Topsy Krets

There are things in this world that we so desperately love. Things that make up who we are. The things that make us whole. That fill gaps that may not have been filled without these things we love. Some fund these loves in art, music, communication, travel, expression. Through creating something from nothing, listening to the latest song of your favourite band, making a connection with another human being, planning that next trip of adventure, or doing something to take out the frustrations of life. These are our passions.
There are some passions that we cant bare to keep to ourselves. They flow from us beyond our control and make it visible for the rest of the world to see. Passions you can’t stop thinking about, that are the topic of your everyday conversations. For me, this is music.
Music has been a part of my life since I was young. I have memories as a young kid sitting in the back of my parents car, while road tripping to some far off destination (my parents hardly flew to locations in Australia, but rather drove) listening to songs from bands like Queen, Guns N Roses and singer/songwriters like Billy Joel or Phil Collins. But it has been in the last 10 or so years that music has truly made an impact on my life. Because, music saved my life. I know many people say that, and I believe them no less than I believe myself. I think that music has a profound way of making someone truly feel loved. Of making people feel like they are not alone in this world, and that there is so much light in a world where there may seem like there is only darkness. Through the lyrics and melody of these songs that enter our psyche, we feel the heartache or joy that fills the thoughts of the vocalist and their pain becomes out pain and their joy ours.
There have been many times in my life that I have felt the feeling of numbness. That has had the feeling of disabling me from others that seem so sure in life. These times have come and gone but they always stay within me. Sometime I can’t tell whether I am at moment of emotional relapse or whether the darkness is just below the surface. There was a breaking point to one of these instances where I could take no more. Living in a house with some of my friends, where they felt like they were protecting me from the hurt and pain of life, was where I reached a point of no return.
I tried everything. From distraction, to enablers like alcohol and chain smoking. Nothing could numb the pain and heartache a recent breakup had caused. I had insomnia, I wasn’t eating, I was doing anything, I would go to work and stare into nothingness. I would cry. Working in a place of constant surveillance, I would hate for anyone to look back on the footage and see me, breaking down. There was one particular moment where I couldn’t take anymore pain. I needed to talk to someone. But at 6am at work, there was no one to talk to, and no friend I thought i could burden the darkness I felt. So i called a hotline.
Hotlines aren’t as helpful I found out that morning. It did nothing for my but gave me a mere 15 mins of unloading my thoughts and feelings. Although the release only lasted until I hung up the phone. I tried other methods, which seemed extreme to me at the time. I tried therapy. I tried medication.
I was diagnosed with anxiety depression. I didn’t want to believe that I had something wrong with me that required me to be popping pills. I was told that I would need to be on the pills for at least 6 weeks before I would see signs of them working. I read through the list of antidepressants. Rage, insomnia, depression, suicidal thoughts. Suicide. Weren’t these some of the effects I was already trying to rid from my life. Why was I taking something that could potentially much me over the edge? I went to three different doctors that all told me the same thing. I thought maybe the first doctor was just pushing me to take them as a way to get me out of his office. But when I saw another doctor and then finally our family doctor and they all told me the same thing, I thought maybe I was the one that was wrong.
I was on them for 3 months. The doctor suggested that I go and see a psychologist as well to see how I was mentally. I could see it in his face when I took a depression test that he was almost urging me to go. I went once. I sat in a cold room and spoke about my problems with a complete stranger. Occasionally he would ask me to elaborate on something, and then ask me how it made me feel. After I left, I made a decision to never go back, It made me feel helpless. The pills were no better. I began to get the side effects of rage and snapped at everyone for the smallest things. The doctors had told me that I was to be on them for a long time. I asked if there was a chance that I would ever be off them. They told me that I could potentially get off them but they symptoms I was taking the pills for would come back, during a sort of weening off stage and that I would have to try and live through that portion in order to get off them. They suggested minimising my dosage at that point to help with the transition back to “normal”.
When I reached the 2 month mark, I started to feel numb. The feelings of pain and nothingness went away, but so did every other feeling and emotion I had ever had. I no longer felt happy, or excited, or even scared. I felt nothing. Antidepressants for me weren’t to rid me of sad feelings, but to rid me of all feelings. After that I couldn’t take it. I took a look at what i was doing. I was taking pills to alter my emotions. To make myself “feel better”, but never wanted to be dependent on them my whole life. There was going’s be a time when I was eventually going to get off them, which meant that I was have to ween myself off and go through all the darkness again. Why would I numb myself now, just to wait for a time when I was “stronger”? I might as well just get it over with now and go cold turkey.
I have always revelled in self torture so this was nothing new to me. I stopped taking them. There was an overwhelming sense of doom when I stopped taking them. All the thoughts and emotions came rushing back. And although they were the reasons why I was taking the pills, it was nice to feel human again. I feel pain. To feel anything. But all those feelings came back to haunt me, and the restlessness, hopelessness and sleeplessness came back with it.
Around the same time Paramore released Brand New Eyes, and with it came the spark of my love of music with it. I listened to the songs everywhere. In the car, at work, at home. There was never a deafening silence if I could help it thanks to that CD. I constantly listened to songs of betrayal, anger, resentment. But also listened to songs of love, empowerment and longing. It became my bible to getting better. I went to see Paramore at Big Top in Luna Park, It was one I will always remember. Not because it was a time where my old and new life clashed in awkwardness, but also because it was the night I had realised that music was the one thing in my life that was never going anywhere. It was my go to crutch that was soothing to my soul. The one thing that I could count on, that would always make me happy, that wasn’t going anywhere, and that always knew the right things to say. It was the one thing that always knew what I was thinking, even before I knew it, and always expressed things in a way I could never. Since then I have been following as many artists that inspire and move me.
My love of music, especially live music, has sent me to different states within Australia, to see some of my favourite bands alone to enjoy the time more intimately. It has also sent to overseas to support bands in festivals like Warped or Mayhem, and also see new bands that become favourites. I’ve written this entry in many locations in the last two days. I started in Liverpool, NSW where I was house sitting a friends, continued at Sydney Domestic Airport, awaiting my flight to Melbourne, and finally finishing it now, in Melbourne Domestic Airport, where I’m on my way back home after seeing a mind-blowing show put on by Tonight Alive, more than a year since the last time I saw them play, after they too some time off to finish their new album.
There are some loves that you want to share with the world. But for me, there was a point where I felt I had shared enough of my love of music with my friends and the rest of my world. Which is why, occasionally if it feels right, I will book that flight, reserve that accommodation, and travel to see a band without telling my friends. Because the way I see it, my love ion music came first. It was the thing that saved my life, and I owe it to myself to do whatever it takes to keep the light in my life.

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