August 26, 2014
by Bryne Yancey
Unlike my depression, which comes and goes, my social anxiety is a near-constant part of my life.
Wrote a thing. Not feeling very well today.
August 19, 2014
by Ryan Barnes
If it comes as a shock that punk rock has a gender problem, you’re either not paying attention or you’re new here.
The thing about this is, as long as people complain about this being a fake problem it confirms or reconfirms to me that 1) it is still a very real problem and 2) we need to continue discussing it.
August 18, 2014
by Bryne Yancey
Broadcaster are something of an outlier in the DIY punk scene, but they’ve earned that distinction not by creating overly avant garde music or using weird tropes in their performances, but by simply being a relatively straightforward, four-on-the-floor rock band. The Long Island, N.Y.-based trio have just begun a tour with Hard Girls on which they’ll hit basements and bars all over the east coast, south and midwest, so we caught up with guitarist/vocalist Jesse Litwa to discuss the upcoming tour, what he likes and dislikes about touring, food and most importantly, beer.
Talked to my pal Jesse about some stuff. I’M SO EXCITED FOR THIS SHOW TONIGHT!
The suicide of Robin Williams is evoking a lot of productive and open dialogue online about depression. Perhaps it’s slightly unfortunate that it almost always takes a famous person’s struggles for this conversation to bubble up, but that it’s bubbling up at all is inherently a positive thing.
As if being depressed isn’t bad enough, depression still carries a stigma from those who don’t experience or empathize with it. To remix a Mitch Hedberg joke, it’s a disease, but it and alcoholism are the only diseases you can get yelled at for having. The stigma against mental illness doesn’t exist with cancer, heart disease or any other terrible affliction. People can unintentionally cross, cruel and unsympathetic toward those suffering from depression, which shall we say, doesn’t help much. People you love, respect, and admire, people you would otherwise reach out to in your darkest moments, can flippantly disregard your feelings and project their own experiences on whatever it is you might be going through. It’s an awful feeling. When you’re depressed, often the last thing you need or want to hear is someone telling you to buck up because it could always be worse, and even though you might know that they’re trying to help in their own way, it’s nearly impossible to reconcile their words with your feelings.
My depression is technically undiagnosed. I am happy to have a job when so many others do not, but it is very much entry-level and I absolutely can’t afford health insurance or medication on my salary; in fact, other than the seven months or so I was working out of the Alternative Press offices in Cleveland, I have never had health insurance in my life. My mom was a bartender and my dad a laborer, two industries that traditionally do not afford health benefits to their employees and their families. At the risk of sounding totally presumptuous, I know many others my age are in the same exact boat. At this point, I’m used to not having a safety net.
I don’t know if a pill or a therapist would help me…but I don’t know if it wouldn’t, either. I can’t right now, and maybe I never will.
Everybody’s depression manifests itself in different ways and in varying degrees. When mine bubbles up, it feels a lot like a really severe migraine headache. A dull pain encompasses the back of my head, sometimes spreading to my eyes, neck and shoulders and making my upper body feel so heavy that it’s difficult to move or see or think. It’s a very, very odd feeling, one that I don’t remember experiencing until fairly recently. I feel pretty okay today, but just writing this out, I can almost feel it starting, or maybe because my brain is thinking about it it’s tricking my body into doing something it’s not in the mood to do right now. I’m not even sure. Being unsure sucks.
It’s important for those suffering from mental illness, or those thinking they may be suffering, to be able to talk about it openly and without uninformed ridicule. That’s one way we can help erase the stigma. My “online presence” (and real life too) is mostly stupid jokes because I love to laugh at stupid things. Laughing at stupid things is my coping device. You would not be wrong to think that it’s a defense mechanism, my own free version of therapy. It totally is.
It’s also important for those close to the suffering to, instead of trying to outwardly solve the problem, or project their own prejudices and experiences onto someone else and tell them to “just be happy,” as if we wouldn’t "just be happy" if we could, to just listen. Often, all we want is someone that will listen and be there when we’re feeling especially vulnerable. That small gesture can go a long way.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to self-medicate by going on walks, writing, listening to music, and acting dumb on the internet. Hopefully that’s alright.