By Andrew Catania
Cheers, chants, applause, sold out shows, fans going gaga, paparazzi waiting to catch a glimpse, shoots, reports, media limelight and constantly touring from one place to another – for many of us, the life of a musician is no less than a fairytale. With hundreds and thousands of people completely indulged into the trance of your tones, the chants and cheers breaking walls, all eyes gazing on you and then, as the curtains fall, and the audience evacuating the halls, right there starts the dark side of a musician’s life.
Like it is said, there is more to what meets the eye; the life of a musician is a lot more than the glitz and glam that meets the eye. The whole you envisage the fame and glory that incessantly showers over the artists and musicians, this is also an ugly fact that of all types of artisans, it is the musicians and performers-on-the go who suffer the worst kind of psychological disorders. This makes it clear where the deviant and obnoxious off-stage behavior of some artists comes from.
Every fascinating aspect of a musician’s life is coupled with a dark and clandestine side to it. The fiery shows end up with the musician heading back to his empty apartment. The tours that sound as enthralling rides are long, exasperating hours on the roads. Not only it is about the physical gloom; for a musician, life on the go is psychologically taxing. Long hauls of rehearsals and jamming sessions, and travelling for hours sitting in a plane, wagon or tube and the immediate preparations for the show that follow as soon as the crew reaches the venue; the fatigue and lethargy cumulates and turns into depression, gloom and the solitude of the room only becomes more punishing and triggers anxiety.
A regular day in the life of a musician entails an array of extreme fluctuations from the highs of a rocking show to the lows of screaming and nerve-wracking isolation of the room. This eventually inflicts irreversible damage to the psychological and nervous strength of a musician and consequently causes insomnia, chronic depression, and prolonged and frequent mood swings. A musician spending more of his time on tours or shows with some other music groups or company is posed with heavy criticism from his associations, often resulting in conflicts and breakups.
Life on the road, with all cons attached, is still acceptable to musicians since it keeps them going and busy. Life off the road comes up as trauma, often leaving the musician to contemplate his life’s decisions. This is why many musicians tend to seek refuge in crowds and keep themselves on regular tours, as an escape from depression and as a means to overcome the phobia of being forgotten and lonely.
Help Musicians UK inferred through an elaborate study that a significant 60% of all musicians suffer from some types of psychological issues. Tours and constant travel were noted to be the major cause of anxiety and depression as reported by 71% musicians. However what makes the case more ironic is the fact that many musicians fear to seek some psychiatric help and believe that medical treatment and psychological therapeutic sessions will bring them bad repute in the audience masses.
Help Musicians UK and Music Minds Matters an excellent source for UK musicians to reach out if you’re in need of mental health assistance. There links:
In the United States: