What makes you happy?
I thought I had made it through the indecision and the uncertainty. I was wrong. A couple of weeks ago, the feeling came back. I remember it well — having no clue what the hell I want, what I like, who I am or what i'm doing.
One minute I was what I believe to be my true self — driven and passionate about working as hard as I can to put myself in a good, happy situation in life. The one that's always been mad on music and surrounded by notepads full of lyrics.
Next minute a switch had flicked in my abnormally delicate brain which left me anxious and confused. I stumbled across something called The Happiness Planner online, and noticed a picture of a page which asks you to list the things that make you happy. It stopped me in my tracks because I realised I hadn't thought about that for a while. A lot of the time it is difficult to tell. As a sufferer of both generalised anxiety disorder and OCD (a delightful cocktail), most things other than sitting under a blanket watching British sitcoms involve worry, and worry makes me sad.
Attempting to separate the real anxiety from the fake anxiety is like trying to find a genuine SD card on eBay. I assume that I love music, but when everything about the idea of a future within the industry fills me with dread, how do I know whether that dread is actually fake paranoia caused by my OCD or genuine dread that tells me I should stop being a musician and promoting myself because it makes me ill? I face internal battles of this kind daily. Occasionally, I get a brief window of normality where I see the world like everyone else. Everything seems logical. Everything makes sense. I feel like I can cope. Then I just don't know anymore. I get so confused that I lose track of everything that I am aiming for.
Those times are when you'll probably get a grunt in reply to any question about how my music is going. Those times are when I lose weight, go to sleep later than I should and let the progress I have made in my life fade away. When I am well, I sometimes wonder where I could be if I had a healthy brain. Maybe I would have started performing live long ago. Maybe I would be living on my own or travelling the world. Maybe I would be fearlessly promoting myself to as many people as possible. My friend Autumn Dawn Leader, an amazingly talented musician who suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder, posted this video on YouTube the other day called "What I Wanted Vs What I Got".
It made me consider the sheer amount of creative minds worldwide that must have been compromised by mental illness. How many amazing opportunities that weren't taken. How many lives that have been lost. It truly breaks my heart. The fact that me and Autumn continue to make and share music despite our challenges must mean that we know somewhere deep down who we are and what makes us happy.
I suppose if there's something i've learnt over the past few weeks it's that decisions and conclusions should not be made in a bad state of mind. Maybe I only know what makes me happy when I am happy. I've never believed that an illness should stop you from doing the things that you love — there is always a way to make things work if you try hard enough. Even if I am growing up and changing my preferences, I will find my way eventually. I suppose this is a confused and somewhat thought-spilling post, but it's the one I needed to write. Don't worry, there's one coming up soon about the TV programme Life On Mars.