Helping Yourself To Help Others; Being Strong While Dealing With Mental Illness.

I just woke-up to read that a long-time friend whom I have known since my reckless and carefree youthful days in high school committed suicide by hanging himself. Two weeks prior to reading this heartache-inducing news, another suicide on a mainstream world-wide news level hit me hard- Soundgarden lead singer Chris Cornell. Just fifteen minutes prior to reading the news about my friend, I almost posted a usual jamz status on my Facebook profile announcing that later on tonight I was going to see this band live at Will’s Pub in Orlando. The song was titled, ironically and in the cruelest of fashion, “Suicide Brigade” by Wolvhammer.  After reading the news I decided to delete that status update in progress and not post it simply because it was too much of an eerie coincidence and out of respect for the gentleman who had contributed the humor to my life that I was too cynical, unoriginal, and lazy to find at times.

For the last fifteen years I’ve had to come to terms with hearing about the topic of mental illness and dealing with it has been constant and very personal. If any of you have actually read my blog , I am no stranger to it. I personally deal with Major Depressive Disorder. I’m a prime candidate for never being fully capable of finding the light at the end of the tunnel. It also means I’m not the most hopeful or cheerful sonofabitch at times. I can be downright grumpy. I also have a penchant for self-medication, gallows humor, impulsive and risky behavior. I listen to music that seems to thrive and make bank on exploiting mental illness in the most cringe-inducing of ways. It doesn’t help when you come from an environment that treated mental illness and depression as the norm. I grew up experiencing and seeing the damaging effects it can have on not just you but everyone around you. Experiencing it yourself, it makes known that it is a chemical imbalance brought on by different factors and YES it is hereditary. It’s a constant raging war that at times never seems to be able to come to an end even though you might win a battle here and there.


As if you didn’t know how it feels to lose
As if you didn’t know how it feels to lose at dice with fate
At least have some dignity
As if it wasn’t a lifetime spent on connecting the dots
There was no pattern
As if the irony was more than a defense mechanism
And we could actually laugh for a change
As if steel hooks in our backs were more than a nuisance
And we could actually feel something

I have been approached more times in my life by people who to this day can’t understand why I continue to be the same person I always have been, especially musically. For a guy who has been on a cornucopia of heavy-end psychiatric medications that have included Seroquel, Depakote, and Cymbalta, you would think I wouldn’t want to listen to anything BUT music that promises good times and ‘good vibes’- music with the message of ‘Live, Laugh, Love” or whatever the fuck it’s called. One particular comment I received made me laugh out loud from someone whom I am not on good terms with. This clueless person said “all this black metal shit is going to fucking take you to a place that you don’t want to go.” My reply wasn’t a defensive response of any sort. Me having to explain myself to him would be completely futile. All I knew was that he was the type of person that would try to start caring after 15 + years of damage. Completely late to the party. As far as going to a place I don’t want to go? I didn’t exactly want to go there as a child. But it happened. It happened for a specific reason. That reason was to make me a survivor and a stronger, more well-educated person- more educated about how it affects myself, how to prevent it, and to help others around me. That’s helping others while not being a condescending cocksucker. I could be the stronger one. I could be their rock and help them. I could be there for someone when nobody was there for me.

I have always been open about my issues with mental health. I have always been brutally honest to as why I’m the kind of dude that goes around with sp00ky tattoos -with words inked on my own skin that say “a light that never warms,” and “no hope in sight.”  You can say that I do wear my heart on my sleeve. A lot of people would view that as a possible negative seeing how individuals like me can be the ones that are walking open targets for negativity, and it’s true. I’m not going to turn this into a phallic-measuring contest. I’ve had a nice big heaping pile of shit thrown over into my hole. If someone feels that I have an image, it’s anything but. It’s me being an overgrown 16 year old in a 34 year old body. Only difference now is that I’m currently medicated and able to keep depression, anger, frustration, anxiety, and panic attacks at bay.  The sp00ky ‘image” that someone may feel I have is more or less an outward expression of the music that I feel most connected to in terms of emotional cathartic release(s). As much as why I created this blog. As much as why I write and touch base upon this topic quite often. It’s a release. Complete and total catharsis. And for the people that can’t or won’t understand this; I don’t expect you to help me fight my battles. I don’t expect you to hold my hand. I don’t ask anything other than having an open-mind and open ears. Actually listen to what I am fucking talking about. If one would like to understand these notions a bit better then go over to Decibel magazine and read a beautifully written article by Krieg‘s Neill Jameson about the topic of mental illness and this culture and just about everything that correlates with it, both positively and negatively.

