Music and Mental Health : Guest Post

Happy Monday guys! TodayI’m treating you to a wee break from my ramblings and I’m handing it over to my good friend, Harry at MindlessMuso. I’m just gonna hand it over to Harry, who has written about a topic that is important to us both, music. His links are all at the bottom!

haz

How music helps with my mental health

Music has always been a huge part of my life from being around ten years old. Growing up through my teenage years it was something I focused on so intensely, I was in a band at the time, and I wanted this to be my career. When I was sixteen I had an experience which would tear me down, but also rebuild me in a unique way. During the time all this was going on, I experienced my very first anxiety attack. I felt like I was going to die, I continued experiencing intense anxiety attacks for the following two years, and whilst I still can have them now, they happen very rarely compared to back then. Depression came along with the anxiety, I had let so many people down, people had let me down, I was lost and confused. I couldn’t get my head around what happened. The depression never really left. I have good days, don’t get me wrong. But it’s always there in the back of my mind, it really has ruined a lot for me. I’ve been in and out of therapy seven times over the past six years, each one with little effect, or if it looked like it was going somewhere, it would be cut short. I had no one to turn to, I was lost.

So I began to dive deeper into my music. Both listening and creating. Of course, music doesn’t fully cure depression. Not at all. But it can certainly help in such a huge way. I wanted to talk today about a few ways in which music helps my mental health, and if you’re struggling right now, maybe some of these things may help you too.

The emotional qualities of music

It’s pretty obvious that music is a powerful emotional tool. That’s why it’s used in films, to draw us in and help us really feel the emotion of the scene. Have you ever tried watching the same film with no audio at all? It’s a little different.

Sometimes you need to let it out. And when you’re feeling that way, I advise you to do so, bottling up emotions leads to your mental health deteriorating even more. But I get how hard it can be to actually let it out. Sometimes with depression being the bastard it is, we can’t. at all. But one way I’ve learnt how to get past that barrier and let everything out is by putting on a song that matches how you feel, or a song which you know makes you emotional. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to put this song or playlist on, and just have a good cry. Releasing, again doesn’t cure anything, but it can sometimes ease the symptoms once finished.

On the other hand, maybe you want to feel uplifted, inspired, motivated. In which case, putting on a song or playlist which is happy and you know you just can’t help but sing that song or dance to, can really help create those feelings inside you. Even when you don’t feel like dancing or singing at all, forcing yourself to move and sing, the stupider the better can help. The stupider you look, the more you’ll laugh at yourself, and the more you laugh at yourself, the more these feelings of darkness will be quietened for a while.

know that both things I’ve mentioned are quite obvious, but I know that a lot of us seem to forget it sometimes. Sometimes it’s not about having a song to make you dance or make you cry, sometimes it’s just about connecting with the same energy as a song. Once you connect with that energy, powerful things can happen. You can begin to feel comforted by its presence, just by listening to it.

2v1uq_vp

 The power of creating music

I’ve been creating music for almost ten years now, and it is such a powerful thing. Whereas in music listening, you are passively engaging with the music, by actively creating, you are physically releasing yourself into your creation, every strum of a guitar or bang of a drum or whatever instrument it maybe, whatever your feeling is being channeled directly into the music. I make different types of music depending on how I feel, sometimes it’s acoustic, sometimes I’m screaming down a microphone, it’s all about whatever I need to release at that time. The act of letting how you feel out through music can be so cathartic. There are times where after a show I feel lighter, more at ease because I’ve screamed my lungs out, or just played as hard as I could. It’s a similar feeling to watching a gig, you’re getting direct energy from the music on stage into your body, you as an audience member give off that same energy back which feeds the band or artist on stage. It’s amazing.

Anyway, I digress.

 The first thing I normally hear people say is: ‘I’m not talented enough to make music’ or ‘I haven’t got any instruments to play’ or something along those lines. But you don’t need talent or instruments to create music. The Sex Pistols didn’t necessarily have ‘talent’ and they were amazing. Sometimes the simple stuff is the best, talent is subjective. And when you’re creating for yourself, to release energy and emotion, who cares what anybody else thinks? For me when I can’t use words to describe how I’m feeling, my music speaks. Music becomes a natural extension of you, unafraid and pure. Music making is one of the rawest forms of art there is.

So if you don’t know how to play drums, bang some sort of beat on your desk and shout over the top of it, find a few notes on a keyboard and play them till your hearts content, whatever it is you feel you need to do, do it, and don’t let anything stop you. It’s just you releasing emotion. If you want something a little more melancholic, write some words down that you’re feeling and see if you can form them into lyrics, sing them to yourself in your own tune, as powerfully or quietly as you feel. It’s all about the creation.

