Thanks very much to Linda who has shared her story with us about how metal has been important for her mental health.
“I’ve always loved music … from the Sunday afternoons listening to the radio with Mum whilst she cooked Sunday lunch, to the crush on David Cassidy that seemed to last forever. As an only child music was often my companion. That said, I wouldn’t claim music was my ‘saviour’ back then – but it became that in my latter teenage years, through puberty, boyfriend break-ups etc. Listening to music calmed my tears, my anger and seemed to make things better.
I was in band in the 80’s – wasn’t everyone – and we did gigs around South Yorkshire and beyond. I did backing vocals for many other – more high profile artists – before marrying in 1989. My first husband passed away … and I don’t think I dealt with that. For the record … we weren’t metal; purely pop.
I first discovered metal – and hybrids of it – in the early 2000’s when I was driving home from work and heard Limp Bizkit on the radio … I was hooked. Linkin Park’s lyrics probably struck more of a chord as my husband and I took more of an interest in this emerging genre. I’d not heard anything as powerful since Nirvana, and I liked how it made me feel.
I’d say music became my saviour when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 and I was limited to how much I could go out after surgery and treatment. I stayed at home watching MTV, and videos (yes VHS) of concerts. My music tastes are varied – but I’ve always liked the alternative. So, when I was a punk in the early 80’s, I liked Fad Gadget, Bauhaus and Siouxsie … not so much the mainstream. Similarly, when I morphed into a New Romantic it was Devo, Japan … never Spandau or Duran Duran.
During those 3 months I was on sick leave, I watched Rammstein gigs endlessly, immersing myself in the strength and the power of the music – not so much the lyrics as they’re in German – but the performance, the stage set and the clothing. When I bought my bunnies Liebe and Engel in 2010, I named them in homage to the music of Rammstein. I realised then that I could totally lose myself in music – and stop the dark thoughts from going round and round in my head. When my beloved Father died very suddenly in 2006, I found that music became all-consuming – the louder, the darker, the heavier the better.
It was then that I needed music the most – my personality changed almost overnight with the extreme grief, and possibly residual grief from the passing of my first husband. As an only child, I was extremely close to my Father. My Mother had been in care for 8 years with dementia, and he and I were each other’s anchor. I didn’t recognise the anxiety, the anger, the thoughts, the frustration – but the music calmed it when no-one else, not even my (then 2nd) husband could.
I held down my job – a responsible job – and it was almost like I had two personalities; the work Linda and the home Linda – the latter being tortured, impulsive, reckless, devious, manipulative – and generally not a nice person. I considered suicide several times a day – every day – even at work. I planned my own demise – but the music lifted my spirits. When I was finally put into psychotherapy for 2 years (every week) it helped enormously, but the music was still a massive part of that recovery”