The Meaning Behind “The End” by Halsey and How They Are “Lucky to Be Alive”

This week, Halsey revealed a new song, a forthcoming studio album, and a medical diagnosis. “The End,” a vulnerable acoustic ballad, arrived June 4.

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Halsey, 29, said they were diagnosed in 2022 with lupus—an autoimmune disease—and a rare T-cell lymphoproliferative disorder. (Halsey uses she/they pronouns.) They said both diseases are “either being managed or are in remission” adding, “both of which I will likely have for the duration of my life.”

Lucky to Be Alive

A post on Instagram featuring photos and videos showed the singer receiving treatments. Halsey captioned the post: “long story short, i’m Lucky to be alive, short story long, i wrote an album. It begins with The End. out now.”

In one video, Halsey, 29, is seen rubbing her legs while sitting on a couch. Appearing in pain, they said, “I feel like an old lady. I told myself I’m giving myself two more years to be sick.” The Associated Press reported Halsey is donating to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the Lupus Research Alliance. Additionally, Halsey tagged both organizations in their Instagram post from Tuesday.

Halsey also said they planned a “rebirth” in two years. “I’m having a rebirth and I’m not gonna be sick and I’m gonna look super hot and have lots of energy and I’m just gonna get to redo my 20s in my 30s.”

In a subsequent post, the singer added, “After a rocky start, I slowly got everything under control with the help of amazing doctors. After 2 years, I’m feeling better and I’m more grateful than ever to have music to turn to.”

It’s Not the End of the World

“The End” follows Halsey’s persistent health problems. The singer writes about the reality of frequent clinic visits and new treatments. But they’ve found a new lover, and the urgency of health and time weighs on them.

Every couple of years now, a doctor says I’m sick
Pulls out a brand new bag of tricks, and then they lay it on me
And at first, it was my brain, then a skeleton in pain
And I don’t like to complain, but I’m saying sorry

“The End” is a preview of Halsey’s fifth studio album, which follows their 2021 release If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power, produced by Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

Halsey co-produced “The End” with Michael Uzowuru and Alex G.

If you knew it was the end of the world
Could you love me like a child?
Could you hold me in the dark?
If you knew it was the end of the world
Would you like to stay a while?
Would you leave when it gets hard?

Persistent Health Problems

Halsey, born Ashley Frangipane in Edison, New Jersey, released their debut album Badlands in 2015. A dark, electropop effort, the album reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart.

Hopeless Fountain Kingdom followed two years later and topped the chart thanks to the No. 5 single “Bad at Love.” Next, the singer released Manic, which featured the breakup anthem “Without Me.”

However, while Halsey’s pop career soared, their body was breaking down. The recent announcement wasn’t the first time Halsey had shared health struggles on social media.

In a series of Instagram Stories in 2022, Halsey revealed she’d been diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Sjögren’s syndrome, mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), according to USA Today.

Also, three days before attending the 2017 Grammys, Halsey said they “had surgery for endometriosis.” Endometriosis is a chronic condition that affects nearly one in 10 women and girls, according to the World Health Organization. However, it can be challenging to diagnose due to its wide range of symptoms, leaving many patients without help.

New Beginning

“The End” concludes with a heartbreaking verse:

When I met you, I said I would never die
But the joke was always mine ’cause I’m racing against time
And I know it’s not the end of the world, but could you pick me up at 8?
’Cause my treatment starts today

Though Halsey’s health problems persist, so does the singer. Many face mortality in old age or at least begin to feel it during the middle years. But Halsey has spent much of their youth being sharply reminded of the body’s vulnerability.

When they announced the new single, Halsey said, “Let’s try something different this time and start at ‘The End.’”

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Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

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