Worth Living Ambassador Harry Westall
I’m passionate about reducing the stigma surrounding mental health and also finding new and interesting ways to help those who suffer. I am currently studying music at degree level, with my main research area being the different ways music can help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. I’m also in the process of releasing music that inspires and encourages sufferers, helping them feel less alone.
For my first post for Worth Living, I wanted to write about my experiences of losing the passion, inspiration, and motivation for my dreams and my life in general. But also how I’m slowly clawing those things back.
From the age of ten years old, my sole goal in life was to become an international rock star. It kinda sounds funny when you say it aloud. But it’s the only thing I ever wanted. Through my high school (UK 11-16) and College years (UK 16-18), I was so driven towards my goal. I lived and breathed it, there was nothing more I desired from life than this.
Over the last year or so, I noticed my depression taking its toll on my life again. It’s always affected things since being 16, but I would usually manage to pull through and get back on track eventually. However, this last year, I would avoid music completely, because all of a sudden I presumed I would be a failure. I thought ‘it’s best off not trying and having the happy thoughts and try and be disappointed.’ I would turn to heavy amounts of alcohol and binge eat, sit in front of the television and do nothing all day. As well as treating my then partner in such poor ways hoping she’d one day just leave and eventually she did. I had lost my drive, because well, what was the point? My mind was telling me that I was never going to get what I wanted, that basically everything within me was wrong and useless, that I was a horrible person, that I don’t have the talent, and that I didn’t have a life worth living.
I was lost in numbness, with no direction, and I didn’t want to be here anymore. I’ve felt like this multiple times before, but this time, things just didn’t seem to shift.
Eventually, after I lost too much from my life, I began to really want to change. I realised how depression had ruined so much for me, how it consumed every part of my life, and I didn’t want that anymore. But it wasn’t easy to begin the change. In fact, every day of my life I have to at least try to push through those feelings of dread, numbness and pain, it’s exhausting. And some days, the depression wins. But you know what? That’s ok. It’s ok that your mental illness gets the better of you sometimes, or the majority of times. It’s completely normal. Something which helped me get out of the further feelings of self- loathing from ‘allowing’ my mental illness to win, was to just accept it. Accept the moment as it was. When you accept the moment as it is, you don’t meet it with resistance, and when you don’t meet it with resistance, further pain won’t come as easily.
Every day is an uphill battle, but for me, remembering to count the little achievements along the way makes a huge difference. No matter how small they are. They give you a sense of achievement, which helps you push through the day that little bit easier.
So that’s what I started to do and before I knew it, I was slowly back on the road again with my dreams. Although another niggling voice was inside my head, telling me that it was pointless to keep making music, because what’s your purpose? Why are you doing it? It’s just for your own selfish reasons, you’re so selfish. It stopped me in my tracks again. I could feel myself sinking lower and lower, until one day when I had an idea. An idea to create inspiring, motivational music FOR people. Music that people could listen to in their time of need, and feel uplifted. The drive to help others going through similar situations helped me hugely, it has inspired so much creativity and passion again that I once thought I’d lost. As of recent, things have been hard, I’m struggling. But when I remember the intention of why I began this project, it helps guide me through the darkness a little. My dreams of being an ‘international rock star’ may have been humbled slightly, but a new dream for helping others has surfaced to re-ignite my flame and put me on the right path once again.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t worry if your passion for your dreams is gone because of your mental Illness. It will come back, maybe in a new and exciting form based on your current experiences. Accept where you are, celebrate everything, however small. This is not the end. You really do have a life worth living.
I would love it if you chatted to me over which ever social media you please! Let me know what you thought of the post, and keep up to date with the music that will soon be released!