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Musicians and depression.

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Re: Musicians and depression.

Postby Ducasse » Thu Feb 24, 2005 6:41 am

I too deal with this stuff. I worked on an independent film project for a year- the last 2 months really intensely-doing the score from the bottom up. After it was all over I never wanted to sit at a computer again . I put away all my machines- got rid of the internet, and started studying classical piano. It really helped to get back to the "real" stuff. Now I have all my machines back on, but I still practice every day-. Being in my early 30's it is so rewarding to play things I have always wanted to but never dreamed I could. All the work we do pays of in some way or other- It doesn't go away. The only limits to your ability to achieve are our own self doubs.


I just remembered what sounds like a silly thing, but it holds wisdom for me... Myself and a fello muso used to smoke and play kung-fu games on the ps2 all the time. He was so good-not just a button masher-but an adaptive and present fighter( I know -bear with me). He would sometimes be losing and it would look like I would win, and he would just turn into a machine -chanting " never give up-Never give up!!" .. and then he would win. It's always stuck with me -
always try to win, no matter how impossible it looks.
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Re: Musicians and depression.

Postby Don Chishiotte » Thu Feb 24, 2005 4:42 pm

I am seriously impressed by your statements. It is a mini-lesson in itself.
the fact that you decided to get rid of your computer stuff and started on piano and classical harmony only shows your determination and single mindedness. You only decided to get it back because what you did showed absolute will to show to yourself that the computer stuff is helpful,not that,as a musician,you depend on it.
I also get in that frame of mind,to do things that help me as a musician or otherwise,to detach myself from the thought that without the pc I cannot make music. It's hard to exlplain but you know what I am taling about:music is the goal. as well as strictly improving on musical skills,not just how well we handle cubase or the parametric eq.
I find the latter very boring compared to the former(I am not saying it's useless,only it does what it does,no more)...I am more interested in music making

the kung fu story about your friend is also very relevant.
it's amazing,dont you think,sometimes those short events or single thoughts uttered by someone you relate to can really teach you something. I wish I could meet you and just hang around,people like you are very interesting to me. keep up the good work.

It's when we apply those things that things start to happen.
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Re: Musicians and depression.

Postby Ducasse » Thu Feb 24, 2005 8:41 pm

Thank you for the nice words Don. Yeah, the reason we use the machines is that we have a voice that wants to express itself-but too often that voice gets convoluted! , lost etc. because we rely on the machines and not the performance,writing or quality of our music. Writing good music is planning-and that happens away from the DAW- it is more akin to living. And i must say working on your teqnique is so rewarding-everyone can use an eq plugg well- fewer can rip through a Chopin piece. It makes you feel huge.
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Re: Musicians and depression.

Postby Sound Restoration Guy » Fri Feb 25, 2005 8:04 am

Platypus9 wrote:I've been there at various points myself. I'm a musician/technician with a psychology degree, so here's my brief 2 cents.

1) don't be afraid to ask for help. If you can afford a therapist, go for it, and don't let pride get in the way. Obviously you posted here, so that's a good start. Psychologists are better than psychiatrists with rare exceptions.

2) you can't treat depression only in regards to music, it's always a holistic life issue (as has already been said)

3) if you take medications (only advisable when combined with therapy), do your own research into side-effects and effectiveness. (St. John's Wart and Mellatonin are much safer than most drugs, and clinical studies show comparable effectiveness)

4) you do NOT have to be depressed to write great emotional music. This is a destructive myth.

Book Recommendation: Kenny Werner's "Effortless Mastery" is really great for its discussion of musician's attitudes and belief systems as relating to performance and creativity. It helped my break out of some childish attitudes in life and music.



I respect your "psychology degree" weight here but:


1. Why should he be asking for "help" - just because he is struggling at the moment to find his artistic voice? He doesn't seem to be a sick psychopat, i.e manace to the society or himself. He is just a moody and perhaps a little bit angry with himself musician/creator. As soon as he finds the concept/idea, his mood will change.
Of course, he can opt for the psychiatrists/psychologists/therapists solution if he has some money to burn ("This is Dr. Fraser Crane (who has more psychological problems than yourself, but still). I'm listening..")

