I have always found it difficult to talk about my loneliness and negativity but as it is #mentalhealthawareness week…. it’s time to talk.
Throughout my life, I have struggled to control my negative emotions. Constantly, I would feel unworthy and be held captive by my mind with hands tied behind my back and duct-tape across my mouth. I was silenced by my own self-criticism and fear of what people will think.
Music found me early. It carried me through the waves of the last 30 years. I was able to share moments with great artists through the music they create. I would close my eyes and experience the spine-tingling guitar solos and soul-awakening drumbeats interweaved with magical melodies all conjured up within that short space between my ears. The same space where my dreams are silenced and negativity pulls me down to drown in a dark ocean.
The guitar has pulled me out of a dark ocean. It has given me a sound when there were no words to describe a feeling. The guitar shook me awake from a deep sleep. It brought me to life with a jolt of electricity as a defibrillator shocks a heart back to life.
When I was in my first year of medical school, living in London, I composed a track called “Take Me Away”. It began as a simple guitar riff and has now evolved over time. It came from a moment when I was feeling a deep desire to escape from the overwhelming pace and noise of London. I went for a long walk around the city and came back to pick up my guitar and recorded the track. It came from me wanting to escape my physical environment, however, I later realised I was actually feeling trapped within my own mind. The music showed this to me. I tried to visually express this in a short film that accompanies the original version of the track.
The film is called “Once Upon a Time in London” – check it out here:
I believe mental illness affects us all and we must maintain our mental health in the same way we look after our physical health. We have to feed it, exercise it, track it and rest it. Music helps me understand my mind and is provides me with therapy when I need to re-energise. Creativity and art can help you look after your own mental health and understand your thoughts and feelings.
It would be great to hear how you have used music or creativity to cope with mental illness. Feel free to reach out and connect!