Welcome to Indiemono! This time we joined Adriel Rivera to raise community awareness during Mental Health Month. He talks about his experience on our blog and curated this playlist with love.
Why do you think there is a stigma associated with mental health conditions?
I think there could be some stigma when people mistake symptoms of mental health conditions as a conscious choice. Someone may be harshly labeled as “lazy” when struggling with motivation, or “crazy” when experiencing a breakdown, but in actuality, they are dealing with something far more serious underneath the surface. It’s important to stay mindful of people’s circumstances especially when you don’t know the full story.
As someone that has a family member with a mental health condition, what are the struggles you had to face?
It’s difficult to get everything across in one paragraph because there’s a lot of history to explain and quite frankly some of it I’d wish to keep private. But to sum it up for those who might have gone through – or are going through – something similar, my mother (though she denies it) has schizophrenia and experiences bouts of psychosis. As a teen, I was very ignorant to the fact that whenever my mom would do something out of character, it wasn’t necessarily her fault. At the time I held some resentment against her. I don’t anymore. As I matured I did all I could in my power to get her the assistance she needed to feel like herself again, but I could only do so much as her son. Now that I’m an adult I’ve taken a step back in trying to convince my mom to seek help because at the end of the day you can’t force an independent person to do anything if they don’t want to. As I mentioned earlier, there’s a lot that has happened within our family that I’m not going to get into. However, It’s better for my well-being to accept my mom for who she is than to fight against her will. Although now we don’t talk as much, I still love my mom to death and always will. She’ll always have my support and can talk to me whenever she needs it. I hope for the best for her and her future.
Has music helped you when going through a rough time or do you know someone who used music in their therapy?
Writing and producing songs is definitely the primary outlet for me to express my emotions, which was the whole concept of my 2019 album Music Therapy. I know many of my artist friends feel the same way. I think as artists (or any creative) it’s second nature to use our art as an expression of what’s happening around us.
How could artists give more visibility to these illnesses?
Writing about your experiences and being open to the conversation is definitely a way to give more visibility to mental health in general. Mental health is just as important as physical health. Poor mental health can actually manifest physical symptoms as well, even if you don’t have any clinical mental health conditions. I think it’s important that everyone understands the importance of self-care. That way we can make the world a little happier (as cheesy as it sounds)!
As a mental health advocate, what is the most common thing you hear from people who doesn’t live with mental health conditions?
“Just be happy!” or any similar phrase is usually not helpful! It can actually be discouraging to hear because being happy isn’t as easy as turning off a “sad switch” in your head. It also dismisses the completely valid feelings that someone might be experiencing.
Do you have advice for someone who is struggling with mental health?
I don’t think I’m in any position to give advice to someone who’s genuinely struggling. Talking to a professional would be the best way to know what to do in your situation, especially since everyone’s circumstances are unique. However, if you are struggling I want to remind you that you’re loved and what you’re going through does NOT define your character. You’re so much more.
How can we support people with mental health conditions?
Educate yourself on the various conditions and always show compassion, especially since no one can know exactly what it is someone else is going through. As a person who hasn’t been diagnosed with any clinical mental health conditions, I’m well aware that I don’t know how it feels to experience them first hand like someone who has. But I try my best to put myself in my loved ones’ shoes. I suggest you do the same. Help as much as you can, but always remember to take care of yourself too. Your mental health is just as important when trying to help someone else.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I want to remind you that mental health isn’t all about mental health conditions. Taking care of your well-being is something everyone has to do to stay healthy! I actively go to therapy to check in with myself because if my mind isn’t clear, how can I expect everything else in my life to be? So have a self-care day every once in a while! You deserve it.