Music saved my life.
It’s as simple as that.
When I was at my lowest point, music was always there for me. It doesn’t judge you, it doesn’t leave you, it doesn’t betray you.
Music has always been in my life. Like many of my generation I remember car trips listening to the radio with my parents. It became a soundtrack for holidays, for journeys to visit families. I remember exposing myself to my dad’s record collection as I was growing up, feeling the riffs of Kieth Richards cut through me, of Roger Daltrey offering me escape.
As a teenager, as I was slowly falling to pieces, it would speak to me. It would tell me I wasn’t alone in this. There were other people who’d been there before, who had the same scars. It would articulate the noises in my head, it could make sense of the pain. It could connect me to life when I felt at my most disconnected.
After my suicide attempt in my late teens, I spent time trying to find myself again, trying to reconnect back into life. I felt lost, alone, and I was struggling with what I’d done and by my actions, what I’d put my family through. I’d spent a night drinking with friends. Trying to reach through to me, one of my friends, Dean, said something to me and it was the first thing that broke through all the crap I was wallowing in.
“Listen to the music, let it help you”
It sounded simple, but it helped so much. In the middle of the night, you could rely on music being there when you needed it when everyone else was asleep, you could let it take you places when you needed to go somewhere better, somewhere safer than where your mind was trying to take you.
A couple of years later, Dean (again) introduced me to a guitarist called Peter. He was looking to jam some ideas for a band. I was into performance art and was looking for a way to express myself. A few months later I was onstage, throwing myself around, exorcising the darkness from inside me. The white noise that would suck away at my soul could find a way out, it had it’s release.
I had found my balance.
Even now, music does something to me I can’t quite describe. Albums like ‘The Downward Spiral’ aren’t just a collection of songs. They would soundtrack my moods. They would console me at my lowest. It would reach inside of me and connect.
I’m still playing music, I’m still connecting with it, it’s still a major part of me. I knew I was bad recently when I couldn’t face playing guitar. I would look at the acoustic guitar that’s in the living room, and I couldn’t find the part in me that wanted to coax some of the darkness out from me and channel it. Tomorrow, I step back into the practice room with my band for he first time in almost four months. I’ll stand there with my friends and we’ll complete my healing by connecting in way that only musicians can understand.
And I just can’t wait.