Both my friend and Chris Cornell meeting the same depressing fate- it’s a smack in my face by reality. It’s a pimp slap to the left cheek that reminds even though I may have some stuff going for me and I’m currently experiencing wonderful and overwhelming new things in my life, I have to keep myself strong. I have to stay strong, not just for me- for the ones around me. It reminded me that I have to call the V.A. Outpatient center and re-schedule an appointment with my psychiatrist. I reminds me to keep tabs on myself so that I can be there for others who possibly need the same help even if they don’t have the same access to professional mental health doctors and resources. It reminds me to provide them with the strength to continue going on and soldiering through the muck and swamps of sadness just a little bit longer. Even if that only means one day at a time, as cliche as that may sound.

What happens when you don’t do your homework on bands? You fail. Plain and simple.

At the moment I am dealing with some rather personal issues so pardon me for not being in the most cheerful of moods. Anyway, this thing made it’s rounds and wound up all-over my Facebook newsfeed as usual. It was right after I woke-up after my 5th consecutive night of only running on 4-6 hours of sleep so upon reading this just brightened my fucking morning in the usual manner. To make a long story short; a false entried and got burned and died in the usual neurotic easily-triggered manner as usual. Someone who flat-out admits that they do not do their homework prior to going to shows in which if I was their personal teacher, I would flat-out give them an ‘F’ for showing no type of initiative to learn and for incomplete work. Rule of thumb: I do not give good grades for incomplete work. But enough about my logical and realistic set of standards, let’s get to analyzing and dissecting this weak person’s article of the usual crybaby routine.

Concerts are my safe haven. No matter what’s going on in the world or in my life, I know I can go to a concert and everything will be okay. I always feel comfortable at concerts. It doesn’t matter if I’m at a Satanic black metal show all alone… a concert is a concert and I always feel safe and at home.

Until last night.”

Uh-oh. Watch out! Triggerings ahead!

The show started off strong. Daigoro, the sole local band on the bill, warmed up the crowd with their homegrown death metal. It wasn’t a perfect set and it was all too quick. I started to wonder if it was even worth their time to set up and play, but all in all, it was a great way to start off a night of music that was sure to melt my face off.

Abigail Williams was the second band and first band of the tour package to play. These guys were great. The reverb on Ken’s (the vocalist) voice added a little something to help these guys stand out in a sea of black metal purists. The songs were brutal and powerful and got the crowd banging their heads. Much like Daigoro, Abigail William’s set felt all too short. I wish they had kept on playing because, out of all of the bands that played last night, I definitely liked them the most.

Ok, I’ll easily back Abigail Williams. Plus any band that has guitarist Jeff Wilson in it’s line-up get’s automatic hails from me. The dude has done a lot of great stuff from Wolvhammer, Chrome Waves, Le Chant Funebre, Liar In Wait, Nachtmystium, etc. The dude is a G, son.

What happened next was nothing short of a nightmare and something I never wish to experience EVER again.

I knew nothing about Shining, the next band to take the stage. Being me, I hate to research bands. I think it’s fun to go to a concert without knowing what’s about to happen. I don’t want to judge a band until I have to and am typically pleasantly surprised by what I find. Last night this whole idea of being surprised backfired and it backfired hard.

This is probably the same type of stupid idiot who went hard against “Ghostbusters” male fans this past summer and criticized anyone who gave a negative reaction to it’s god-awful trailer as being too judgmental towards it’s gigantic dumpster fire flop at the box office. But that’s none of my fucking business :sips tea:

Shining took the stage and, instantly, something felt off. I couldn’t explain it but I did not have a good feeling at all. The music started and I tried to shake the feeling. At first I didn’t mind the music or the show. The sound had heavy doom metal influences but singer Niklas Kvarforth (a.k.a. “Ghoul”) had a voice that made the music much more interesting than other doom/ black metal bands I had heard. Even though I didn’t mind the music, something still didn’t feel right. There was something about Niklas that just rubbed me the wrong way but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

That’s when I noticed exactly what I was watching and that feeling in my gut was validated.

