I am my happiest when I am surrounded by music. Whether it is at a gig listening to a rocking band, on the street enjoying the company of a busker or in my own home with my iPod. In fact, even at work we have music playing; not usually my kind of thing though.
I was inspired to write this blog post when I came across a man called Aiden Hatfield on Twitter. He is a musician from Leeds who openly suffers with depression and launched a clothing line called “In Music We Trust” where 50% of all profits go to the mental health charity, Mind. I’ve purchased two t-shirts (which can be seen below) and you can grab your own at: http://inmusicwetrust.co.uk/
Anyway, music is my medicine. To those who relate that makes sense to others perhaps not so much. I rely on my favourite tracks to get me through tough times and to keep me sane in a way.
When I am at home, I tend to have my headphones in all of the time to keep myself chilled and to block out any unnecessary raised voices or distractions. I make playlists of my favourite songs or songs that uplift me and after pressing shuffle I’m away. In my own little world trying to forget that the real one exists.
In another blog post I wrote about my Panic Attack Playlist which has changed since but fundamentally has the same feel; generally calm and then gradually becomes more upbeat. Uplifting. At the moment my general “happiness” playlist is filled with tracks by Liam Gallagher, Nick J.D. Hodgson, Kaiser Chiefs, Spring King and My Chemical Romance. Check out the playlist on Spotify here.
It’s not all about listening to music though but playing it also. Instruments in my opinion have a positive aura surrounding them but I may just think that because I find them so interesting. I play drums a lot now since I have managed the injury to my back and I think it has made a difference to my mental health. Nothing else around me is happening when I have my drumsticks in my hands because nothing else matters at that moment. I have recently found a studio where I can play an actual kit rather than my e-kit and it creates such a buzz. I slept like a baby that night.
No-one could hear me too which meant I was confident behind the kit so much so that my sticks got absolutely wrecked in a way that has never happened to me before. Generally I am not a very confident person, in fact, I only dabble about on my guitar or play piano when I am home alone. I don’t know how I am ever going to be able to play in a band or whatever because I would have to play in front of people!
Gigs. I love a good gig. Whether it is a mad one or a chilled one, inside or outside, big or small, artist(s) I like or don’t know; it is all just music. Real live music. So real that you can hear the cymbals crashing and the bass travelling right through you. I permanently have a fixed grin on my face. But I haven’t always been able to go to gigs because of social anxiety causing me to have panic attacks when around crowds.
My first “proper” concert was at British Summer Time, Hyde Park where I went with my friend who is a massive Taylor Swift fan and she was headlining in 2015. We were in the disabled enclosure so crowds weren’t really an issue…until we were leaving that is. Either way it started something for me so I can finally go to gigs. Yay!
The first gig I booked for myself was MTV Crashes Coventry because my favourite band, Kaiser Chiefs, were playing the Friday and it wasn’t far from me. I did go to both days though (seated) and I was so proud of myself for battling my fears because I had the best time! Each gig since has been a milestone I guess and I do get anxious beforehand but as long as I am around good people then it tends to be okay. Usually.
I think when issues or negativity get associated with a favourite artist of mine it hits me hard. I start to ask questions like: They have helped me so much, why them? However, I am not blind if they have done something wrong. I think that’s a good balance. But if something not-so-good happens to me at one of their gigs or just general nastiness surrounding me caring about an artist that really hurts. It is not easy to get over some stuff.
The truth is that music makes me feel safe. It is like a big, soft blanket that wraps around me making me feel like everything is going to be alright. It might just be momentarily.
Momentarily is enough though. It can save me for a day.