Tip: How I find confidence & pursue being authentic

Everybody’ i prone to being struck down by something.
The rational small hole that is our weakness always gets bigger in our own perception.
when it starts coming down it ain’t easy to stop.

Well let me tell you this.
I’m convinced that everybody who made it to this community came here because of their passion and interest. A kind of eagerness that is to be found in all of us.
It sparks our curiosity but can feed doubt just the same.
I’m also convinced we all have either faced, are facing or will face some mental crisis(es) in our lives.
You will read stuff above and you will relate. that’s good.
Knowing you’re not alone is a big one.

My strength is my weakness: being a generalist.
I find my way in various fields of “expertise” but I will never shine in one.
I will never commit the critical mass of dedication to one aspect in order to excel because I like to have a broad approach that supports a lot of opportunities.
If you get a hit in one of your “fields”, you can recover thanks if you surf the momentum of your other things. Get hit in several aspects of your life at the same time and your structure fails.
Yes there will be sadness, hate, disappointment, 0% energy to focus, 0 trust in people you obviously took for granted. You’ll remain mad at certain things (from yourself and others) for a long while.
Sounds like a classic depression? it’s more common than you think.
Just make sure you don’t mistake a small crisis for a depression. Depression makes you wear a mask, that’s the hard part.

Best advice I can give in that part is: Be AUTHENTIC. It makes your life easier.
failing in something you tried yourself is still easier than being disappointed by others I think.
I learned that my gut feeling was right about a lot of things. I’ve been through a bit of crisis when my intuition didn’t match the rational thinking. Now I dare to follow my intuition. I don’t take it for truth but it is a rightful partner, alongside my rational thinking and deduction. They “discuss” instead of fight now :)

About emotions. I also believe they are a symptom, not a cause.
you shouldn’t hold them back, you should listen and gather information.

I never wanted to admit I was in a depression.
That “wasn’t going to happen to ME, the mental strong guy”.
Every mental fortress has its flaws. Overconfidence in some parts makes you blind.
I know that now. I know now that I was battling a depression and I lost and I went through it.
It was only in the acceptance that I learned that.

It often takes some outsides to point you to the fact that “how come a jolly guy like you, who creates and does stuff I’m jealous of, can possibly think he’s in a depression?”
It will make you think. Why don’t I feel like I’m delivering? I am actually doing some things that have a result but it FEELS like it is only the no-challenge stuff I manage to do and I FEEL like I’m ACHIEVING NOTHING?

THAT’s when you have to be very careful.
That was me a few years ago.

I’m still not completely cured but I’m more driven than ever. Looking back at a year of rendering real new results, I know I’m going up again but the dips? they come back, but I recognize them.
They’re still hard to deal with but I KNOW they will pass as they come.
That’s my real strength right now :)

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Lieven, very interesting thoughts about depression and how it can break even strong people. I have battled with depression for most of my life, so can really relate. I have always been perceived as a high achiever, and yet there is always a voice in my head telling me that my successes are fraudulent or lucky or undeserved. The rational side can list a dozen reasons why I do deserve credit for whatever achievements I may have, but that insidious voice will always be in the background. As you said (or I think you said), it makes no sense to anyone else that someone who seems smart, funny, outgoing and accomplished can be depressed. It is truly an invisible disease, or at least that is the way I view it.

I don’t know you well enough to know the story that prompted your post, but it definitely strikes some chords that resonate with me.

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Thank you for your honesty. Mental health should be a major concern to everyone and we should stop being shamed for talking honestly about it.

I am seriously depressed and been having a difficult time even picking up my guitar as of late, but when I do, I feel better. I try to get the motivation to play but recently I feel like I’m floundering and can’t even get the energy to pick up the guitar.

I think it’s time I seek professional help. Intellectually I know I’m not alone, but being the only one inside my head sure makes me feel isolated. My ADHD doesn’t help and the brain weasels tell me I’m no good at music.

I keep trying. I love Justin’s lessons. :heart: I will keep trying to play and hopefully I can find my passion again.

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Hope things improve for you mate. Sounds like you really need to reach out to someone. Best do it now before it escalates any further. We all need to lean on each other sometimes.
Cheers, Shane.

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Rachel - just a message of support and friendship for you. :hugs:

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This is why this thread is important.

Everyone will experience depression, go through the valley, be frustrated, anger turned inward. Creative people are especially sensitive, thoughtful, contemplative… The guitar journey is challenging - I ought to be better by now, everyone plays well, sings well…

No you are not alone. Every single one of us will do better with going to therapy. It is not a weakness… It is life. We all need help. You are not weird. We all face it to some degree.

Talking about it out loud to someone helps untangle negative thought patterns. Don’t think about it, go do it. I was in a university program we were required to go through counseling. It was amazing.

Last thing. I remember a post on the old forum - a long time player listing tips/advice. One thing stuck out - do not compare yourself to others, we all learn at different pace, and are at different places in our guitar journey. I suck at guitar. No. I’m exactly where I should be and will get better in time, with consistent, effective, persistant practice. Guitar, music takes time. Keep on rockin.

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For you and for everyone else that replied:

Thank you so much. I can feel your care through the page and I’m crying that people actually care. I plan on using my employers counseling service and talking to my primary doctor.

I don’t know how to convey my thanks enough. :purple_heart:

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@LievenDV Excellent subject and thread of conversation. One of the songs I sing is Method Acting (Dave Rawlings) and it has a chorus that goes…


But I know that I feel better when I sing
Burdens are lifted from me
That’s my voice rising

That describes in a nutshell my own battles with depression and music.

When I can feel the mood / black dog nipping at my heels, I grab my guitar and find a place to play and sing, invariably I feel noticeably better. Some times it’s a huge difference, some times not as much but it’s always better.