Guess you should have done your homework.

Before I go into detail about what happened last night please note the following:

  • I am not naive, I know that the international black metal work is much darker than your typical metal scene. I get that it’s supposed to be dramatic and am all for it. I love watching the theatrics of bands like 1349 and Behemoth. I  find it interesting but there is a line between theatrics and complete inappropriateness.

 

  • I know that not many females attend these shows but if you’ve been following this blog you may be able to tell that I’m okay with being one of the few females at shows. It doesn’t intimidate or scare me. I can easily hold my own in a mosh pit of metal heads and have never once felt threatened or scared.

 

  • What I saw last night was disturbing so what I am about to write is also disturbing. You have been warned.1349? Behemoth? Mere child’s play. Besides Behemoth haven’t been black metal since their 2nd album, but I’ll admit, that’s a bit of a moot point. I have been warned? LOL, ok go ahead. I’ll humor you lady.”There was blood dripping down Niklas’ arms and onto the crowd that was in the front row throughout the set. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen blood on stage before. I’ve seen band members get nailed by the head of a guitar or bass creating a nice big gash and the subsequent blood that comes from said gash. Accidents happen and there’s nothing you can do. But this was no accident. It was clear that Niklas had slashed up and down his arms very recently letting the blood flow down his arms.Being someone who went through a nasty bout with self-harm, this made me feel super uncomfortable. I am super proud that I no longer have the urge to self harm and consider myself a “recovering cutter”. Seeing Niklas scratch at the fresh cuts to make them bleed more disgusted me. He was glorifying something that has taken me years to try and recover from.

    Niklas was grabbing members of the audience with his arms in a chokehold of sorts leaving a trail of blood behind. At one point, he allowed audience members to rub up and down his bloodied arms. The members of the audience seemed to take this as an honor of sorts. They had giant smiles on their faces as they played in Niklas’ blood. I didn’t understand how I seemed to be the only one utterly disgusted and sick from watching all of this happen.”

    TRIGGERED. TRIGGERED. TRIGGERED. As someone who suffers from major depressive disorder and prone to anxiety attacks and other non-favorable mental health issues, I can totally understand the process of bloodletting and understand why he does the things he does. I’ve never been a ‘cutter’ myself although there was that one time as a teen where I carved an upside-down cross into my left arm(It was the 90’s, we did shit like that to prove ourselves as teens and men ok? Deal with it). And as someone who has been into this kind of music since I was a teen, for me it is total catharsis. A void where I can channel my own personal negativity into and have that emotional connection with the rest of the world. And as far as Niklas goes, fuck man….excellent show chap! Hell I would have practically hailed and frothed at the mouth for him to do more or even worse. I like a good GG Allin-esque performance and in 2016 there ought to be more so. Let’s keep shoveling through this pile of shit this delicate flower left on the proverbial bed shall we.

    As if that wasn’t enough, at one point Niklas grabbed a female that was standing in the front row and slammed her face into his crotch. I’m not a gung-ho feminist  in any way shape or form but this made me irate

    Not a feminist? Could’ve fooled me lady.

    “This blatant display of sexism made me want to get up on that stage and punch Niklas square in the face. The worst part of this? The woman encouraged the act as she wrapped her arms around his legs to get even closer to his crotch. Again, I’m no feminist but I have far more self-respect than to let a man do that to me. If anyone tried to do that to me they wouldn’t succeed in anything other than broken bones and bruises.”

    Throughout the set Niklas would grab drinks from people in the crowd, have a sip without permission, and then give them back. All I could think was, thank God I drove tonight so I wasn’t drinking and if he tried to that to me I would have splashed the remaining drink right in this prick’s face. He also seemed to have a habit of grabbing people’s phones if they were out so I avoided taking my phone out of my bag except to grab a couple pictures.

    At one point, Niklas jumped into the crowd to slow dance with the woman who was standing directly in front of me during an instrumental portion of a song. I stumbled backwards to avoid getting his blood all over the front of me. I tried to blend into the small group of guys that was behind me but it didn’t work as I fumbled with my footing. My eyes met Nicklas’ and my hands instantly formed a fist. I realized that I was the only female near the stage that he had yet to get his nasty, blood soaked hands on. I was ready.”

