The Fallow Year | The Story
Two years ago – March 2016 – my downward spiral had become a free-fall. There were several events, one after the next, that happened. Life things. Human being things. Several dear friends had passed away – David Rodriguez, Guy Clark, John Jennings, John Glick. And then there were a couple of ego-crushing career situations (imagine that, the music industry!). By late March my brain went completely hay-wire and all rational thought got hijacked by a monster. The monster has a clinical name: “Treatment resistant major depressive disorder”, but all I knew was I didn’t want to exist anymore. I couldn’t get out of bed, I couldn’t open my mail, I couldn’t shower or brush my teeth or talk to anyone. For months. It felt like I was drowning in an ocean of my own tears. The anguish my soul was suffering manifested in a physical pain in my skin and bones. I felt like an epic failure, a disappointment and a burden to my friends, completely alone in the universe. I longed for connection but felt unworthy of it. I longed for the end of my life.
I managed to set up a visit with my therapist who walked with me through a process of getting help. I tried various medications, weird experimental treatments, support groups, diet and exercise. Six months into actively fighting the disease I found a medication that began to work for me and that was the beginning of stepping back out into the world, and into myself. The monster was leaving the building. A full year after that, a second medication brought me fully into myself in a way that I had never known possible. Today, by the grace of all things good, I’m in remission. I have to maintain my wellness practices, because I know that bastard is lurking in some dark alley of my brain. But today life is good. Life is so very good!
One of the most critical points in my recovery was sharing about it to my monthly newsletter friends, and on social media. The response, commissary, and support I got from my community here wrapped me up and held me while I clawed my way out. It took the strength of thousands of you pulling the rope to raise me up and out from the depths. I was reminded that people are good, that everyone struggles in their own dark caverns; depression, anxiety, substance issues, physical or mental abuse, family troubles… It’s all the same monster to me.
In my fallow period, I wrote songs that became my latest album, The Fallow Year. I recorded it last December with a truly inspired sonic mentor, Malcolm Burn. The songs were conceived of the dark, but emerged as flashlights, highlighting the exquisite beauty of life. I performed these songs for audiences all over the world last year and discovered that they were healing people. I know because every night after the shows people would come up to me and tell me so. Speaking out about mental health issues has become my mission these days. As a result, The Fallow Year has become a mental health awareness project. I have never been more proud of, or more grateful for the work that I get to do.
There’s one week left before the deadline of the Kickstarter campaign for The Fallow Year. I hope you’ll talk to folks about it so we can spread the solace of healing to those who have known this particular suffering. Here’s the url to the project, The Fallow Year | Songs of Solace for the Suffering:
If you are struggling, please know that you matter. Know that I love you. I’m so grateful for you and your beautiful tender heart. Your tears are the dearest part about you. I’m glad you’re alive to read this, to feel your feelings, and to be a part of my universe. You can email me or message me anytime of day or night. I’ll be so happy to talk with you, to sit with you, to hold your hand, to cry with you, to lift you up and see you through. Thank you for existing in this world and being a part of mine.