I recently performed when I was underslept, undernourished and generally feeling quite anxious. The experience was transformative for my mental health. Low self-esteem often leaves you feeling like you’re not good enough. However, after the set I got great feedback which got through to me enough so I could acknowledge that despite how low I was feeling I still had something to give, that I was still worthy.
I developed my way of performing music because my freeze response is so intense that I would stop recognising the shape of a chord on the guitar and forget an entire song, whilst in the middle of playing it. So I adapted to make music from the not-knowing, to improvise, play, explore and express to be able to get out of that panic state, using music as a self-regulating, self-soothing technique.
On good days I feel like I can share all the joy and connection I have ever felt and welcome it into the crowd. On bad days, I can share being radically vulnerable in public. Although the administrative side is an exhausting battering of tasks. When others come to you and share that they found a connection it can help you feel more connected from behind the barriers of your own mental health.