    OMAHGAWD! I wish this lady would have attended a Mentors show or a GG Allin show during his prime. What she has described is fucking vanilla. I’ve been to Hardcore shows where people get crowdkilled and completely annihilated in the pit.

    I’m not one to fight. Sure, I know how to throw a punch and throw it well but it’s a skill I pride myself on never having to use. Last night was the closest I have ever gotten to throwing a punch at a concert. I can deal with people being obnoxious in the pit and I can deal with the drunk chick spilling her drink all over me. Hell, I can deal with someone puking on me feet… I won’t throw a punch. Last night, after witnessing everything that had gone down with Niklas I about lost my cool. My fists were clenched and as soon as he was within arms length it took every ounce of me to resist throwing that first punch.

    After the set, Niklas took off his shirt only to reveal a giant Reichsadler (fancy word for the Nazi eagle emblem) tattoo (minus the swastika). I wanted to throw up. I quickly pulled my sleeve down on my sweater to hide my star of David tattoo. I felt threatened. Was this really happening? How did I find myself here?

    Just fucking stop right there you ignorant bitch. Where the fuck is your outrage over Slayer using the Wehrmacht Eagle as their logo and several of their songs being references to the Third Reich and the Nazis? Also my best friend in the world is Bavarian Jewish descent. Him and I crack Nazi jokes all the time and laughs his ass off and even he can appreciate stuff like Hate Forest and Drudkh. Not to mention several of my friends in the Miami scene (who are all Hispanic/Cuban/Puerto Rican btw) who are all huge fans of NSBM. And I even have a multi-cultured/multi-colored adoptive family. Hell, this past week I ran down with my step-brother who is half black/half mexican and went and scored some weed in the projects. So riddle me this; what the fuck is up with you?

    I wanted to cry. I wanted to curl up into a ball in the corner and just cry. I wanted to rush out the door but at this point I was too scared to really do much of anything. I had already posted something online about my opinion of this band but that was before I saw the tattoos. What if someone had seen my post… were they going to follow me to the car? I know the door guy, but he was too busy to walk me to my car at that moment.

    I stood there. Stunned. I couldn’t believe what I had just seen. I couldn’t believe I stood there through the whole set. I couldn’t believe anything. I felt like I was having a nightmare… I was stuck in a horror movie dream only this was real life.

    WHAAAAAAAAAAA! Cry me a fucking river. You had every opportunity to just simply leave, but you took the moral high-ground to stay and still watch the performance only to blog/cry about it? Fuck outta here with that bullshit.

    The show went on. Origin played and they sounded great. Same with Belphegor with their scary face paint, incense, and everything else but I didn’t pay attention. I had been super excited to see both Origin and Belphegor but after witnessing Shining, I really just wanted to go home and cry.

    Again, cry me a fucking river.

    I should have done my research before the show last night. Feel free to google “NiklasGhoulKvarforth” for yourself but be warned that what I just described to you is really nothing new for this guy.

    Dear Belphegor, Origin, and Abigail Williams– Shame on you for letting this band tour with you. I have lost all respect for you guys because you didn’t take a stand against Niklas’ behavior and let him continue on this tour.

    Dear Triple Rock Social Club– I love your building and your staff but shame on you for not stopping the show. I have put so much trust into you guys and you blew it last night.

    Dear Swordlord (the promoter)– Thank you for bringing such amazing international bands to Minneapolis but shame on you for not screening them first.

    I go to a concert damn near every night. I’ve seen hundreds of international black metal bands and, sure, they’re creepy and give me nightmares but I have never felt unsafe at one of their shows.

    I was scared for my safety last night.

    I don’t feel right today. I’m irritated and crabby and it’s because my safe haven was ambushed last night.

    Fuck you Shining.

