Mary Lucia: Just remember to breathe

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Mary talks about how to overcome anxiety and self-medication in the music community. (MPR Video)

I saw a video that I wanted to share with you guys. It's from Noisey, and it's a short film — seven minutes — about the correlation between mental health issues and being a musician.

Now, of course, musicians are not the only people who struggle with wicked anxiety and depression, but in that culture self-medicating with drugs and booze is kind of par for the course. The video explores two separate musicians who go through their own crippling, isolating panic attacks and anxiety to the point where it takes them out of the music that they started playing, it took all the enjoyment out of it.

My feeling is, when you get into the place where you think, "I am so isolated, I'm so special, this is only something I can understand," you need to realize: that is not the truth. You're not that special. And if that sounds harsh, I'm sorry, but there are so many other people that feel the exact same way you do, and the hardest part of this is just being able to talk about it with somebody. Because you realize how many other people will say, "Yeah, I know exactly what you're talking about, I feel that way, and this is what I did or this is what I did."

There's not a magic bullet, unfortunately, but talk therapy, medication, exercise, music therapy, animals, being kind to other people, getting outside your head, remembering to breathe — these are all things that will get you hopefully back to a place where you may still be living with a low-grade level of despair — but you can still find humor in things, and the absurdity in life, and what's beautiful, and again, just realizing that you have to get a little bit creative. When I was a kid and I wanted to play and nobody was around, I had to make my own fun. I'd literally go up to my bedroom and read my books out loud to my cat. Take that for what you want. But that helped me, and frankly, I think I still do that to this day.

But getting creative about your own recovery is a huge part of this, and talking to people. Just remember to breathe.

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