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Monday, May 09, 2005

Mental Issues

The frontman for Low, Alan Sparhawk, a band I don't really listen to, has had the courage to admit he has a mental illness and no longer can take the duress inflicted on him during touring. He has pulled back, they have cancelled all gigs, and he says he's going to continue seeking help.

Admitting you're depressed or mentally ill in any way takes balls. To do it on the world wide web? Titanium balls. Balls from Krypton. NASA-grade balls.

There are so many stigmas attached to everything from self-esteem issues to mental illness that it's a fucking wonder we ever ask each other "How are you?" More people need to bring this shit up. People like William Styron in his brilliant, brilliant treatise on depression, Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness, or that classic autobiography of schizophrenia by Kurt Vonnegut's son Mark, The Eden Express: A Memoir of Insanity, and this dude do so much towards putting a face on something that scares many of us every time we lay our heads down.

I was deep into depression long before my mother died. It took seven or so years to run the length of the disease. There are days still when I wonder how to face the world beyond my door, but they're fortunately mostly just that, a wondering. Depression's more a memory to me now. A shadow that's inexplicably attached to my every step. A constant awareness that there are monsters in the dark. Being cognisant of that doesn't make me less happy today, but moreso.

Admitting that depression dogged my every step was one of the bravest things I've ever done. Fuck humility. It doesn't apply. Admitting you're scared, lost, hurt, and just can't move past it on your own anymore takes guts. It's admitting you have no power. It's your first fucking step in becoming Jedi.

And now, man, I feel the fucking Force. But it was a long time coming. If you want to read the gutsy-as-hell admission to the nuthouse written by this courageous motherfucker for his band's website, click here.