Mental Health, Music and Me

Well first of all, hello! Its been a very long time since I have posted anything on my site, and for that, I am sorry. I have had a manic year which I will go into at a later date. I have been doing some planning on what kind of content I want to be posting. I have decided I want to treat my front page as a blog filled with my experiences and opinions and want to start with Mental Health and how it’s presence in the music industry is often overlooked. For some of you, this will hopefully open your eyes or, give you some support that you’re not alone!

This particular post isn’t an easy one to write and a lot of thought has gone into it because this isn’t an opinion but my own experience.

Most of you won’t know but I suffer from General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) which will see me overthink the smallest of situations and often jump to the worst-case scenario. For example, if I get a phone call out of the blue from a friend, I will instantly assume something bad has happened to them or someone close to me. Without giving to many hypotheticals, it’s hell! So how has this affected me professionally? I used to find my self doubting my abilities, my employability and my longevity doing what I do.

So when did this first start? Well, I believe this started in 2017 maybe 2018 when I lost a gig due to inexperience, naivety and me just not taking it seriously enough. At the time, it was my dream job and loved every second of it. I remember receiving the phone call being told I was no longer required and a feeling of overwhelming sadness struck me and stunned me into pure silence. I couldn’t move or think. Fast forward a few months, I was packing down from another gig in a regular band and one of my bandmates commented on the fact I was no longer working with this particular band. I acknowledged it and shook it off, as you would. I was then met with the most damning comment I have possibly ever received…”Dude, you’re on the way down”. Ouch!

Suddenly, overwhelming thoughts of Am I good enough? Am I good at what I do? Do I deserve to be where I am?

This lasted for almost a year and I began to develop a very poisonous relationship with music and the industry as a whole. I started looking at every gig, no matter how important or well paid or vital to my career as a hindrance. I didn’t want to be there, I didn’t care. The final straw came when one of my closest friends, and favorite musicians to work with, had a songwriting session and we opened up about certain things in order to craft a deep, meaningful piece of music…the song never got finished but this conversation with him was the start of me taking charge of my mental health.

The next few months saw me start therapy and develop important habits that have helped me repair my self and still help to this day. Thought diaries, meditation and most importantly, reflection. All of this I was taught during my time in therapy. I was able to identify problems and think about how I would overcome them and get my head in order.

Now, here we are in 2020 and I am infinitely better than I have ever been mentally. The road is long and I still have some work to do. Do I have bad days? Yeah, I really do sometimes. Can I pull my self out of a spiral? You better believe I can!

Now my story is not a severe case and certainly not as serious as some others I have heard. The industry we all love can be an amazing community of love and support and there is always something you can do to help your self and others. If you do suffer with your mental health, do not be ashamed of yourself! People suffer from organ failure every day…the brain is an organ that needs looking after too and sometimes it needs an extra bit of help. No matter how old or how young you are, mental health is always relevant and you should never be scared to talk to someone about it, no matter who. As long as you feel comfortable talking to that person and they are happy to listen, then open up and try to write a song…you may do better than me and finish the damn thing!

I can proudly say I am now in a good place thanks to Friends, Family, and people I work with. I love every aspect of what I do and everyone that is involved in my life in and outside of music.

I would like to state now, writing this does not make me brave. I am writing this to help people. Maybe something you’ve read has struck something within you or maybe sounds like someone you know. If it does, have a look at the links below at what you can do to help yourself or someone else. Remember, if you feel you or someone you know are at immediate risk, you can call the samaritans 24 hours a day on 116 123.

I would love to hear your feedback about my post. Whether it is you sharing with others or just dropping me a line to say “Hey!”. You can find me on Twitter at @edjdrums or Facebook, don’t be shy!

Til next time x

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