Frankie Jonas says being called Bonus Jonas affected his mental health
23 April 2021, 14:59
"I've always dealt with a lot more than just anxiety. At the time, I didn’t know that I got panic attacks. I didn’t know that I had obsessive thoughts. I didn’t know that I would go on to be diagnosed with PTSD."
Frankie Jonas has opened up about growing up in the spotlight and the detrimental affect it had on his mental health.
As you know, Frankie is currently killing it on TikTok. Thanks to his absolutely hilarious skits he's raked up almost 2 million followers in less than six months and he recently signed with United Talent Agency. However, before TikTok fame, Frankie lived in the shadow of his famous siblings the Jonas Brothers, made up of his brothers Joe Jonas, Nick Jonas and Kevin Jonas.
In a recent interview with Bustle, Frankie spoke about how growing up in the public eye affected his mental health after the family moved from Jersey to Los Angeles, which made him feel like his "future just slowly died". He was often called "Bonus Jonas" by fans, a name which he now hates. "I always hated that nickname," he told the publication. "A lot of my problem with being in the public eye was that I was seen as this commodified vision of myself."
Because he was thrust into the spotlight, Frankie also had to deal with hurtful comments and memes being made about him online, especially after joining Twitter aged 12. He said: "A lot of it was like, 'If you ever feel forgotten, remember this guy.' Or, 'Frankie Jonas is a talentless sack of sh*t.'
"It became a form of self-harm to look at these things. Then it became essentially an OCD, like a tic. I couldn’t stop. I checked it every day, and I had to, to feel OK in a way. It really became a serious issue for me. A lot of that perpetuated the idea that I was just this meme. I was this joke, and my entire identity to people was 'adjacent', which really affected myself and the way that I thought about the world and the way I felt about myself."
Sadly, Frankie became so "disillusioned with it all" that he "wanted to disappear". He added: "I wanted to do everything I could to get back to that normal life that I thought I watched die." Struggling to cope, Frankie turned to drinking and using drugs. He has now sought treatment for his addictions.
"I've always dealt with a lot more than just anxiety. At the time, I didn’t know that I got panic attacks. I didn’t know that I had obsessive thoughts. I didn’t know that I would go on to be diagnosed with PTSD," he explained. "It’s important for me to be like, 'Yeah, these things were rough but at the same time, without them, where would I be?'"
Frankie is now in a much better place. He found his niche creating TikTok content, he has a longterm girlfriend (who is not in the public eye) and he's currently studying astrophysics and academic writing at Columbia University, where he's achieving the "best grades he's ever gotten".
He continued: "Everything that I talk about on TikTok… no one knew that that was how I speak, how I express myself, what I think is funny. I was just making jokes, thinking no one was hearing them. And then people heard them and liked them. I thought, 'I'm going to continue to do this,' because I've never had my thing really. This feels like so much of my thing. It feels so empowering to have a thing."