Friday, November 25, 2016

A War Before Breakfast

It's exhausting being me sometimes... as much as I love being me I find myself very hard to live with! 

My mood swings and emotions are all over the place sometimes. Within an hour I can feel so exhausted I find it hard to speak, get annoyed over little things, perk up a little, become quite hyper and bubbly then a little confused and all this repeats and shuffles and intensifies and crashes within a matter of minutes. All for no reason or explanation. Although I act this way I may have no idea why I'm annoyed or why I'm hyper. There is still a numbness and void of internal emotions but the outside is doing it's own thing. There's no connection between feelings, emotions and expression. Yet I have moments where the numbness and emotional void leave me feeling empty and it shows on the outside. I do nothing. I look sad. I have no energy.

I've found ways of coping with this and putting up with it. I've found a way of hiding it too. I'm an incredible actress sometimes, through no choice of my own. It's as though my mind overcompensates. Sometimes I can be overly happy and hyper because I'm feeling upset, lost or anxious. Other times I seem quiet and calm but inside I'm crumbling under the pressure. Yet when I wake up the mornings are hard. This seems to be the time of day when I can't act. I can get to work full of anxiety and feel an angsty misery but as soon as I get going I'm OK.

I think that's the thing that people forget sometimes though. They see me working, being in a crowd, out at events, even performing on stage and presume I must be OK now. But have no idea how hard it can be to get out of bed and leave my home. Waking up from a bad night's sleep with nearly every night involving nightmares. The anxiety and panic I have over the day ahead. The upset of having to see myself in the mirror. Choking whilst brushing my teeth because of the sickness I feel. The fact I check my door handle over and over then have to talk myself out of driving back home to check it again. They see me turn up, smile and get on with my day but I've already fought a war before breakfast.

Much love,
Becky xx

Monday, November 21, 2016

Give Me 'The Answer'

Once again I’ve been to my version of music therapy... a live gig. We got to the front and waited for the band to come on; one that holds memories of my dad and whenever I listen to ‘dads’ music played live I feel a connection to him. I know that mum and I are at gigs as a three and it’s also a way I challenge myself as I now find it nerve wracking in large crowds. It’s worth it for the experience because once my favourite bands start playing it’s like a musical hug. You get wrapped up in it. Especially with The Answer. Their albums are technically perfect for me; vocals, instruments, lyrics, genre, sound, even the album artwork but live they are on a totally different level. It’s not just that I prefer live music it’s their performance.

They aren’t performing music, they are the music. They are every note and lyric amplified, especially with this new album. I purposely hadn’t listened to the new album as I like to hear it live first. I’m used to the energetic rocky blues style of The Answer but this new album was something different. They constantly evolve and this album still has their sound but it’s deeper and the bands Irish routes shine through. You could hear and see the depth of meaning in the tracks played and certain lyrics and riffs screamed out at me. Before the last track was played they announced that this song summed up their album which was made after they had gone through a really dark time. I’m not claiming that dark time was mental health related but for me some of the album relates to going through a struggle which many of us know all too well.

To finish the last track the singer, Cormac Neeson, made his way through the crowd to the merchandise stand where he thanked people for coming. I was so happy to meet Cormac and asked if I could give him a hug! It felt appropriate because I knew what I’d just heard and seen was probably their version of ‘music therapy’. I felt it and related to it. For me, a band who has been going 10 years and had success, don’t tend to greet people like that but I’m guessing it means the world to them to have the support from fans that they do. The rest of the members, Paul Mahon, Micky Waters and James Heatley, came after they had made it off the stage to meet fans and the albums for sale had been signed by each member on the cover, another personal touch that will have made many people’s day. By giving fans the chance to meet them and tell them they enjoyed the performance will have meant the world to some. I think a lot of fans just want to say thank you or tell a band they’ve followed them from the start or they played one of their songs at their wedding or in my case “my dad was a huge fan”. One of their albums, Everyday Demons, in particular sticks with me as a memory of dad because he loved it and listened to it a lot before he passed away. He played certain songs on repeat and played along on his guitar. When I listen to those songs and know his story I know why they were on repeat. They hit home with him.

For a band it’s a brave thing to do to put down your thoughts and experiences into lyrics. It will be judged by critics, magazines, radio hosts, fans, new listeners and their own friends and family will know what the lyrics relate to. It might ‘give away clue’s’ of what they’ve been through. So why don’t they write something less personal... because you need to write from the heart to make music believable. This isn’t a factory made band told what to sing, what to wear, how to perform and given a track to play. It is four musicians. In fact it’s four guys on stage in front of a lot of people saying this is us and that’s what fans relate to.

I hope the message they receive back from fans is thank you. Thank you for speaking for millions of people who relate to your lyrics and don’t know how to put them into words. Thank you for your insight and for sharing your thoughts so openly. Thank you for another amazing album that I can enjoy and a gig I’ll remember. Thank you to each one of you.

It rocked!

Much love,
Becky xx

Songs I related to the most with my depression:
  • ·         Tunnel
  • ·         Battle Cry
  • ·         Demon Driven Man
  • ·         Solas
The new album Solas is definitely worth a listen along with their previous albums.
The Answer Official Facebook Page:
The Answer Twitter Account:

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Bonfire Night Battle

With November 5th being Bonfire Night here in the UK we celebrate by lighting bonfires and setting off fireworks. Many organised events take place around the country on large and smaller scales. These are licensed events but fireworks are available from most convenience stores and supermarkets too for the general public to buy. 

The sky really is a light on this night with continuous explosions, flashes, bangs, crackles and squeals. So much so that the sky can become smokey during the peek times of fireworks being set off.

There are some amazing displays but consider the impact that fireworks can have. They are loud, sudden noise that can be hard far and wide. If your neighbour sets off a large rocket it can even make your windows rattle and echo through your house. You can see the flashes of light through windows when you are nearby. There is no warning noise with some fireworks just a loud bang. Some whistle which makes you anticipate the bang, which some will explode loudly and others won't.

Many people don't like fireworks and become anxious when they hear them. They can be stressful and make you jump when you don't expect them, for anybody. Now imagine Bonfire Night for war veterans or others who have experienced a traumatic explosion and are suffering with PTSD. The explosive bang can trigger flashbacks of war zones or cause intrusive thoughts. This isn't the case for every veteran but for a large amount with PTSD it is.

So how can we help? Preferably by attending an organised event. As these are advertised with a date and time it gives anyone who struggles the chance to anticipate and prepare for the noise and if they wish to remove themselves from the area they can do. Some veterans prefer to leave their homes and go to a more secluded area for the night around Bonfire Night, July 4th, New Years Eve, etc... If you are setting off fireworks let your neighbours know the date and time, where you will be setting them off from on your property and stick to those plans.

Stay safe and be considerate. It's not all ooh's and aah's.

Much love,
Becky xx