Playing my guitar is my therapy
I still struggle with speaking openly about mental health. From studying and graduating in a subject which pinpoints mental health issues and linked therapies, I was late in the game identifying and admitting I had one of these issues.
I reckon being over-worked, over-stressed and generally being an anxious and over-thinking person contributes to a lot of the problems I have experienced in the past and am still experiencing.
Music has always played a key part in my life and playing music with my dear sister and friends in The Van T's have been the most enjoyable memories of my life so far. I have met so many wonderful people and been to so many amazing places.
The 'bigger picture'
Sadly, wonderful people come and go in and out of your life. When my friend Gary (Watson, frontman of The Lapelles) passed away, I think a lot my anxieties and emotions became heightened and I have since struggled to look at the bigger picture.
When I mean the "bigger picture", I lost my love for music, my ambitions, didn't start my Masters, over-worked myself as a form of distraction and tried to be there for my friends and Gary's family. I know that I am not the only one of his friends who is going through this and I am so proud of how far they have come in the past couple of years.
From this, I guess it started to snowball when you see other bands and artists 'doing their thing' and you feel like you can't even string a sentence together. Your anxieties start to grow, panic attacks start, the medication begins and before you know it you haven't left your bed in days.
I found starting a new job, with new purpose, helped a lot. I started rebuilding myself piece by piece, my finances, my health, my confidence and my music. Everything else then follows. I did some CBT for a short while which helped.
I think having such an amazing support network and knowing people going through similar issues helps. The fact that mental health issues are becoming less stigmatised generally helps, too.
I don’t think I get quite the same stimulation from anything else than picking up my guitar and playing. It’s my distraction, my therapy and it's somewhat meditative.
Music forms such a community, especially in Glasgow. It brings people closer together and, I find, with such a closeness it becomes easier to address your personal issues and confide in others.
Raise awareness, raise money, raise the roof!
MHF Live is the Mental Health Foundation's new music fundraising initiative that aims to raise awareness, raise money and raise the roof for mental health.
Music is good for the soul, and getting together is good for mental health – so we're calling all music lovers to host their own music events in aid of the Mental Health Foundation.