Music keeps me going

Trigger warning: this story discusses abuse.

My father became an alcoholic through his battle with PTSD due to his time in the Moroccan army as a teenager. When I became a teenager, things became especially bad at home and he physically beat my brother, my mother and myself.

The environment became so intense that I attempted to take my life twice. I was subsequently diagnosed with PTSD at 16. I was always striving to make my father like and accept me.

I have always been overweight, and this was the subject of much of the verbal abuse I received. I welcomed the physical abuse at times because the mental abuse was far more difficult. 

It's very hard to hear someone you love so much say such terrible things to you. My PTSD then led to severe anxiety, panic attacks and, at one time, agoraphobia.

I tried to take my life again in my 20s and my mum found me. Seeing her face and hearing her voice when I came round is one of the most heartbreaking things I have ever experienced, but it's so difficult trying to explain to those you love that you don’t want to be alive anymore.

I have a terrible time with social anxiety even now and through my mental health struggles I am always trying to take more work on to block out my own thoughts.

I am still working through things; I don't think I will ever be fully free of the thoughts that consume my head and that's why I started a mental health online and offline safe space called The Respite Room last year. It was a way to help others but also a means of coping in my day to day life.

What music means to me

Music is the thing that keeps me going. Yeah, I have a loving partner, my family and a small group of close friends, but they can't be with me all the time. They can't be with me when I am thinking, "How am I going to walk through town without having a panic attack?" Music is my companion for that.

Does music help your mental health?

Does music give you a release? Do you have a passion for rock, pop, soul, garage or grime? Could you put on an event to share your passion and raise awareness, raise money and raise the roof for mental health? MHF Live is the Mental Health Foundation's new live music fundraising event.

Find out about MHF Live

Aside from all the scientifically proven aspects about endorphins and how it affects your brain, music just makes you feel something. I always find that I can cope with my anxiety and PTSD more when my emotions are affected, whether that be happy, sad or angry.

A Sonic Hug 

Music is 80% of what I do in life. It's what I know best. I play, I promote, I work in music, so it was a no brainer to try and set up something that was an arm of The Respite Room, but covered music as its own entity. So, A Sonic Hug was Born. 

For people with social anxiety, panic disorder, PTSD, general anxiety, depression and more, it can be a monumental task to go to live events.

People can sometimes spend days, weeks, even months planning and researching where they are going so they can ensure they are ok. 

We are building a database on our site of Glasgow venues (to begin with) that will have all this information on so that people can plan more easily. We have started collating floor plans, seating plans, venue capacity, toilet and exit positions, and more from live performance venues. 

We are also starting to curate a pool of volunteers or 'Gig Pals' who are attending gigs/events and don’t mind accompanying people that have anxiety/panic etc. We are going to raise funds for people to do a mental health first aid certificate so they have this experience also and if they have no experience in mental health, this will aid understanding.

Finally , we are teaming up illustrators with musicians to create a piece of merchandise. All proceeds from sales will be going to mental health charities.

My playlist

These are songs that have been so inspiring at gigs, they have made me forget about the crowds, not being able to get out and my anxiety:

Does music help your mental health?

Does music give you a release? Do you have a passion for rock, pop, soul, garage or grime? Could you put on an event to share your passion and raise awareness, raise money and raise the roof for mental health? MHF Live is the Mental Health Foundation's new live music fundraising event.

Find out about MHF Live