Mental Health America has a “Fight in the Open” campaign to help reduce the stigma around mental health issues. People struggle, and many don’t feel OK talking about it aloud, much less publicly.
While I have talked about my struggles with depression publicly before, lately, I feel like a hypocrite.
My mental health has been absolute shit lately. It took a nose dive in late January, and for weeks I have been back in a deep depression the likes of which I have not seen in at least a couple of years.
And what have I done? Well, I tried to hide it – again. I didn’t talk about it – again. I didn’t reach out for help – again. I’ve made many of my closest friends worry about me – again.
I have had suicidal thoughts every day for weeks. Every. Fucking. Day. And why? Objectively, my life is good. I’ve got wonderful friends that genuinely care about me – who convince me and proceed to drive me to the doctor to get help (thank you, WT.) I’m working on film and music projects, doing the things I love. I have a lot to be thankful for, and still, that doesn’t stop the thoughts and feelings that have plagued me lately.
I’m not writing this out of pity. Or attention. Or sympathy. Or whatever else anyone may think is an ulterior motive. One thing about me is that I’m not a “cry for attention” type of person. If I had a specific plan to end my life, this blog would be set to publish after the fact.
Authenticity is a big thing for me, and this is simply my way of trying to be authentic. Social media is fake. We post pics of the good times, not the times we’re falling to pieces. We post the wins, not the losses. We post the smiles, not the breakdowns. So I’ve avoided social media much more than usual.
Anyway… I’m trying. I’m back in therapy. There’s a safety plan. I’m still here. I’m still working on my art while trying to work on myself. This is my way of trying to fight in the open. And if me talking about this publicly can help someone else, somehow, I hope it does.
Much love to you for taking the time to read this. Check on your people.
Barrens is joining up with The Ghost of Daniel Pratt, Abusements, The Last Thing You Remember, and Buddy Wiltbank for a benefit show for our friend – fellow musician and artist Kris Morris. Comedian Jason Fifi will MC the evening.
The show is Sat., Feb. 16 at Bomber’s Pub in Montgomery.
The Montgomery Advertiser ran a story on the upcoming event with more details about what Kris is dealing with and links to online fundraisers that can help him out. Read it here.
In June 2018, Barrens performed at Brennan’s Irish Pub in Birmingham, AL, and there is some video from it. It was our third show, and it was a lot of fun.
It’s now online for your viewing pleasure:
Happy New Year!
I recently posted a vlog – that word just sounds odd to me – and I neglected to post it on this here website, so I’m remedying that now. It deals with coffee. And stuff. And things. Enjoy. Or don’t. Happy New Year either way.
My new single, “This Barren Land,” is out today! Visit your favorite digital music retailer to purchase or stream it!
Lyrics are on my Bandcamp page.
See this post for more info about this song.
Thanks for the support, and I hope you enjoy the new song.
PS – for clarity – I wrote this song before joining the band Barrens, so the song has nothing to do with the band. That question has come up a couple of times, so I figured I’d go ahead and address it.
So… here’s the thing: I’ve been slowwwwwwly working on a new solo album, and it is taking forever. And since the beginning of working on these ten songs, I’ve written a new one, and I’m thinking of re-working or changing some other ones… and, well, it’s taking forever.
Part of that delay is just scheduling time to record. I’ve been involved in a number of film projects this year, including a documentary that’s in the early editing stages. I’m also the drummer for Barrens, and we’ve been writing and plan to record soon. And of course there’s also general… life… stuff.
With all of that being said, I’ve decided to release the one song that is complete as a single, and I wanted to release something before 2018 completely gets away from me.
So on Tuesday, December 18, the new song “This Barren Land” will be available from all major digital retail stores – Spotify, Amazon, Apple Music, Bandcamp, etc. Here’s the artwork:
The nature photo included in the cover art was taken by Gloria Aitken. Check out her art page here. She’s got an Etsy store as well with lots of great items for sale.
Be sure to follow this blog for updates, and hey, let’s keep in touch on social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.
Thanks for reading!
This past Thursday, I had some friends checking on me. On top of the public release of my first feature-length documentary and being on day 4 of a 6-day film shoot, this would have been my mother’s 75th birthday.
I picked that release date for Commit to the Song on purpose. Mom was always supportive of my art – standing in the front row of smoky bars, night clubs, and any venue where I was performing, or making sure to attend any film-related screenings or events that I was involved with. She would have been proud of this film.
So after completing day 4 of filming and going over the next day’s shot list with the director, I joined a number of friends for Mexican food and margaritas in celebration of Mom.
Thanks to all of you who have shown your friendship, love, and support and continue to do so. Thanks for the kind words on the film. Thanks for watching, and thanks for listening.
Rent or purchase Commit to the Song: The Joe Thomas Jr. Guitar Pull on Amazon.
For background on a “now” page, click here.
This weekend, I’m joining my friend Mike Slaten for a couple of shows in the Huntsville/Madison area:
Fri., Oct. 26 at Wish You Were Beer – Campus 805
Sat., Oct. 27 at Rocket City Craft Beer
Come hang out!
In other news, my documentary Commit to the Song: The Joe Thomas Jr. Guitar Pull should be available for rent or purchase from Amazon on November 1. If you haven’t seen the trailer, here it is:
Next week, I’m serving as Director of Photography for a short film, along with acting in one scene. Also, I’m working with C. DeWayne Cunningham and Royce Williams on two documentary projects – one is still filming and one is now in the early editing stages. And I helped both of them and writer/director Sharisma Bell recently with an upcoming web series they’re producing. More on all of those soon.
Also recently, I was part of a music and film panel that was sponsored by 21 Dreams Arts & Culture Collective as part of this year’s Flight of the Arts MGM. Many thanks to Kalonji Gilchrist and 21 Dreams for their work in promoting both art and artist.
The recent Barrens show with The Ghost of Daniel Pratt and The Goddamn Rights was a lot of fun. Next Barrens show is coming up Dec. 14. Here’s a clip of a new song:
I think that’s it for now. Thanks for reading.