    No. Fuck you lady.  And fuck your complaining about being irritability and crabbiness. The only reason you are acting like a child is you got introduced and saw an actual black metal show (Behemoth doesn’t even fucking count), and you finally saw what black metal is. I love it when Special Snowflakes all want to be ‘black metal’ but when it comes to black metal shit, they fucking can’t simply deal with it. This is a music genre that is based and built upon negativity at it’s core; satanism, arson, murder, suicide, self-mutilation, misanthropy, darkness, and just about every other form of negative human trait and characteristic. If you can’t deal with that, just go to a Deafhaven or a Myrkur show. You writing about your unfortunate experience on your shitty blog (MXPX? Seriously? Fucking weak!) is EXACTLY what bands like Shining want negative and horrible reactions from idiots like yourself and by the looks of it, after them of doing this black metal thing for almost 20 years now, looks like they succeeding. Congratulations on only helping to fuel their career with the great publicity you not only provided them but excellent material for me to counter-write about.

    Lesson learned here today folks: DO YOUR HOMEWORK AND RESEARCH BANDS BEFORE SEEING THEM LIVE. I can guarantee you that future concerts like this will be less triggering.

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    FUCK OFF SJWS AND FUCK OFF TO PEOPLE WHO DON’T GOOGLE BANDS BEFORE THEY SEE THEM LIVE.

     

 

Metal fan ages and changes and so does his tastes. Is he a false? Does he still entry?

This is probably going to be the most personal thing I have written so far in this blog I have created. But here it is.

One of the things I’ve noticed in not just myself but with countless other fellow nerds that all partake in listening to this giant clusterfuck of a music genre, is the constant changing/evolution of not just the music but who were are as human beings and how age presents itself with new opportunities to discover music be it new, unheard of, or being open-minded towards to give a gander at. Maybe for some of us, with age comes some type of maturity and the ability to step back and give things a chance because, even though this is no surprise, there’s so much fucking music out there outside of metal at times and even at my age (I’m 33) there’s still an entire world outside the usual doom and gloom of metal music. Even though I grew-up listening to a variety of music prior to metal, there have been stretches where I’ve happily and complacently rested in the void of the underground in all of it’s various forms.

Now exploring and listening to new forms of music isn’t and shouldn’t be a fucking crime. It’s natural. You’re curious. You’re probably bored or you just want to see what’s on the other side of the coin. But what happens when a person almost completely has a complete and total personality change? That’s far fucking trickier and borderline dangerous levels and depending on how much of a change, it can even be cringey. I’ll give you myself for example; a couple of years ago I experienced a complete and total nervous breakdown. I was 30 just turning 31. But there were quite a few things that led up to this breakdown, some of which I won’t go into because they are too personal but one of them being a completely psychotic girl that I dated(The power of the vagina compels you) and an unhealthy drug appetite. Mainly opiates. Preferably in the form of painkillers/pain pills. And may be the occasional muscle-relaxer. I never cared for speed, uppers, benzos, and I wasn’t even that much of a drinker or a big pothead (I still think potheads are fucking annoying). I wasn’t stealing or giving hand-jobs in the back alleys for crack just to stick a needle in my arm or anything seedy like that but I had, what most druggies refer to, as an excellent fucking hook-up. I didn’t have to go on the streets or do any type of shit that would land a person in jail and be convicted. I was too smart for that, plus I have seen people around me that have had that happen to them and it ruins their lives. Basically I could do it at my expense and not get in trouble for it and literally get away with numbing myself out both emotionally and physically just damn near everyday for an entire decade of my life. I was also known to be brooding/moody/self-deprecating/negative as fuck. But this nervous breakdown was the final straw. Anyway I got to the point where I deliberately thought in my chemically unbalanced brain that it wasn’t me that was fucked up, it’s this thing I have loved, supported, and have had their weird symbiotic relationship with for majority of my life: metal. This thing that I thought brought so much misery in my life. So after helping myself thru the VA Hospital, I also had a major fucking intervention from my best friends who told me what the fuck was up. I then went on basically a 2-year fucking odyssey of reinventing/rediscovering myself. Not in this all self-important/self-obsessed/narcissistic fashion that a Pop star might do to revitalize their sinking career, I did it to become a better and less self-destructive version of myself.

