Being a creative musician is a dangerous profession. No, I don’t mean getting your fingers slammed by the piano lid, or a Steinway falling on your head. I mean the proportion of suicides compared to statistics in the general population. Everytime I hear a story informing me of another person who has taken their life, be it a celebrity or “man on the street”. I am deeply touched & realise how close I have come to being another statistic.
I knew from early childhood that certain things affected me profoundly. When I heard certain songs or chord progressions, I felt butterflies inside me & sometimes it made me cry. When I would see injustices to class mates or in movies, I would feel deep empathy. Obviously I was quite a sensitive person & music gave me a chance to enter a creative world of my own making. As positive as these traits were & still are in me, they also have a dark side. Having only recently gained some wisdom on how these thought patterns have affected me, I stumbled on unknowingly through my life, eventually culminating in a breakdown, which really forced me to learn more about the subject & myself. Here are some of the key points I’ve learnt about how I tick.
I realised I tried to “Please all of the people, all of the time”. This is an impossible task & ended up causing a massive gap between my expectations & reality.
I had a tendency to place clients higher in the pecking order, than my own family, so partook in some pretty crazy overtime hours, or I’d take bookings for gigs, even though I’d promised to do things with the family. This caused massive frustration on my part, as I danced around trying to please everyone, inevitably I pleased no one & hurt myself in the bargain.
“Learn to love yourself”
I’ve only just started to hear my negative self talk & have realised how destructive it has been all my life. I remember listening to a relaxation tape that was meant to be part of your nightly regime. One of the first things the speaker asked you to do, at the end of each day, was reach up behind you & give yourself a pat on the back! He would then go onto say “You did the best you could today with the information you had.”
“Surround yourself with supportive people”
At times I thought I was the only one who felt these thoughts. When I discovered others were in the same boat as me & were willing to help each other out, I rejoiced! Friends who understand your condition & are willing to talk with you are a gift from heaven.
Living with anxiety / depression is not an easy thing, but I have to wonder, what if I didn’t have this condition, would I be as productive as a creative artist? The fact that I have felt the lowest of lows, means I rejoice all the more when I feel the highs.
If you are experiencing these types of feelings, then take solace in the fact that you are not alone & a helping hand is just a phone call or key stroke away.