2. Yes, he can treat the depression (or spells, I would think) by himself if he has a reasonably strong character, which I believe he has.

4. I think you are mixing this up. What is a "great emotional music" and how does one relate this to depression?
How would you describe the "destructive myth"? (Hollywood and New Age free definition is really preferable)


"Book Recommendation: Kenny Werner's "Effortless Mastery" is really great for its discussion of musician's attitudes and belief systems as relating to performance and creativity. It helped my break out of some childish attitudes in life and music."

I'm glad this book helped you break some childish attitudes in life and music. Some books suit certain age in life, some suit all ages. And some are just trendy...
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Re: Musicians and depression.

Postby Don Chishiotte » Fri Feb 25, 2005 8:08 am

that is the spirit....feeling huge,because you know that you really achieved something,this is so important. When it does not happen,it means our approach is wrong...that the approach has to be revised. For example,I am getting as much info as I can about the Lydian mode this week,and I am playing all that info on guitar,on keyboards,I sing it,then I play it in my imagination,I do whatever could be useful,even tried to eat it, LOL.
there is no time to think about failure,one cannot fail when he really knows what has to work on,who cares if it takes one day,one week or one month. As your friend said,dont give up. And,trust in yourself and lack of half-heartness is implied in that statement;)
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Re: Musicians and depression.

Postby Don Chishiotte » Sun Feb 27, 2005 4:43 am

I am reading this book by werner...it's really good,thanks for mentioning it :D
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Re: Musicians and depression.

Postby Don Chishiotte » Sun Feb 27, 2005 4:44 am

now that I come to think of it,it's great
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Re: Musicians and depression.

Postby phsycicdreamer » Sun Feb 27, 2005 9:43 pm

Davros i know how you feel as im right there now myself.

Read a book called ''im ok your ok'' also think about self hypnosis and reprogram your mind.
Check out www.hypnoticworld.com and get yourself positive.

IM not sure what all the eating diary products is all about.
Will someone enlighten me plz?

Bye.
ps:dont smoke skunk its terrible for mood swings.
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Re: Musicians and depression.

Postby Mike C4miles » Mon Feb 28, 2005 2:13 pm

Davros

you mention you hate your day job; well I'd guess there's some feedback going on here between that and the pressure you feel to complete musical projects. I've certainly been there: hated my day job (my boss actually, the arse) so much it affected every area of my life; bursts of irrational anger, feeling isolated and depressed etc etc. I managed to change my perspective on the whole thing after reading a book called 'Bioenergetics', probably long out of print. It helped me realise that this one individual played a very insignificant part in those bits of my life that mattered. The problems were in my head not his, and I could change that. Anyway, long story short, I swore never again to work for someone I didn't like, or do work I didn't enjoy. Been happier ever since. Get through this next period and then think about a change of day job. For now, just remind yourself you are doing the day job for the money and the security (mental and physical) that it brings. And talking about it helps!
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Re: Musicians and depression.

Postby mozart999uk » Mon Feb 28, 2005 2:17 pm

Just my 2 p's worth - I've gotten over mine (including Chronic Fatigue and all that stuff) by positive thinking. I bought "Susan Jeffers - feel the fear and do it anyway" and Dr. Norman Vincent Peale - Positive thinking. Morning's were the hardest to crack but with a work friend gently pushing me all the time and having these 2 books constantly on handmy entire life has changed around.

For me so many things begin with the way you think...did try anti depressants for a while but no great improvement.

Not that it will help you but I have to credit having a fantastic wife as well!

I wish you the very best in your journey.

Regards


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Re: Musicians and depression.

Postby Marbury » Sat Mar 05, 2005 1:03 am

Thank you everyone.I am taking into account some of the things you all said.I remember reading a book of Norman Vincant Peel's about possitive thinking.I must get hold of it again as he is writing from a Christian perspective, something I share with him.

