Depression, as I said in my first post, can be caused by multiple causes. In this post I'm going to talk about three types of triggers that can begin a downward spiral in the brain.
A high in your musical career.
Strange but true, just on the other side of a significant accomplishment in our musical career (our "baby" is metaphorically finally born) , we can experience a plunge in state of mind. I refer to it as artistic "post partum depression".
- A cd project you've been working very hard on is finally finished, to your great satisfaction. The following day you feel strangely let down, tired and even sad.
- You win a talent award you've been deeply hoping for that will launch your career to another plateau. Soon after you wonder why you are feeling so down and scared.
- You get a deal... on a label, with a publishing company, with a booking agency. You celebrate, then feel empty.
- You conquer a difficult vocal issue such as chronic tension in your voice. You are elated at your voice lesson, but soon after become afraid that you can't really do that consistently. It becomes a self-fullfilled prophecy when your voice assumes the old nasty habits next time you sing. You feel like giving up.
Know what it is. Just recognizing a post-high low can keep you from being afraid of it, and can take it's power away to hurt you. It's like a coat hanging on a coathook that looks like a monster in the dark... if you know it's a coat, even though the lights are out you stop being afraid of it. You can even use the lows to rest, reflect, pray and get back to the source of your strength and get ready for what you'll do next. Choose to see low is just a temporary balancing so the highs don't burn you out!
Too Much Sensory Input
- Too much to do, too many people to be around, too many promotional events and phone calls, too many things happening at once, too many people talking, too tooo toooooo much! You find yourself on edge, unsatisfied, unhappy no matter what is "going right" and you don't understand it.
Bitterness and Resentment
OK, if you say you have not fallen victim to these twin mindsets, you are lying, friend... or you are not from this planet! (I, by the way, am also from Earth) And those who don't admit their imperfect attitudes are in the most peril of all... because a stuffed resentment can fester and even create more internal havoc than a confessed one. For instance:
- You notice someone's career moving faster than yours. (And there's always someone...)
- Someone else wins an award you were competing for. (Competition monster strikes again.)
- You think someone has stolen your gig. (A big nasty trigger... especially if it's true.)
- Someone diss'ed you (critiqued or assessed your performance negatively).
- You got hurt by an unfair music business reality or decision. (Radio won't play you anymore, the label folds, your point man left the organization, the venue gypped you, your songs/music/production are not chosen for ___ project).
- You hate yourself for your mistakes, failures and inabilities. This is a big contributor to depression, which is also defined as anger turned inwards.
We MUST turn these thoughts around, and the sooner the better. It helps to have a sane circle of friends to whom we can be accountable, so we can say "I am having trouble letting this go. I admit it and I want to stop it." If this friend will help you NOT DIG THE HOLE of resentment deeper, but will instead agree with you that you need to forgive, forget, let go, wish the person well, that's the talk you need to have. Oh yes, and prayer works to. Someone told me one time when I was crying about some unfair insult I'd received that Jesus didn't have a party here, either. That did it for me, I couldn't top that so I was quickly able to let go. I was able to see this person as fearful and sick, and actually began to care about her. I also was able to admit and forgive myself for being foolish and manipulative. Then my own clouds lifted.
Now... here's where I need your help. What other triggers of depression have you experienced, and what did you find useful that you could share?
We'll talk about more severe forms of depression next post.