by: Val Walsh
Picture this: you’re at an event with friends and fellow music lovers- life is good! All of a sudden you’re overcome with feelings of loneliness, isolation, fear, and overwhelm.
You feel physically stuck- your body won’t move!
Your thoughts become hazy, almost as if you’re no longer connected to your body. You look around to see everyone seems happy and like they’re having a blast.
You make eye contact with your friends, but they can’t see the internal struggle you’re facing.
You don’t want to ruin their fun, “It wouldn’t be fair” you think. Besides, this will blow over soon… right?
You smile and desperately push away the dread, the sadness, the loneliness but to no avail.
The rest of the night is miserable.
You remember this experience with confusion and shame, but you chalk it up to a “weird” moment in time and forget about it… Until the next time it happens.
Experience taught me that the quality of the events I attend is only as good as my mental health.
When not actively and consistently supporting my mental and physical health panic attacks, social anxiety, and depression take over.
In the past poor mental health meant that I tried to numb myself with substances at events.
Rather than being present, I ended up not remembering the event, or heightening emotions I was trying to avoid.
Therefore, I prioritize my mental and physical health so I can be present, and truly enjoy going to events.
I encourage you to explore how to support your own mental health for this reason!
Take time to journal or think about the following:
· P eace- Are you at peace? If not, what is getting in the way of feeling at peace (with yourself, with others, with where you are in life, etc.)?
· L ove- Where did you learn about love? Was what you learned healthy or toxic? How do you show yourself, and others, love? What do you need to heal, accept, or change in order to allow for healthy expressions of love (to yourself and others)?
· U nity- In what areas of your life do you feel (or need more) unity? What do you need to do in order to create unity within yourself, and with others?
· R espect- Do you respect your own emotions and experiences, or do you judge them? Do you treat yourself in a way that shows others how you want to be treated? If not, what can you change? Do you treat others with respect outside of the EDM community as well?
YOU are RESPONSIBLE for your own wellbeing. Learn to LISTEN to yourself so you can take the steps necessary to create SAFETY and SECURITY in your life.
This is at the root of good mental health. Stay well and have fun friends!
Find helpful information on mental health at National Alliance on Mental Illness, Mental Health America, National Institute of Mental Health, and National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
About the author: Val Walsh
Val Walsh is a Marriage and Family Therapist, and an advocate for bringing mental health to the forefront. She became interested in mental health because she strived to work in a field in which she could care for others. Val also struggled with mental illness throughout her life and knows first-hand how difficult living with mental health can be.
The EDM community helped her through some of the hardest times of her life. She discovered electronic dance music while attending University of Illinois at Chicago in 2012. She met her husband at Spring Awakening in Chicago in 2013, and they continue to attend shows and festivals together.
Needless to say, EDM is a huge part of Val’s life, and she hopes to continue to grow professionally and personally so she can continue to attend shows, as well as advocate for mental health awareness.