Stress and Anxious Thoughts pt2
One of the main causes of stress and anxious thoughts I have experienced recently is the thought of playing live in front of an audience with my band for the first time in 10 years. So far, the stress and anxious thoughts have been manageable so far, and in some ways really healthy in that I have been pushed out of my comfort zone and been forced to pick up my guitar again and play music for the first time in years. I miss playing, and more importantly I missed playing music with my friends, so the stress and anxiety accompany the joy and happiness of playing music again. This is something I can definitely handle, but the past is the past, it lurks in the background reminding me why it’s been ten years since I played with my friends, and it has at times proven more difficult to cope with than the thought of standing in front of people playing music again.
Ten years ago I was an emotional and physical mess. I was 31 years old, I was struggling with my identity, I was struggling with my addiction to alcohol and my use of illicit drugs, I was struggling with depression, and I was struggling with whether or not I wanted to continue being alive. I had not benefited from my ability to write a song. I had not benefited from my ability to hold a note. I had not benefited from being in a band with some amazing, talented people. My behaviour was often abhorrent to others, it was certainly abhorrent to me at times. I had been through a period of self harming, I had a criminal record, my family were slowly being disenfranchised by my continuing unreliability and emotional instability, and for me, it appeared my choices regarding my future were narrowing by the day. I couldn’t function, and I believed I certainly couldn’t function without the aid of chemicals. Life was dark and the future appeared unwelcoming.
That was ten years ago. These days, I have been clean and sober for almost 8 years, and the opportunity to play music with my friends again was just too good an opportunity to miss out on. Our old promoter and manager offered us a gig last years, we agreed to do it, although I never really thought it would actually happen. We are now 4 weeks away from playing our first gig together in well over a decade. If truth be told, I am shitting myself, but in a good way. The last few months have been a struggle as I try to learn to play again, but it has been incredibly rewarding. Just being in a room together with my friends has been an incredible experience. And at times, we have sounded like a proper band. Hopefully by the time the gig comes round we will sound like a band most of the time, but I honestly don’t care. At this point, the whole experience has been life affirming. The boys are just a joy to be around, and I have felt incredibly alive. Roll on the 4th of March.