the “super positive effect” therapy has had on his life, Cowell’s newfound perspective also led him to reevaluate his priorities. He revealed that therapy prompted him to stop obsessing over TV ratings, a habit he had been fixated on in the past.

COVID-19 Prompted Him To Reevaluate His Mental Health

Simon Cowell wears a mask grocery shopping

Describing his anxiety during the pandemic, Cowell recounted his fear of contracting COVID-19 after witnessing friends’ severe illness. He shared concerns about the virus affecting his son Eric and fiancée Lauren Silverman, stating,” So, I thought, ‘God, if I catch this, maybe the same thing’s going to happen to me, Eric and Lauren.”

The constant barrage of news of friends getting ill intensified his anxiety, leaving him feeling clueless and “just petrified.” Despite his worries during the challenging “nightmare” period of the pandemic, Cowell eventually contracted a relatively mild case of COVID-19. This experience prompted him to reevaluate his mental health and seek ways to enhance it as the world reopened.

Reflecting on his time during the pandemic, the music mogul shared that it gave him time to “reflect on things in a way I never would have done before.”

Simon Cowell

He continued, “As things started to calm down a bit, it was almost like now I’ve got to go from there, back into the real world. How do I feel about that? And that’s when this whole notion of — I started to hear a lot more people talking about mental health.”

Receiving suggestions from friends who found therapy beneficial, Cowell, driven by his natural curiosity, delved into the subject of mental health. 

Recognizing the need for a change, he likened his mental health journey to his “head going to the gym.”

He Found Therapy ‘Dramatic’

English TV personality Simon Cowell arrives at NBC's 'America's Got Talent' Season 17 Kick-Off Red Carpet held at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on April 20, 2022 in Pasadena, Los Angeles, California, United States.

Recalling his upbringing in the U.K. and his exposure to American dramas, Cowell noted how characters often discussed therapy, which he found “dramatic and over the top.” Being British, he couldn’t relate to the concept at the time, viewing it with skepticism.

The “X Factor” creator confessed that he “never took (the notion of therapy) seriously” until he went through the trying experience of COVID-19. During this period, coupled with his supportive friends’ openness, he began to reconsider his perspective.

As mental health conversations became commonplace, the idea of introspection began to resonate with Cowell. Despite his initial uncertainty about where to start, he sought guidance from friends on finding a therapist.

Their advice was simple, ” ‘Find someone you clicked with.’ And what if you don’t? ‘Well, then you go to somebody else.’”

Simon Cowell On A Pivotal Moment In His Therapy Session

Simon Cowell arrives to AGT with an unbuttoned shirt

Reflecting on his first therapy session, Cowell shared his initial embarrassment and admitted feeling unsure where to begin. However, within just 20 minutes, he found himself at ease and felt a strong connection with the therapist. 

“It was as if I’d known (the therapist) for 10, 20 years, he’d put me so much at ease, and you realize you’re talking to a professional, and they don’t judge you, they listen to you,” he recalled to The Mirror, per People.

Through regular therapy sessions, Cowell confronted the mental health challenges that had been impeding his progress, including his excessive focus on TV ratings.

A pivotal moment came during a therapy session where the therapist asked, “Do you consider your best work to be the highest-rated thing you’ve ever done?” 

“And I said, ‘No,’” Cowell told the publication, adding, “And he said, ‘So why are you judging yourself on that?”

Describing the experience as liberating, he expressed relief from the burdens he had been carrying. Cowell now openly discusses his journey to encourage others. He said, “Now I am happy to talk about it to encourage others too.”

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