The first time it really hit me that I just couldn’t bring myself to go to shows at the moment was when The Smith Street Band played at the end of October. I love that band, they bring me out of every sort of bad mood I could ever be in. They fill me with all sorts of positive feelings and stop me tweeting about being sad. I love that band. I never miss that band. They came to Chicago and I hid. I couldn’t face the thought of being in a room full of people, of feeling out of place, of just leaving my room.
It’s odd. Going to shows is a huge part of who I am. I take photos at shows, that’s how a lot of people know me. Especially in Chicago all of my friends almost are people I met via the punk scene, shows and bands and I’ve spent the last few months feeling a little like I’m letting people down because I’m not going to shows as much. When I get depression badly shows are the first thing that I stop doing. It’s such a domino effect on me when it happens. The shows are always what leads to photos which leads to me feeling creative, which leads to me writing. But it’s also that shows lead me to see new bands, and I love discovering new music. I love watching live music, I love seeing my friends and dancing to bands we love, I love seeing friends of mine on stage playing music and when I stop all that it makes me feel so ill at ease.
So why complain about it if you love it so much Maryam? Why not just go to shows and get over it? Ah if only it were that easy person. Taking a stab at why, it’s the negativity that fills my mind when I get low. I don’t like me, so I feel like my friends don’t like me and if they don’t like me why would anyone like me? Trivial I know but true. I want to avoid feeling alone and sometimes at shows, no matter what side of the Atlantic I’m on, I can feel so alone.
I always get told to just go, you’ll feel better once you’re there. Tough love. Sometimes that works but sometimes it doesn’t. The thing is when your mind is stuck in a state of anxiety it’s hard to turn it off. You could be standing there watching a band but acutely aware of how many people are around you, how dark it is, how loud it is and just crawling out of your own skin. No matter how good the band is it just becomes this huge obstacle and you cannot focus on what’s going on in front of you. It’s easy to think all problems get washed away when we’re distracted.
So here we are on the brown chair in my living room writing this post. Cheap Girls play tonight at Quencher’s with Two Houses and All Eyes West, all bands I really love. I’ve been excited for this show, I was thinking of new ways to take photos for this blog that I’ve started because I’m sick of just taking photos of bands, I wanted to see my friends. But my head head is hurting from my anxiety, and all I really crave right now is silence and and self care. I’m at war with myself on what to do and I wish so much we could go back three months to when I was fine and shows didn’t freak the hell out of me.
It’s weird opening up about this. On one hand I don’t want to, I think it shows weakness to put it all out in the open and I’m sure there are people who vaguely know me from the internet who think I’m one big, dramatic breakdown but on the other hand I want to talk about it in case anyone else feels this way too. Maybe so I feel less alone and strange and also to help someone else feel less alone and strange. Hey internet! Do you ever get this way too? Have you missed a band you loved because you just couldn’t bring yourself to go to a show?
Tags: anxiety, gigs, mental health
Maryam Hassan is a 32 year old Photographer, Montessori Teacher, Wearer of Yellow from London who transplanted herself to Chicago in 2015. She likes punk music, hash browns, animal facts and mangoes.
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