Surprise Listening: Hearing my early music releases

I heard some of my early vocal recordings the other day. Listening to my own material is usually problematic for me; I can barely get through my own songs. I pick, I deride, I put myself down. This time I didn’t.

What I heard was a real revelation to me. I heard depression. Over and over, depression. It wasn’t just the music, either, tho my early stuff was terribly negative. My voice sounded depressed. I’ve been compared to Souxsie of Souxsie and the Banshees a lot, but never heard it before. I finally did: everything sounded just that tenth of a percent of a note flat. If I wasn’t singing with depression, I was singing with anger, which sounds just as bad….sorry, me, it sounds just as slightly off key. Not bad. That’s a judgement.

On my last solo release, I was asked to put one positive song somewhere on the album. I struggled with it, and finally came up with something. It wasn’t very positive. In fact, it was outright saying: I’m depressed does anyone have anything hopeful to send my way?

I don’t have any happy songs in my solo repertoire. I do know when I’ve worked with other artists in band situations I’ve been happier and both the music and my voice have shown it. My solo material is an entirely different animal.

Two things are very evident to me today. One, I’m not depressed right now. Defo not. Two, I’ve been stuck in depression for years, decades even. Since turning 20 (and that’s going on 30 years ago now), I’ve had a few ups (notably a 3 year stint when I never slept more than 5 hours a night and went ALL the time) but mostly I’ve been down. Down so far I didn’t even know I was down. Down so long I thought it was ‘normal’. And I guess it did become normal for me. We all readjust to new situations; when my RA flares up I become used to the pain rather quickly, and when the pain finally goes away it’s very noticeable because I’ve already readjusted to having pain every damned day. So I’m sure I felt ‘normal’ while having suicidal thoughts.

I want to cry for the me that’s done this all these years with no help. I want to cry for the wasted decades spinning my wheels and being unable to move ahead with my life. I want to hold my family to blame for not recognizing the obvious and doing what they always told me a family did – support and help me. I want to vomit over the whole thing.


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