When I am at work I kind of get excited as I mentaly plan what I am going to do musically that evening.It kind of helps me feel I am at least planning something while I am in the boring day job.When I get home I just get sidetracked into other things.But when I do actually go in the studio, all the plans and enthusiasm I had at work seems to have vapourised.Very strange.

Sometimes if I don't "feel" like making music or tackling a project I am having difficulty with, I do it anyway and ignore my feelings.Eventually, I forget how I feel and start to enjoy what I am doing.Very strange.I think if we didn't go off feelings so much we would achieve much more.
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Re: Musicians and depression.

Postby JSB » Sat Mar 05, 2005 2:58 am

Burn out is a terrible thing...almost impossible to notice until it actually happens. I had a similar thing 10 years ago where I dealt with publishers for so long, phoning, writing ( being rejected by!) that in the end I had forgotten why I had gotten into music in the first place. So as a release I studied Bach, The Cello Suites and Luteworks on guitar. It completely changed my life. Old Johann is as close as I get to religion without being a Christian. In his music I found a completely new dimension to pitch my thoughts in. I am still doing it today. I even turned what was an obsession with Bach into a job...giving recitals and lessons in classical guitar. Ironically, the music biz seemed to chase me for a change, albeit in a minor way. They say do the thing you love doing and all else follows. They could be right ( whoever they are!)

The thing is, I played so much I think I have worn my fingers out. Not sure if it's tendonitis or what but I can't play too well at all now!! 12 hrs a day every day for 15 years finally took it's toll which is why I am now turning my attention to recording poppy/Latin stuff. Much easier on the digits. But this is no bad thing as it allows me to explore different things and has resulted in other bouts of good fortune.

The point to all of this is that we are in lap of the gods and should accept it. Maybe some dark thoughts and some low feelings really are the springboard to bigger things and we should recognise that at the time and make use of it. I know people whose lives have run smoothly without pain since they were born. They are the most banal, mundane, trivial people I have ever met. Their idea of depression is the car-washer not working. Depression is a strong emotion that, with a little help and imagination, can be turned to our advantage and lead to good places you would never have dreamed of. Believe it!
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Re: Musicians and depression.

Postby Marbury » Tue Mar 08, 2005 12:32 am

Since I posted this topic I have been taking natural subastances like St John's Wort and Fish oils with Omega 3.I feel its doing me the world of good as I am much more possitive and don't have that heavy feeling on my head.Perhaps it has also got something to do with the nights starting to get a bit lighter too.
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Re: Musicians and depression.

Postby Sprinkler » Tue Mar 08, 2005 10:19 am

Hi,

Many people suffer from depression, including me. I've had several extended sick periods in the last 3 years, totally about 10 months in all and a great amount of help. I still shake daily without even realising it.

It was caused by stress from overwork and not taking time out in my daily job, developing web sites.

I personaly found that correct medication helped to pull me up and then, most importantly allocating a bit of "me" time helps keep me on track. BTW, to relax I go to my local pub and play piano on open mic nights.

I also found that a time management course helped, not because I was disorganised, but becauseI let people dump work on me. If this is the case with you, read "The one minute manager meets the monkey" It lets you keep control of your time.

Whatever you do, dont ignore it.
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Re: Musicians and depression.

Postby Leitmotif » Wed Mar 09, 2005 3:48 pm

I have suffered from depression, anxiety and panic disorder for years now and (touch wood) am healthy about 95% of the time now. Anti-depressants saved my life in the first instance. Cognitive therapy along with serious training in the martial arts (involving meditation and tai chi) provided me with the basis for a 'cure'.

Depression has been the hardest thing I have had to deal with, particularly when the thoughts just seem to vanish from your mind and everything around you seems lifeless or terrifying.

But at the end of the day, I have a wonderful gift - creativity. I firmly believe that the price of a truly creative mind is instability of mood. Through professional help and dedicated soul-searching I have learned to love my instability, and it has become the source of my creativity rather than the enemy of it ;) All the best, L.
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