Sometimes it can help to know that others experience it too.

Why this post and why now…

Over the years, I’ve come to understand that it can be valuable for those who are struggling personally to learn that others struggle too. In that spirit, I’m writing this short post to share a bit of personal information with the hope that it might help someone in some small way. This is something I’ve thought about expressing publicly for some time, and now, due to a tragedy in our community, I’ve realized that the stakes are just too high to avoid opportunities to act in ways that could help people feel less alone.

A bit about me…

In short, I am always managing my mental health. Many years ago, I was diagnosed with severely debilitating anxiety and depression and I have wrestled with the maintenance necessary to keep these issues under control for just about my entire adult life.

I know that my challenges are not unique but – since I am not a health professional – I don’t assume to know the answers to anyone’s mental health problems. Nor do I believe that what happens to be helpful for me will necessarily be helpful for everyone else. However, I also know that many people who do things like the things I do in music/academia and/or who have passions/goals similar to those that I have also deal with these sorts of challenges. As such, I thought it could be helpful for others to simply know they’re not alone.

A bit of what I’ve learned…

I’ve learned that working with a trusted cognitive behavioral therapist and finding the right sorts of medications can help me to find a kind of balance, from which I can begin to dig myself out of holes and develop strategies and tools for dealing with my personal challenges.

Some years are better than others, and I’m not sure I’ll ever be entirely rid of the challenges I experience. I’ve learned to be OK with that. I don’t always feel good and it’s rarely easy to get through the rough patches that periodically come around. This is part of who I am, but it doesn’t define me. I have learned to have patience and try to be kind with myself as well as to have faith in my ability to do the things I need to do and seek the help I need to get unstuck.

A bit about why I work at it…

It’s important for me to devote energy to being the person I want to be…

  • a present partner, father, and friend
  • a positive influence on my children
  • a contributor to my community
  • a contributor to my profession
  • someone who is comfortable in their own skin