Here’s the cringey fucking part of it. I started listening to what many metal fans refer to as “poser music”, meaning I basically listened to music that teenage girls listened to: Issues, Motionless In White, The Ghost Inside, Of Mice & Men, Parkway Drive. Now listening to this music is one thing, but also changing my attire which went from extreme metal band shirts to Abercrombie & Fitch/Hollister. I also took a lot of advice from a fellow but more well-known/successful blogger as far as advice. I looked like someone I would have been disgusted at in my youth. BUT…..I was happier. I kinda pulled a Tom G. Warrior on everyone around me in that I did the whole going from singing “Only death is real!” to singing “Cherry Orchards” literally overnight. Also take into fact that I had stop numbing myself out on a daily basis for 10 years….that right there WILL cause some major chemical changes in your brain. It did mine. Food tasted better, the sun shined brighter, I had a fuckload more energy. Truth be told I felt better, both mentally and physically. I was far more socially engaging and cheerful and less socially miserable. I don’t know about the asshole part, but I was definitely more tolerable to be around. I had also started a brand new job which was promising. In this weird way, I kinda got to re-experience what I refer to as the “good years” of my youth which was 18-21. And at anyone’s age, who the hell wouldn’t want to re-experience those good years? The years before the struggle, the crippling depression, and all the other all-around negative shit that hinders you growing as an adult? Show me someone who doesn’t and I’ll show you someone that is beyond bitter and being stuck in their ways is beyond description.

I don’t know exactly at what point I came towards the end of this good run. It must have been at some point in the fall. But I could tell the old me was returning. Not the overall negative drug part, but the dude that is not very social, not very talkative, and generally doesn’t care going out to bars to mingle with other people in his general surroundings. I also noticed that at my age, this happy-go-lucky metalcore music was SERIOUSLY not resonating with me. How could it? I didn’t and still don’t hate those bands where so many others are more vocal of their general disdain for. I found myself going back to my old albums and listening to bands that still resonated with me the same that originally did when I was a teen. It was in the air. It was like an old ghost coming back to greet and haunt me at the same time. I didn’t fight it this time. I just accepted it. I think I greeted it and accepted it more than any other time in my life up until that point. It was like seeing an old friend and being happy to see them after a few years of not talking. I have never lived what most people would consider a normal fucking life. Far from it. I simply exist outside of what mainstream society considers a healthy adult life. I have been lucky and fortunate from time to time. I’m rather ADHD. I sometimes have no filter and do not think what I say before I say it. I’m kinda impulsive with my money. I spend too much on music and band merch. I fucking watch the same old 80’s horror films over and over again. I accept the fact that I live in an area where job opportunities are scarce and the fact that I have my own house makes the whole picking up and moving option not really an option. I’m rooted where I am. Majorly. At the end of the day I feel bad about it some times. Boo-fucking-hoo. I rather struggle and survive than get to the end result and that being the last type of end result I ever experience and from there no period of growth or change. I’ve come to accept the fact that I am a bit of an anti-social person. Believe me I have heard everything from Adult ADHD, major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, chemical dependence, opiate addict, hell there was also that one time I was misdiagnosed as being Bi-Polar. I am what psychiatrists refer to as a ‘field day.’

As I write this I just want it to be known I am not doing this for a fucking hand-out. I am not looking for pats on the back, to be told I am courageous, to be given compliments, none of that shit. I am writing this to give an example of someone who pulls a 180 yet only to re-find their own selves but being more mature about it. And less self-destructive. I know I listen to a lot of music that promotes negativity and self-destruction so this all comes off as some giant contradiction/paradox. As I sit here and write this, I’m blaring “Beneath Broken Earth” by Paradise Lost and wearing an Outer Heaven shirt. Go figure. What I’ve learned is that through all of my fucked-up-ness (I know that’s not an actual word, blow me), the music I have supported for years actually HELPED me come to terms with all of my personal flaws and fuck-ups in life. It’s provided an outlet. Be it both a mental and emotional one. It’s provided a place where as this giant overgrown 16 year old trapped in a 33 year old body, I can come to terms and find some comfort and solace in knowing that whatever happens in life that there are others like me. We’re not perfect. We’re generally anti-social. We’re all fuck-ups or have fucked-up in one way or another. We have our quirks and flaws. We’ve all found this great form of music that made us feel welcomed at whatever age we are currently feeling grouchy in. And for that reason alone, you can’t replace that love or major fucking connection. If you do so easily, you were never in it for the right reasons. Lesson learned here: don’t be afraid of change. Don’t be afraid to evolve. Don’t be afraid to better yourself and never under any circumstances forget your roots. Without your roots, you have no reason to grow.