Music & Mental Illness

I panic at far more places than the Disco.

For the past few years, I’ve been living with mental illness and just trying my best to push it to one side. The one thing I learnt. That’s not possible.

Finally, I surrendered, got help and started working toward managing my day to day life. I was scared at first. Lots of things had to change. I quit drinking and boy, did I drink a lot, I stopped going out as much and so lost friends but worst of all, I had to stop performing.
I’ve been a drummer for the past 10 years and played in a handful of different bands. That rush before taking the stage, that relief at coming off at the end knowing you did a great job, they’re feelings that just can’t be recreated and it was all over. The cymbals had stopped shaking, the kit was in the van and I was all at sea.
At the same time, I realised that this was only for the best. The incredible feelings I got before playing were replaced with severe panic attacks and an overwhelming desire to just get it over with and when that happens, well, you’re just not a musician anymore. I was just there to make up numbers. At least that is how I felt.
That’s when Hepkatt was born. I stopped feeling sorry for myself and realised there is far more to music than just playing it. I started reading, excessively, about music theory and researching upcoming bands, venues, equipment, you name it I’ve been looking at it. Then I thought, why not write about this? This ‘thing’, this ‘noise’, that can bring us together and divide us all at the same time, make you feel lost and found in the same split second.
I’m not going to go as far as to say music has saved me but it sure makes being here that so much easier. I’m excited to hear the next big thing and to find the dingiest venue that offers the best experience. It gives me desire and it gives me hope that even though I can’t be doing it any more, others are and the industry is safe in the hands of every young kid who picks up an instrument.
Music is free from all the things wrong with the world these days. We don’t care about religion, politics and we’re not about to go to war over who should be number 1. We’re all here for the same reason. So from me to all musicians, all music lovers, writers, technicians, lighting engineers and so on and so forth, thank you.
I’m a believer in music, fucking hallelujah.

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