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Huntress’ Jill Janus Opens Up About Mental Health Issues + Cancer Bout

Kathy Flynn, WickedGoddessPhotography.com

While Los Angeles-based metal band Huntress have been riding high on the success of their first two albums and subsequent tours with Amon Amarth, Lamb of God and DragonForce, among others, frontwoman Jill Janus has been battling demons few people know about.

In an interview with Revolver, Janus opens up about her battle with various mental illnesses that have plagued her for many years. The singer suffers from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and dissociative identity disorder, a condition previously known as multiple personality disorder. She also divulges that she has battled cancer, as well.

In the personal and revealing interview, Janus explains she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when she was 20. “I started to show signs of it when I was 13, though, and I struggled with it through high school,” Janus says. “It started to get dangerous in my early teens. By the time I was 20 and living in Manhattan, it was very, very difficult for me. That’s when I was admitted into a mental health facility and was diagnosed bipolar with schizoaffective disorder, which progressed into schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder.”

Janus said that she was “very suicidal” early in her life, which turned into “full-blown mania” resulting in vast memory loss. “I lost my long-term memory and can’t remember names, faces, or even places. We’ll be at a venue on tour [guitarist] and Blake [Meahl] will be like, ‘We’ve played here two times before,’ but I’ll have no recollection.”

The singer also explained her struggle with dissociative identity disorder. “My friends started to notice that I was developing these other personalities, almost as protection. I was slowly not wanting to be who I was. That started to come into play at the age of 18 when I was going to music school in Manhattan.” She adds that she took on a persona named ‘Penelope Tuesdae,’ which helped encouraged her to go out and enjoy the nightlife as well as conceal her life as an opera singer. She says, “I really wanted to split the two lives. ‘Penelope Tuesdae’ started to take on a life of her own.”

Janus’ mental health issues reached a boiling point once Huntress finished recording their upcoming third album. The singer had to be hospitalized so she didn’t hurt herself or someone around her. “Once a Huntress album is done, it’s almost like I slip into a postpartum depression. Being bipolar and schizophrenic, I have to be hospitalized.” Janus added, “I spent some time in the hospital so I could be re-evaluated and medicated properly. I’ve been prescribed new meds, so I’m feeling more stable.”

As if all these psychiatric issues weren’t enough, Janus was also recently diagnosed with cancer. “When we were on tour with Amon Amarth, I started to bleed heavily between my periods. I had a procedure, and my doctor found early stages of cancer in my uterus.” The singer had a hysterectomy in June and is on the mend. Janus concluded, “I know I’ll survive. I’ve survived much worse.”

Huntress will release their third album, Static, on Sept. 25, via Napalm Records. Fans can pre-order the effort here. The band will take part in the Motorhead Motorboat Cruise this fall. The ship sets sail from Sept. 28-Oct. 2. Check out all their tour dates at this location.

For anyone with thoughts of suicide, Janus recommends: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, To Write Love on Her Arms, and SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.

To read the full interview with Jill Janus, fans can pick up the August/September issue of Revolver magazine, which will arrive on newsstands on July 21. To order the issue, click here.

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