Acceptance: An open letter about mental health.

Hello everyone. It’s been just about a year since Velvet’s last post, something that I hadn’t planned to do. 2021 brought rejuvenated energy for writing and then, let’s say life happened. Let’s go with that.

Firstly, I just want to briefly chat about music before diving into a more serious chat about my own mental health.

Could you imagine? Talking about music on a music blog? The shock!

Both last year and in 2022 there’s been a number of fantastic albums I’ve loved. Charlotte Adigery and Bolis Pupul’s debut is quite possibly my favourite album of the decade so far. Alongside Squid’s debut, Gilla Band’s return with Most Normal and Real Lies just absolutely fantastic album Lad Ash, and single Your Guiding Hand, among countless others.

I’ve been listening to a small number of albums and singles repeatedly for the last 12 months, which is often a personal sign of mental health issues arising, one I’ve repeatedly chosen to ignore over the years. Others have panic attacks or struggle to concentrate. I apparently listen to two albums on repeat without even noticing for 6 months. The two this time being Charlie XCX’s and Rosalia’s latest. You might call repeatedly listening to only Charlie XCX’s and Rosalia’s albums just something stereotypical of someone struggling with mental health or an LGBTQIA+ person. Maybe that’s true. Maybe having mental health issues, or being gay has nothing to do at all with listening to either artist. Though TikTok would beg to differ.

It took looking at the on-repeat playlist Spotify creates for you, to make me realise just how little different music I was listening to. For someone who has made it their hobby/unofficial job over the years to provide coverage for new artists, as well as genuinely enjoying finding and listening to new artists, the alarm bells finally rang a few months ago. That’s not to say, the two albums mentioned and some tracks have been on there for half the year and still are, some tracks just bear repeatedly repeating. Something, I’m sure Spotify’s unwrapped will inform me of very soon.

Music has always been my greatest escape over the years, whether listening to multiple artists at once or two albums and nothing else. Some artists have continued to stand the test of time and my everchanging taste, and some I can’t bring myself to ever listen to again. My teenage self, struggling with personal identity, hid away beneath melancholic, dream rock late at night, teary-eyed to the sound of Gleemer’s comforting haze. Something that still brings me great comfort even during happier times. Now, my musical fallback has developed into loud, abrasive pop and dance music, drowning out the world and my mind, like the people Anne Hathaway mocks at the beginning of the 2009 movie Bride Wars, for listening to music while jogging.

I’m now realising that I’m a music-while-jogging person, (minus the jogging).

Whether it’s using music to drown out the world or using it to understand my own deeper emotions, it’s been a consistent coping mechanism for me throughout my entire life. There are definitely major positives to having consistency in your life, something which my astrology-loving friends love to point out with me being a Taurus (do with that what you will). But, sometimes consistency gets blurred and becomes structural without you realising. I’d start the day listening to CRASH and by the time I’d realise I’ve heard Lightning multiple times in the past hour alone, Charli’s on her 15th encore. Like, give the girl a rest already!

However, when I’d go to listen to something different to shake off the cobwebs, I realised that everything had gone grey. While the two albums on repeat had gone stale, stale in this case felt better and easier than finding the energy to enjoy something new, or even something I’d loved previously.

This has been the underlying issue for everything in my life over the past six or so months.

Notably, something happened that I’m not wanting to air out to the world. However, acknowledging this by writing it down will help to start that acceptance for me. I endured a challenging situation, one which shattered my confidence completely and plunged me into a dark space that I had no idea I was even in until fairly recently. I’m still coming to terms with this while facing other issues that are more financially urgent.

So. For now, I’m taking it steady and acknowledging the steps I need to take to get my mental health back on track. My listening habits have begun to change, and I’m not just listening to two albums on repeat. It’s at least four right now.

Velvet’s back so to speak, though back might be inconsistent for a while. While I’d love to be able to jump straight back into sharing loads of new music with you all, I simply don’t have it in me currently. I’ve always cheered for others, whether that be new artists and music on Velvet or my friends, family, and colleagues in my daily life. Now I need to cheer myself on, however reluctant I may be.

I hope if you’re still reading this, or have stuck around with Velvet over the years, you’ll still be here over this next period of transition.

Here’s to being honest with yourself and dealing with mental health,

Doyle VVV


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