Today we are doing something a little different on the blog. We have a guest post from Erica. We met Erica at a show this fall...she has been listening to us for a few years and we hadn't gotten a chance to meet IRL until last year. Erica told us about how one of our songs (Chasing Storms) in particular had really helped her through a difficult time in life and we asked her if she'd be up for sharing her story on our blog with all of you guys. She said yes, so her story is below!
See, we get to hear your stories...when you email us, send us letters, or tell us in person, but we have this feeling that we ALL need to be hearing each other's stories. So many of you guys have OVERCOME, pushed through, risen after falling, achieved HARD goals and we are always so inspired by your stories.
We've noticed that a lot of people we talk to and meet through our music have struggled with or do struggle with anxiety and depression. We've also shared with you guys how we each have struggled with those things too. Some of you might even have found us because of some of our songs that deal with those issues: (Life & Breath & Everything, My Love, Breakdown, Finding My Own Way....to name a few.)
There is no shame in having struggles with these things...and we believe they can not only get BETTER, but that by sharing our stories with each other, we can all make it through together.
So here is Erica's story...thank you, Erica, for sharing this with us and with everyone. We're all in this together!
(Ps: If you want to share your story on our blog, you can send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org)
I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin. Same town my parents grew up in and same town I live in now. It’s one of those places everybody knows everybody’s business.
I’ll give you a little background of myself. I was 12 years old when I was first diagnosed with A.D.D (Attention Deficit Disorder.) I was put on medicine almost immediately. School was very difficult for me. Keeping friendships was very difficult for me and life in general was very difficult for me. I grew up in the shadow of my older brother. He was 2 years older, smarter, taller and skinnier than me. It wasn’t until I was older that I learned to appreciate the smarter and taller genes he got!
Let’s skip ahead a few years.
September 2014 -- I decided that the medication I was on for my A.D.D. wasn’t working the best and I wanted a change. I went and saw my doctor and she decided on a prescription that she thought would work best for me. She said to try it for about a month and then let her know.
Month 1: Though I was still working full time, when I came home, I slept. I was working full-time from 7am-3pm. I’d come home and sleep from 4pm until about 6 the next morning.
The only thing that I knew would never ‘leave’ me…was music.
Things in my head weren’t right. I started to become sad. My anxiety levels were at an all-time high. My cry switch was on all the time. I started ‘abusing myself’ you could say. I have numerous scars on my knuckles, large and small. Cement walls were my favorite thing to punch.
One time, I decided to take on a stop sign. I had to superglue my knuckles shut on that one. In my head, all I could think was that if I went into the ER, no one would believe me.
The next morning, I called my doctor and left a message. ….something wasn’t right. But no one called me back.
Month 2: I felt that punching things wasn’t enough pain inflicted on myself anymore. Still no call back from the doctor. At this point my friends and family knew something was wrong, but I had a few friends that wouldn’t leave me alone. As good as it should have felt to know someone cared, honestly, it sucked. This led to suicide attempts 1 and 2. Details won’t ever be necessary. All I know is that because of 2 people and 1 song…my life was saved.
My best friend then took it upon herself and called my doctor. She gave her a good earful and my doctor responded to her/me by upping my medication dosage. At this point I was willing to try anything.
Months 3 and 4 blended together. I started calling into work. I stopped showing up. By this point, my boss knew something was up. She pulled me into her office and tried to help. She let me know she was there, that my job was there. Suicide attempt 3 occurred. I stopped doing some of my all-time favorite things and instead stayed at home and did nothing. Absolutely nothing. I was 26, still living with my parents, absolutely hating life.
And then, one night, literally out of nowhere, something in me became aware of everything the last 4 months had done to me. That night, a friend showed up at my house and wanted to go to our favorite spot. At this point I had nothing to lose, so we went. We talked for hours about everything. She sat there and listened and honestly it felt amazing. One thing I remember her asking after hearing my story that was “What did you used to do that made you happy? What made you believe anything was possible?” One thing came instantly to mind: Music.
I called my doctor once again the next morning. I told her I would no longer be taking the medication and that I wanted to see her physician’s assistant. The P.A. called me back within 20 minutes of calling and she had me come in within an hour. She got everything straightened out that day, but now I was so far into my depression, that I needed help to get out.
I’ve always loved music, but being depressed made me appreciate music that much more. I used to just listen to the sound of the music, but I realized the words are the most important part. That’s the part that tells the story. That’s the part that draws you to the artist. Whoever said there is a song for everything you go through, they weren’t lying.
It took me about 5 months to get semi- back- to- normal. In those 5 months I listened to music day in and day out. It was the only thing that made me happy; Inside and out.
The song Chasing Storms hit so close to home that I knew I could do this. That there was a reason for that exact storm. That I could make my life…….Possible.
‘Cause you’re tired from chasing the wind.
It was all at your fingertips but you can’t feel it anymore.
When everything is not enough
You’re so afraid to fight for it.