Depression is hard. It can be energy sapping, hope stealing, faith robbing and dark. Dark thoughts tricking us into silence...don’t bother anyone, don’t tell anyone, I’m fine, who cares, who would want to know my struggles. I don’t matter.
Talking about our mental health can be so hard. The culture is changing but years of society tacitly, and overtly, asking us to be quiet about our aching hearts, our insecurities, our fears takes time to change. Often buried deep the reasons for our depression are forgotten in the fog of getting through the day; for so many simply getting through to bedtime so sleep might be the escape from the fog. I say this not only as an observer but as someone who has lived with depression, wishing a permanent sleep.
Slipknot speak. Speak to Anthony. Their music a place for release, escape. Slipknot was the show Anthony wanted to see and looking over the bill he found Trivium, another favourite band of his playing the same day. A win double and the trifecta coming in with Skindred...although we can neither confirm or deny Anthony’s participation in the Newport Helicopter.
Plenty of mud, a fair spattering of rain some metal, ragga metal, wandering the site freely between bands, catching other bands. Being free, being accepted, being Anthony. And smiles.
Plenty of smiles. Honest to god smiles of happiness, music transporting Anthony to a freer place, a place away from the creeping claws of depression. Smiling with his girlfriend, and mum to their five year old son, Heather. Rocking, laughing, fists and horns thrown in the air. Music, guitars, drums, safety, freedom.
The morning after the show an easier, more relaxed Anthony comes down after a good night’s sleep, smiling. We don’t have long together that Sunday morning, the morning after the Slipknot the night before, as a young son calls to their hearts and beckons them home.
Home. A place that truly lives within us, with our griefs and joys, our heartaches and ecstasies, our hopes and dreams, fears and insecurities, our longings and desires.
Music can take us home. To that place we’re free to express ourselves without fear of judgment or ridicule. We hope a Saturday at Download, a couple of nights being taken care of in a lovely hotel, the rain, mud and music are something Anthony carries with him so he remembers why he was there. That people care about him, people believe in him and that he matters.
Because Anthony really does Matter.