Sunday, April 21, 2024

Seek relief through positive outlets

Suppressing your emotions is as painful as it is unrewarding. Feelings of depression can come and go or linger for years. I’ve been subject to both. It’s more than feeling sad. It’s living life while pretending you’re as happy as your seemingly genuine smile suggests. However, you’re unmotivated to handle your responsibilities and uninterested in most activities.

I’ve lived through and conquered my depression. I don’t feel as if I’m entirely in control of preventing those same feelings from returning. Depression can be sparked by anything from a breakup to someone’s death. These occurrences cannot always be predicted, nor can you easily prepare for the drastic changes they bring into your life.

When I felt depressed, I’d use anything to distract me from how I felt when I was alone. I tried desperately to occupy my mind with anything but my self-destructive thoughts. I kept what I was going through to myself and figured it had to blow over with time.

I didn’t want help. I definitely didn’t want medication, even if I was diagnosed with the disorder. I didn’t reach out to anyone because I didn’t feel comfortable saying my feelings out loud.

The only thing I had day and night to cope with was music. No matter my emotional state, music has and continues to play a pivotal role in my life. After years of carefully listening to songs and identifying with their lyrics, I was inspired.

So, what did I do? I wrote.

Writing my feelings into words allowed me to describe exactly how I felt and see the causes. Writing didn’t rid me of my depressed feelings, but it did relieve some of the pressure. It felt good to make something positive out of my pain. The more I wrote, the better I felt. Writing became an addicting new hobby. Instead of basking in self-pity, I took steps to regain control of my emotional state.

I never considered how handling my depression may have inadvertently affected anyone in my life. There certainly were instances where I projected my frustration onto the people around me. That may not have been fair of me to do, but depression isn’t something anyone should ever apologize for. Although on Oct. 4, one of music’s most vocal artists against depression, Scott Mescudi, who performs under the moniker Kid Cudi, did just that. He shared on Facebook that he checked himself into a rehabilitation facility for depression and suicidal urges.

“I feel ashamed to be a leader and hero to so many while admitting I’ve been living a lie,” Mescudi wrote.

He thought he was letting his fans down by seeking help. He sounded disappointed for not being able to overcome the feelings that have plagued him for most of his life.

Mescudi tweeted Oct. 28, his appreciation of the support he’s been receiving since he’s been in rehab. He also confirmed he’ll be performing at ComplexCon as planned Nov. 5, in Long Beach, California.

Mescudi has been singing, rapping and talking about loneliness since the beginning of his career.

“I’m really just trying to guide people and help people. Loneliness is a terrible, terrible thing, man. If you don’t know how to conquer it, it can eat you alive,” Mescudi said in a 2014 interview with Arsenio Hall.

Much of what Mescudi and Hall discussed then coincides with his recent Facebook post. Mescudi admitted to Hall that he had been struggling with suicidal thoughts for the previous five years. His inner battle has been public for much of his life now. He’s been a beacon of hope for an entire generation.

“He saved my life,” comedian Pete Davidson said. “I would have killed myself if I didn’t have Kid Cudi.”

For some of us, music is all we have when we don’t know who to turn to. Mescudi’s music in particular helped me the most. He vocally expresses what many of us are feeling. He ensures us that we’re not alone because we tend to forget that. We humans are imperfect creatures living within a broken world. We don’t need to be fixed, but it’s on us to conquer adversity.

We have to slay our demons, not repress them.

Email Steve Levy at

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