This is the third part of my struggle with anxiety and depression over the years. The second part can be found here Story Of My Life ( Part Two) – Footsteps In The Hall.
I spent a lot of my twenties as a mess. I felt I was in a constant state of confusion. I felt I was hard to pin down, always in a constant state of fight or flight. I could feel myself walking a fine line with my moods. I had trust issues, I was obsessive whilst holding things at bay. It’s like I was becoming a caricature of myself.
To deal with being me whilst trying to keep hold of myself I seemed to develop a version of me I could wear like a costume. I needed it shield myself from the world and others from myself.
The me I became seemed to develop from starting to perform in a band. It was ironic that I was shy and felt socially awkward people, but yet being onstage felt right. It enabled me to find an outlet for the confused mess of emotions, energy and thoughts that were inside and trying to govern my life. It gave me something to connect to and anchor my restless personality to. In short, music more than likely saved my life.
I ended up joining a friend’s band who did a whole bunch of covers which was fun. And then I was asked to put together a band with a someome called Peter McAdam .
Peter was introduced to me through a mutual friend Dean who was doing a fine art degree with him. Me and Peter clicked immediately. He was influenced by surrealism and punk. We would hang out together listening to albums and writing. We were joined by Dan on bass (who was replaced after a year or so by Adam) and Doug on drums.
The band, Tel Quel, was the perfect outlet for me. Peter and I shared lyric writing duties. Our would always be unpredictable. I would hurl my body around the stage without any regard to myself. I would often have microphone cables wrapped around my throat. At our local home venue you would often see me in the rafters part way through the gig or hanging upside from them still singing.
The performance became my perfect disguise for me. Stage Scott was confident, didn’t give a shit about what you thought, would put down hecklers with a witty quip. But the performances were also physically and emotionally demanding. Afterwards I would count the cuts and the bruises. If I wasn’t aching and sore afterwards then I felt I’d cheated myself and the audience. It was almost like I was punishing, seeing how far I could push myself.
Anyone who’s performed onstage will tell you that show comedowns can be brutal. For me they seemed amplified. I would hit some incredible lows for days after doing gigs. But the buzz I got from the show was so worth it.
My personal relationships around this time suffered massively from who I was at the time. You could ask family and friends about me at the time and they would probably comment about me being manic and unpredictable. I was introverted to a point that was quite painful. You would never know which version of me you were getting, something I actually felt deep inside myself. I couldn’t even tell what type of person I’d be that day, often finding it changing as the day evolved.
The performance thing offered me a great outlet for getting some of the darkness out from me. I needed it, especially after I experienced the passing of my grandad whilst I was at college.
I’d been close to my grandparents several years, probably since my dad moved to Doncaster in my teens. I would spend most weekends staying there, waiting up for my grandad coming in from the local golf club that he worked as a doorman on a Saturday night. We’d sit and have supper together before going to bed.
He was someone I looked up to. As I got older I spent some time getting to know him better. I’d listen to his stories of when he was younger and he was growing up, of how he tried to provide for his family. Of what my dad and his brothers were like growing up. Without my dad beyond around as much my grandad became I surrogate father figure.
His passing came on quite quickly. He had both his knees replaced and he didn’t seem to recover well from it. A short while later he was rushed to hospital with a massive heart attack. He had more while he was there and he passed away the following day.
I was devastated. I felt a need to look after my gran. They’d moved to a bungalow shortly before his death. It only had one bedroom so I spent most of the next 18-24 months sleeping on their sofa. It was a wierd time for me. My first death and the passing of one of the main figures in my life.
My grandad never got to see or hear me preform. And isn’t one of the reasons that people do that to gain recognition from the people around us?
I was becoming more and more lost. It wasn’t a case of I didn’t know where I was going, I didn’t even know if I wanted to get anywhere at all. I felt like I was losing direction. I needed……something. I needed to stop floundering and connect to something rather than my current state of numbness.
To be continued….