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Music and Mental Health

By: Tosha Maaks

Music is a special thing when you have a mental health disorder like bipolar. When you are feeling manic it works off some energy but when you are feeling depressed it really gives you something to look forward too. Recently I was going through a bad depression and my favorite band went above and beyond to be a light for me.

I am a country girl at heart and I have been since I was a young girl. I worked in country music radio from the time I was a teenage girl till my late twenties and I was always fond of finding the latest and newest artist to come on the scene. I still like to find the up and comers and follow them to stardom. Sometimes I pick ones that make it big like Luke Bryan, and sometimes I will pick some that never make a name for themselves, but I will always love.

My most recent favorite I found at a local bar as I was learning to love myself again by joining a friend on girl’s night out. I don’t drink but I love to dance so a good band that is fun and can get me really moving on the dance floor is a huge plus for me. I started following this band out of Nashville called Adair’s Run about 2 years ago when no one really knew who they were. They were so fun and energetic. At the time so was I. I had a blast dancing the first night I saw them perform, I stood in the front row watching with glee, my smile glaring from ear to ear. I started to follow them on every social media outlet they had.

Every time they would come to my town I would be sure to be there. I would go in early for sound check to hang out with the guys and say hello and get some hugs. It became a ritual. The last time they were here though I was going through my first depression in a long time. I was making myself go through the motions of my everyday life because that’s how I know to break my cycle the fastest. I know by working my wellness recovery action plan I can break the cycle of depression the fastest and that dancing is one of my coping skills so going out with my girlfriends was one of the best things for me.

I wasn’t excited the night of the concert. In fact, it was one of the hardest things I have done in a long time. While I was at the concert I was highly aware of the fact that I was not having fun. My friends kept asking me "Tosha, are you having fun?". I kept trying to assure them I was enjoying myself. It wasn’t that I wasn’t trying to enjoy myself. It was just the depression was so thick. I was having a hard time enjoying the things that normally bring me joy. It was like the questions that the doctor asked me started to make sense. “Can you find joy in things?” I had always been able to say yeah to the doctor, for the last two years without thinking about it too much. That night I knew I was not finding joy in things that normally bring me joy. As much as I wanted to be at that concert I was smiling, and I just did not want to be there. However, I stayed and I danced, and I tried my best to enjoy “my boys” as I call them.

When I got home I posted on Instagram the photo of me and one of the guys from the band I took that night. With a message about my depression and how bad it had been, and Pat Pollifrone from Adair’s Run wrote me a personal message back on my Instagram Comments: patpollifronemusic: "So glad we could light up the dark for you even if it was just a little bit! Keep your head up and keep moving forward. You WILL win this battle and feel like queen of the mountain! Thank you again for all the support you and your girls give us!"

I know it only took a moment out of his day and I know it didn’t say anything special. I know that I am just another one of his fans but the fact that he took the time to write me in his busy schedule meant so much to me. I will be forever grateful for the guy from the band who took the time to write me because I was depressed, and he has no idea how much he made a difference. He made me smile so big that day.

Music is such a big part of our lives and the artist that play it become our heroes. This band deserves a big thank you for slaying my depression and making it their personal mission to do so. Thank You Pat and the rest of Adair’s Run; you really are “my boys.”

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