It’s no secret I’ve been affected by depression and anxiety since I was small. I would get sick every single day on my way to school thanks to anxiety butterflies from kindergarten to my very last day of senior year. If it tells you anything about how this disease works, I absolutely loved school from day numero uno. It is not a cause and effect situation. That’s always been one of the hardest things for me to explain to anyone that doesn’t also suffer from A/D (anxiety and depression.) Your life can be a giant ball of sunshine, daisies, rainbows and unicorns and all of the sudden, lightening bolts, clouds and doom set in for absolutely no reason. It doesn’t make sense to the person it’s happening to, so you sure as hell can’t make sense of it to someone on the outside, I also know that to be fact.
I woke up today thinking about one particular quotient of this issue; How much worse it is when your life is happy and the breakdown hits. They always say the higher you climb the harder you fall (gravity is a bitch, fuck you science.) I have no better or more eloquent way to say this, but it fucking sucks. To feel like you finally sort of maybe have your shit together and then BOOM knocked on your ass out of nowhere (thanks brain chemistry, again, fuck science.) Most everyone I know that suffers from some form of A/D or another mental health hurdle has told me at some point in their life that they don’t ever think it will get better no matter where they’re at in there life. I know a comic book writer, high end business executives for world famous companies, lawyers, renowned chefs, you name it, no matter their level of career, relationship or emotional success, life will always be sad for them because of this nasty monster constantly attached to their back. Again, that just fucking sucks.
In an attempt to share what works for me and since this is a (mostly) music blog, after all, I want to share a song that has continuously and constantly grounded me for almost ten years now.
“I changed my color for you
I shed my coat with caution
I lack the beauty you display
See here there are the bruises
And some were self-inflicted
And some showed up along the way
So I nod my head
I’m ready for the world to see
The secret I kept here inside the man you thought id be
Slip into coma calm
The coma where I calm myself down
Here comes excuses why I let you down
Stand by for another breakdown
Sound off the alarm
Is this the chameleon boy I swore I wouldn’t become”
Justin Furstenfeld, the lead for Blue October, has also struggled with a life long battle against schizophrenia and addiction. He is one of the biggest inspirations for me on being so open about my mental health issues. If you ever have time look in to his story, please do. To make it short, he now has a wife and two small children, is sober and in recovery. Amazing.
Everyone patches their wounds back together differently before they turn in to scars. Some use drugs and booze as a band-aid, some use sex, others use relationships or solitude. My patch has always been art and music. I am very thankful that what works for me wasn’t illegal or immoral. I can fill my soul with live music and everything just seems to let go and float away in that moment when I hear something I truly, truly adore in person. It’s not always the same artists or the same songs. Sometimes a tune that I used to hate will hit me like a ton of bricks. One that always lands for me by, you guessed it, Sean McConnell, is below. This song is like a sweet, sweet release for my tortured soul. Happy or sad, no matter where I’m at in my battle with A/D when I hear good music I can simply just let go for that hour or two and I will forever be grateful for the artists and their songs that can do this for me.
This morning one of those songs was “Two Bottles” by Chris Watson (if you have not seen this man live GO SEE HIM NOW!) It was actually written by Josh Weathers (I shouldn’t have to tell you to listen to him, this you should already know) so I have posted both versions below. A particular lyric hit me hard while I was driving in to work after an extremely rough 24 hours in my life and inside my head.
“Your heart’s broke. Mine is healing. There’s got to be a better way of dealing with all this pain coming on. I just can’t take another night alone. And I got two bottles of really good wine, just a couple hours now to have a good time.”
It’s so simple, but no matter where you’re at on the Doppler with your A/D a bottle of really good wine (or two) can be the perfect ace bandage at least for a moment and I’m completely okay with that. Wherever you are at in your particular battle I wish you the best of luck and an open ear. I am a very dedicated believer in the power of defeating this together…hopefully over a couple bottle of really good wine.
“Chameleon Boy”-Blue October
“Saint’s Heart in a Sinner’s Skin”-Sean McConnell
“Two Bottles”-Chris Watson
“Late to the Party”-Kacey Musgraves
“Keep You Forever”-Erick Willis