On the off chance that you follow along with my daily posts on the Musician Health Resource Instagram, you may have noticed I haven't updated it for several days. I just didn't feel like it. I didn't even really want to write a post this week. I just don't feel like it today.
It's because I'm depressed.
I've got some good reasons (I think). I'm jet lagged. I've broken my routine. I've had one gig since the beginning of the year. I can't go running due to health issues. I'm spending away my savings while I invest in practice time and new business ventures. And, the straw that broke the camel's back this week: my beloved improv comedy home, iO West, was very drastically shut down by our Chicago-based owner.
Some of these things are every day realities for me and some of them are new. Some of them are manageable and some of them are out of my control. Some of them are serious and some of them, to the outside eye, may seem silly.
So today's post is coming with some facts about my very personal struggle with depression.
In 2011 Health.com published that, in the professional world, entertainers have the fifth highest rate of depression. Teachers ranked in at number six and food service workers at number two. Since most musicians supplement their income with either teaching or food service jobs, our mental health is not looking so stable...
"Musician's are three times more likely to experience depression."
Depression is the most common mental illness effecting 25% of Americans. A recent study by the University of Westminster titled, "Can Music Make You Sick?" researched over 2,000 musicians to discover that over 2/3 had struggles with depression and almost 3/4 reported anxiety attacks. In fact, musicians are three times more likely to experience depression than the general public. Billboard went on to summarize the research by noting that 57% of people reporting mental health issues did not receive treatment and 53% reported it was difficult to find help.
The depression in my family tree is well documented and a firm reality. It runs maternal-paternal on my dad's side of the family and I have the good fortune of having a genetic makeup that includes a great ear for music, a willingness to create and express and depression.
Over the next month, in addition to my usual Monday blog and Thursday podcast, I'll be writing about the ways I've learned to tackle depression in my life. I'll be providing links to studies and resources to help you find effective ways of tackling this reality as well. Since over 2/3 of musicians struggle with depression, I'm going to assume I'm not alone here and since over 50% find it difficult to find help, I'm going also going to assume resources are welcome!
And I'll still have my usual Thursday podcast coming out this week with Jennie Morton, professor or wellness at the Colburn Conservatory of Music. We'll be talking about the relationship of the mind to the body, what science has confirmed for us about alternative practice habits and why musician health needs to be at the forefront of conversation.
Remember our bodies (and minds!) should never limit our art so learn how to train like an athlete to play like a musician.
Health and happiness,