I’m glad the topic is being talked about openly here. It’s a topic with much importance.

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Rachael, this sounds like some wise advise you’ve given yourself. Sometimes admitting you need help can be the hardest step to take towards recovery.

I wish you Well.

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This was an older post and I’m feeling more secure again these days.
Good to see it incites a bit of conversation and people find nuggets that trigger reflection.

Singing and playing guitar has been my best therapy.
There are days I can wonder why I am doing it all but other moments I make 3 commissioned artworks, write a song for a dying friend and absolutely nail the live version on his funeral.

Emotions become an palette for me to paint with instead of gauges I needed to keep above or below certain values.
I embrace grief when I feel it but I found ways to channel it.
I re-discovered the wonders of a 3 long nights of sleep in a row.
I have used Covid isolation to spread my planning and found more time to actually breathe.
Now I need to refresh my (musical) purpose.
It’s the beginning of the year so I’ll be posting my mindmap soon :wink:

yes, “Imposter Syndrome” is alway around the corner, no matter how good or bad you are feeling.
I’m a bit smarter now though, I regularly win an argument with the voice.
The “using my emotions as a palette” works well for me here as well.

When you are there, at a point thinking that, you’re not in square 1 anymore and that’s good.
This isn’t a moment where your life freezes until you end therapy.
Your life goes on but therapy will make the engine run better.
It will sputter, there will be ups and downs but the trend will bend upwards.
Don’t “wait” to be cured. Accept that it will always be a challenge and a part of your life but something you learn to give the right place.
I wish you the absolute best and strength!

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If your employer has this kind of service then you should take advantage. I have shared elsewhere in this community that I have had struggles with depression.

A couple of years ago I arrived at a point where I was experiencing a lot of suicidal ideation - not actively acting out, but just spending most of my time wishing it would just be over. When I would go to bed at night, my final thoughts would be dreading tomorrow. I wanted to go to sleep and just not wake up anymore. Work stress was eating me up and I was working anywhere from 12 to 20 hours a day. I was also having problems with home life (too complicated to get into, but marriage and parenting 2 very difficult kids) so home was no comfort.

I finally got to the point one morning where I drove to work (where I was still a high achiever) and I could not get out of my car and go into the building. I just could not do it anymore. I called my boss and told him I had to take leave. I was terrified because we were in the middle of a very high stakes project and my role was very visible and important. No one at work knew any of this was going on with me.

My boss was actually very supportive and told me to take care of myself. Told me that my health and well-being are more important than any project. Told me not to worry about work or my job. You can probably imagine the relief I felt, and I realize that not everyone is fortunate enough to have that kind of support from an employer. I really did not know this guy well because I had only been reporting to him for less than a year, and I work in a different state and had only met him in person a few times.

My next call was to our HR department’s life events team (I think that’s what they call themselves). They referred me to a psychologist (actually they provided a very large list so that I could choose one that appealed to me) and helped me set up an initial appointment within a few days.

Talk therapy was nice - I like to talk about me, and the therapist is kind of a captive listener, so that works out nicely. We got me set up with some anti-depressant and anxiety meds pretty quickly and had weekly therapy sessions.

So, did this cure my depression? No, it absolutely did not. It gave me space and time out of the stress that was just crushing me at work. The talk therapy helped me realize that I really was not taking care of any of my own needs. I think the meds helped get my brain chemistry sorted a bit. None of it has really taken depression away, but it got me back to the point that I am able to cope. I am able to enjoy life and look forward to things like seeing friends and family, traveling, things like that. The “black dog” will always be with me, but it is more akin to a chronic pain like an arthritic knee.

Anyway, I was away from work for 6 weeks, just getting my head and emotional life back together. It was during that time that I decided to get a guitar and try to learn to play.

Now here I am a couple of years older, and after several stops and starts on my guitar journey I still can’t really play songs that anyone else wants to listen to, but that’s ok. If I reach the point where I am comfortable playing songs and (yikes!) maybe even singing them with people, that’s great. If I don’t, that’s great too! I will start recording some of my efforts and posting them in the community at some point even if it isn’t particularly good.

So, this turned into a long post about my favorite thing to talk about: ME! But seriously, I am sharing all of this because I don’t think it is unique. I want you, and others who may go through life in pain because of depression to understand that you are not alone. There are a lot of “us” dealing with this monkey on our backs. I almost think of this disease as a handicap, but that is such a loaded word that I am reluctant to throw it out there. Of course, “disease” is also loaded, but that’s what this thing is. Everyone gets “the blues” sometimes, but this kind of depression is a disease or biochemical imbalance that interferes with our ability to experience happiness or satisfaction.

It is absolutely terrifying to seek help. One of the worst aspects of depression is that it robs you of hope, so you end up “knowing” that nothing is going to help anyway, so you just have to deal with it and hide it from the world. I feel like it was actually a courageous step for you to come here and share some of what you are going through, so I hope you are able to take the next step and get some help. It is scary, but you can do it.

[edited to add] I should have said even if your employer does not offer this kind of service, seek help. Primary care physician is also a good starting point.

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Dave thank for your openness and honesty. It must be difficult to share such personal experiences but to do so in the support and care for others in similar circumstances, especially the “relative” strangers in this community, is a wonderful act of compassion. :bowing_man:

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Very cool.I think it takes someone with Musical inclination to understand what you are getting.I hear someone go “huh?” To your post.Brother your not alone,you have the facility to articulate it… Keep Playing…

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Dave, Rachel, Tony, Lieven

I really appreciate all the openness and sharing. My thoughts are with you and others who may be struggling.

I guess we all have our moments of deeper struggles and I am grateful and appreciative for this Community being a part of my life, the music and friendship here helped me get through some of my own tougher times.

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