You’re probably wondering why I’m even writing about this on a metal blog. Well first off, it’s my fucking blog and second, mental health is something that knows now race, no sex, no gender or sexual orientation, and absolutely no genre. Over the past few years, seeing addiction and/or mental health take some great, talented people in the music industry. I am not going to mention names obviously but I have had many experiences where I have shared some really amazing conversations with people in the hard rock/metal industry who deal with mental health on a daily basis. They deal with various levels of depression, anxiety, ADD, OCD, or all of the above. Why am I not mentioning names? Thanks to our society, there is such a stigma attached to mental illness that people feel that they can’t be open about it.
How great would it be if we could talk as openly about our mental health as we do about what we had for breakfast or say, what concert we were going to? What if we could be very transparent about our mental health without fear or embarrassment? This is something that I have been doing for some time now. I am very open and very transparent about my mental health so that others don’t feel like they have to hide.
Having panic/anxiety attacks and/or depression shouldn’t be something to be something to hide or to be ashamed of. When someone posts that they had a shitty day everyone says, “Oh, I’m so sorry.” If someone posts that they found out they or a loved one has cancer everyone says, “Stay strong. We’ll fight this.” If you post that you’re depressed or that you had an anxiety attack, many will say something to the effect of, “Oh you just need to go outside and get some fresh air”, “You need to change the way you eat”, or my personal favorite, “You don’t have it so bad. What do you have to be upset about? Get over it.”
Yes, believe it or not, I have heard those kinds of responses when sharing with people that I suffer from anxiety, depression, and ADD and manage it with meds. “You don’t need those drugs. Those are just ways for pharmaceutical companies to make money and you get addicted.” First off, these meds have been developed, clinically tested, and proven to help improve the mental and emotional state of folks who have mental/emotional illness.
As with any drug, if taken recreationally or not properly, yes, it can cause problems but if taken as directed and taken very seriously, they do their job. Trust me. I know this first hand. Let me give you an example. The other night I had a really wicked anxiety attack. My wife just patted me on the back and let me have it. When it was done a few minutes later, we went to the gym, I worked out my shit and went on. It’s not always that easy but I feel like being on meds have helped to make this kind of “carrying on” possible. I’m only saying this because I want those to know that even when on meds, it’s not a “cure.” It’s just a way to better manage these episodes so that instead of being for hours or even days, they can only be a few minutes at times.
Another thing that has helped has been to quit drinking. Not that I was ever a heavy drinker but I did notice that anytime I drank I would have some weird feelings of paranoia and even feelings of being out of my body (not as cool as it sounds). These experiences make me think of those of people like Chris Cornell. I would never assume what happened but this is a good example of where something went horribly wrong. Was it a bad mixture of meds? Was it too much alcohol mixed with meds? When in that kind of place, you really have little to no control over your mind so anything can happen. Some may say that this is why you shouldn’t take meds but I say this is why you should take them as prescribed, regularly see your doctor, talk to your therapist, and be smart about it.
Managing mental health sounds like a lot of work but guess what? It is. People work hard every day on their physical appearance. People work hard to be good workers. Why wouldn’t you work equally as hard to maintain your mental health? I work hard at it and every day presents itself with new struggles. Some days are perfect where I just cruise the through the days and get shit done. Other days may find me feeling scattered and a bit anxious and other days may find me with my head in my hands crying for no reason. Yes, it’s a bitch but I’m a fighter and I refuse to let this beat me down.
So again, why am I posting this on my metal blog? I’m posting this because I know that I have plenty of readers out there and if this article connects, helps, and/or inspires just one person out there, then I feel like this was all worth it. If you are experiencing these things please don’t hesitate to reach out to me, a friend, anyone. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, don’t be afraid to be transparent, and don’t be afraid to take those necessary steps to manage your mental health.
Please visit: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/