In honor of World Mental Health Day, Andy Frasco has shared a testimonial via Backline about perceptions of touring musicians’ states of mind, the way social media has affected our personal interactions, and changing his thinking to better appreciate life.
Backline is the newly-launched hub for artists, industry professionals and their families to quickly and easily access mental health and wellness resources.
You can read Andy Frasco’s Backline Leadership Story in full below:
When you think of a musician’s life and mind state, what do you think?
Constant laughs in between solos, drugs, orgies, tour buses and rock n roll? Thinking “that person is living the dream, being exactly who they always wanted to be, no worries in the world”. And us musicians, maybe introverts to loneliness, feel like we have to perpetuate that false narrative to our fans because it isn’t “ok” for their heroes to be sad and vulnerable… it makes you think.
Don’t you hate that social media makes you not want to call anyone just to ask how they’re doing anymore? It’s like we see all the good things people go through in their lives online, so in our heads, we think they don’t need a friend on a deeper personal level anymore. It’s like our best friends are sitting right next to us but we have no idea who they are anymore. We need to fix that train of thought.
Mental Health.. it’s hard to talk about because what is it? I didn’t really know what to say that I haven’t already said or seen through our feeds. See, life is strange sometimes. Even when you think you’re in the prime of your life going through experiences that will eventually shape you into the person you will be in the future, we’re still plagued with these feelings that we are in this alone. That nobody is experiencing what our brain is going through. This is bogus, we need to realize that suppressing our feelings is unhealthy, making us more lonely and that showing the world only the good things will make us too focused on how others perceive us, rather than how we perceive ourselves.
So now, let’s take a second. Not for your work, not for your kids, spouse, mortgage (etc.) but let’s take a second for you. How are you feeling? What’s going on inside today?
Sometimes we forget who we’ve become because we’re too distracted by what everyone else is doing. If we’re going to distract ourselves, let it be the type of distractions you want in your life. Why should we feel a certain form of jealousy or fear of missing out just because we’re analyzing how others play out their lives? It’s their life, not ours.
Shouldn’t we be focused on how to make ourselves better? I get it though, we’re nervous to do these things alone. Hence why we over-think, over-drink and over-criticize. It’s scary, but once you put your fear aside, I promise, you will overcome. It’s the risk that helps us keep going. It’s the understanding that life will come as it comes and that we should be looking forward to it.
What I’m getting at it is: I just want people to get along with their life, that’s all. There has been a lot of unfortunate misunderstandings in our little music community. It’s heartbreaking and we need to learn from this. We need to have a better relationship with our mind. Understand when it’s feeling blue and mourn with it…not fight it or try to paint a pretty, false picture over it. We’re made to be unhappy sometimes so that when you finally do feel that sunshine you’ve been seeking, we can appreciate it and celebrate it together. Don’t hold your blue moments in until you explode; Tell a friend when you’re feeling down, they’re probably going through a form of the same thing.
If we can accept that we are going to change multiple times throughout our life, then we can start having a better relationship with our minds through embracing change with open arms and not overthinking it. This isn’t an easy task, I know this. Your mind is going to fight all these changes because it’s not used to it. But through these fights with your self, those moments when life gets tough… that’s when it makes the sweet moments even sweeter. Get comfortable and enjoy the ride you want to take, not what your peers and loved ones want you to do. Because when it comes down to it, whatever’s good or whatever’s bad… it’s all part of this same long rollercoaster, so we might as well keep learning and keep moving forward.
To me, life is about good friends and trying to stay in the moment. If social media is keeping you from that, then make a change. Stop listening to the clutter. Don’t wait to find whatever you’re looking for in life, look for it in the present moment. I mean, can you even remember the last time you were completely present (I’ll give you a couple seconds)? Do you remember the stillness of your breath… the stillness of your mind… how all the distractions just faded away? Take a moment to find that today and everyday moving forward.
Because life is a miracle… don’t take advantage of it. We never know when it’s our time to leave this beautiful, f*cked up place… so you might as well find your serenity in it. Whatever it might be… if you’re feeling stressed or anxious, remember that moment when your mind was still and your smile was genuine. Authenticity will slowly keep the demons away.
So stay strong, stay true, and always remember—there are colors and views everywhere we go… all we have to do is look up to see the beauty in them.
Don’t be a prisoner of your own mind. You are not alone. We are here to help. Rest in peace Jeff, Neal and everyone else who felt overly misunderstood… you won’t be anymore.
Stay tuned for more information, artist testimonials, and other mental health-related content in the coming weeks on Live For Live Music courtesy of our friends at Backline. Until then, head over to the new Backline website to learn more about this important new initiative. You can also follow Backline on Facebook here and on Instagram here.