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On Depression


I know that many of you who enjoy the music of our bands do so because you’re likeminded people. Possibly a lot of you struggle with depression. The point of this blog is to connect with you, much like we try to do with our music.

Recently Mishkin posted a status update about depression. This was the first time she’s ever said anything public about it and it was interesting the amount of responses it attracted. Replies ranged from people sharing their own experience of mental illness to others belittling the experience and yet more people trying to be “helpful” by telling her how to deal with it. “Your life is so great, what have you possibly got to be depressed about?” is the general response from people who have never experienced depression. It’s difficult to have the imagination to empathise with something you’ve never experienced first-hand, and if you’ve never suffered from depression, it’s very easy to write it off as “weltschmertz” or “shit life syndrome”.

Life has never been better for us. We’re riding high off our new album Tanta Furia, we have an amazing group of friends, we’re about to go on tour, financially stable and happy in our relationships. Regardless of that, collectively we have spent days in bed over the last couple of weeks because we’re feeling too low to get up.

Anyone who knows Mishkin or I knows that we’re not lazy people. We’re not the kind of people who make excuses rather than taking action. To spend a day that’s not productive is not something either of us enjoy. Mishkin and I both exercise regularly, eat well and surround ourselves with positive and caring people. Basically, we look after ourselves in all the right ways. However, one of the main reasons that it’s difficult to talk about depression is that a standard response is “pull yourself together and change the way you feel”. Let’s get this straight: depression is a physical illness. It’s not something you can fix through mental fortitude or retraining your thinking. Anyone who says that they understand depression yet takes this attitude has never truly lived with it.

Andrew Solomon says “the opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality” and for me, this sums the illness up concisely. When I go through periods of depression, I don’t feel sad, I just feel lifeless. Physically, it’s an immense struggle to do the most simple things, like eat or shower. However, I have lived with this illness since I was in my mid teens, so as you become more self-aware and self-accepting, you develop coping strategies. The most important thing I’ve learned through this journey of survival is to be kind to yourself. There will be days where we wake up and can’t stop crying for a whole morning. There will be days where the simplest task leaves us so tired that we fall asleep for hours. There will be days where we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel and feel so low that it’s difficult to remember why it’s worth being alive.

Due to the nature of our work, Mishkin and I are surrounded by many people who work in creative industries. Creativity and mental illness seem to be a marriage of compromise, and because of this, we both know a disproportionate amount of people who suffer from depression. I think that one of the things we’ve both learned over the years is that the highs pay for the lows. Both of us are at our most creative after a depressive episode, and it’s all about harnessing that energy and redirecting it. That’s why writing and being creative is as essential for us as showering and eating. We’re both learning to embrace the darkness.

There is a real social stigma about depression, which stops people from being able to be open about it towards other people. I think that when you’re unable to be open about something to other people, it’s also harder to be open with it with yourself. This leads to being unable to accept and analyse your way of being. What I want to say is this: it’s ok to be depressed. Deal with it, and I don’t mean in the sense of "pulling yourself together". What I mean is that you need to be kind to yourself. It’s ok to spend a day in bed. It’s ok to feel lifeless and struggle with simple tasks. It’s ok to be in that dark tunnel.

Who wants to live in the Twilight Zone anyway?

Here are two sets of recent lyrics that Mishkin and I have written when we’ve felt at our lowest. They’re about our battle with depression. If you are fighting the same battle, I hope you read them and know that you’re not alone.

BIRDEATSBABY - EULOGY

I used to dream of the big blue sky

Now I just see no colour in sunrise

In your eyes

Disfigured and pure

Like the demise of Lucifer

I was cold when you found me

Outside the wake

With the grief on my tongue

Like a glass snowflake

I’d forgot my excitement

Watching this clock

Now I walk in the fields of my paradise lost

How we fall so far from grace

I used to dream of escaping here

I would pack all my bags and make plans to disappear

But now that I’m grown I just sink like a stone

Through the comfort of gravity

Now I’ll drink off this bottle

As it drains off of me

If my heart is the thunder

My tears are the sea

They will drag me right under

Ten thousand feet to this wasteland

Of silence

How we fall so far from grace

And I say

God don’t be kind to me

Take back your liberty

Hang my freedom

From this precipice

Just in front of me

Take back your Midas touch

Lord, it don’t matter much

If you cast me out

And I crawl away

It’s my prophecy

I used to dream of coming clean

Now I just keep my secrets safe under lock and key

A blanket of ash I am buried beneath

Broken mirrors

Incomplete

I’m a little boy soldier

Still learning to fight

While the war passes over this unholy night

Paint the blood on my doorway

And pray I survive

But don’t tell me not to worship

At this church of loneliness

And I say

God don’t be kind to me

Take back your liberty

Hang my freedom

From this precipice

Just in front of me

Take back this Midas touch

Lord, it don’t matter much

If you cast me out

And I crawl away

It’s my prophecy

HANA PIRANHA - WAITING TO BURN

I'm standing on a knife edge

And baby, yeah I've made my bed

I'm planning all my nightmares

Close my eyes on all my fears

I'm sick

And it's lucky you can't hear me think

Oh baby, I'm afflicted

And it's scary how I'm losing it, losing it, losing it

I'm waiting waiting waiting to burn

I've nowhere to turn

My house is on fire

I'm waiting waiting waiting all day

I can't walk away

I've built my own pyre

And I'm waiting to burn

I'm standing on a tightrope

Heaven above me and hell below

And if I fall there's no hope

Cos there's only one way I'll go

But I want it

And I'm willing my feet to slip

Yeah baby I'm addicted

And it's scary how I'm needing it, needing it, needing it

I'm waiting waiting waiting to burn

I've nowhere to turn

My house is on fire

I'm waiting waiting waiting all day

I can't walk away

I've built my own pyre

It's under, under, under my skin

It's drawing me in

It's gripping me tighter

Than ever ever ever I've been

There's no way to win

Against this desire

And I'm waiting to burn


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