I’ve currently been working on a project which aims to support, inspire and uplift those suffering with mental health issues, and when this blog post will be released, the first song from the EP will be out! It’s all to raise money for Mind the charity, and the amazing work that they do. I’ve recently realized that, while music can be an amazing releasing tool for me, it can also unite others and help keep them going through dark times. I really wanted to help people in the best way I could, so to match music making with this cause was a really interesting idea. I’ve focused a lot on making the lyrics and music as powerful and heartfelt as possible. I’ve used my experiences of creating music in the past to inform this project, allowing myself to be fully open with my experiences with the hope it will resonate some of you. My aim for this EP, is for you to be able to listen to this in your time of need and feel less alone, and feel like you can take on the world again, and I hope these intentions are shown in the music. All money made goes straight to Mind, so I don’t take a single penny from it. Music not only helps my mental health, but I truly believe it can help yours too.

Check out the first single from the EP!

Follow Harry on Twitter and check out his blog and YouTube channel!

Twitter: mindlessmuso

Blog: mindlessmuso.wordpress.com

YouTube: Mindlessmuso.

Online friendship: Guest post

Happpy Thursday everyone!

I thought I’d treat you all today to a guest post from my fave Dutch, Marc Lamberts! I was really struggling with content and Marc agreed to help me out by writing a guest post for me, which shows how good a friend he is. Appropriate for the content of this post huh? I’m just gonna hand it over to himself and let him do the talking, or writing, you know what I mean. I’ve left all Marc’s links below!

mvi_6067-mov-still001-4

“Friends are family you choose”

It’s very cheesy, but it’s so true. Friendships are vital and important to one’s soul, I guess that having real friends is really underestimated, especially online friendship. Today I’m telling you, online friendships are the real deal!

Things you often hear about online friendships is that you have to careful and it’s not like real friendship, apparently making friends online is not subject to any feeling. I think that is utter codswallop if you ask me. Making friends online is the real deal and those friends have the same worth to me as my real life friends.

The thing I’ve experienced and love about making online friends is that the most people are very genuine, have no biased opinion about you and are rather open. I think with online friendships, first and foremost it’s about the quality and connection of the conversations. You focus on what’s inside the person, the character and personality. That makes online friendships so strong and why they can last very long.

friend

It’s rather funny how you meet online, most of the time it’s via a friend or because of a certain blog. Sometimes it’s via mail swap – that’s how I met my wonderful buddy Louise! – or a little project. Sometimes you don’t remember how, why and when. But you know one thing, you are really glad you have met that particular person.

Online friendship – especially when long distance – can be hard actually. I’m a Dutch blogger and the majority of my friends live in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales or Northern Ireland. Of course you can call each other or Skype or FaceTime, but sometimes you just want to meet up with someone, smash all the food or just give each other massive cuddles. You want to physically be there for someone, when they are in need of a good friend and that makes it kind of hard sometimes. But when you put the effort in – sometimes you don’t speak for days – and the other does that too, the friendship will keep existing and that people, is one of the best feelings in the world.

15942989_10158078788325512_533927396_o

There’s so much beauty to have long distance friends though, I’ve learnt so much. I’ve learnt about other cultures, languages, customs, studies, degrees, sports, experiences. I’ve a lot of places to visit, I’ve become more fluent in English speaking and writing. I’ve experienced how it is to feel cared for, appreciated and loved by friend. I know what it’s like to help people in need and see that your advice helps them, I’ve felt how good it is to see that people want to help you.

What I really encourage is making friends with both females and males. There’s this ridiculous idea that we can’t be friends with the opposite sex. I think we all have great qualities and to have friends – both male and female – is only good for your health and your personality. I’m feeling awesome because I’ve met so many females, who are great friends. They always are there for me and I feel like it’s super awesome to have a female best friend. Bloody awesome in fact!

It’s perfectly fine to be friends with someone from the opposite sex without wanting a romance. It’s completely fine to spend your days talking to women/men and enjoying it. You don’t have to feel guilty because you care about a woman/man, without loving her/him romantically. I’ve met some great women on the internet for these past few months and I’m very proud to call them my friends. They are beautiful too yes, but the most important thing that they each are unique, talented, funny, kind, caring, witty and have a great personality. They do add to my life, just like my guy friends. They make my life complete when they touch my heart.

friendship

Sure, there are differences. We both view the world in another perception and we have different struggles at times. But that also gives a unique position. Sometimes talking about problems in another light, can help you so much. I’ve come to that conclusion. I’ve got soulmates, buddies, pals, mates and they are women. You can be soulmates with someone you don’t share a romantic relationship with. I think the society has laid this perception of marrying the other sex and only be friends with your own sex. It’s really ridiculous. I don’t care what people say. I’m friends with women and I bloody love it. I couldn’t honestly survive the way I feel without ALL my friends.

I think it’s awesome to have met so many people online, some of them have become my best friends. Online friendships are so valuable, important, vital and have given me so much joy and strength. I hope you all find these friendships, because it will make your life more complete.

Also, give Louise all the love on here and her twitter and instagram, she my wee best pal and she deserves it!

Marc

Blog:  www.ohbuggerall.com  Twtitter: @lambertsmarc  Instagram: @lambertsmarc