Denver Cuss

Today seems like a very appropriate day to write about my happiness and mental health. This is because as of today, I am officially no longer taking antidepressants. I slowly weaned myself off these meds. I know everyone’s experience of antidepressants is different and for some people they are very beneficial, but for me, while I couldn’t feel extremely low, the same went for feeling extremely happy – I just didn’t. I wasn’t okay with that. So as of today, I am relying on myself to feel okay, and while that is extremely intimidating, I have proven to myself just how strong I can be in troubling situations, and I’m proud of my resilience.

I’m a jazz vocalist living in London with amazing friends, a boyfriend who is startlingly suited to me, and great things lined up for my life. Unfortunately, these things don’t seem to matter when anxiety hits. I’ve suffered from anxiety and depression for most of my life, the depressive part having manifested itself more recently. I’m extremely proud of what I’ve achieved despite my issues, even if I’m honest and admit I am not always open to new methods of self-improvement.

Being a musician with anxiety is bizarre at times; to most, the idea of standing on a stage, completely exposed as you pour your heart out, is a nightmare. To me, it’s one of the only places I feel 100% comfortable. On stage, I am entirely myself. It’s strange how calming I find the feeling of being watched by hundreds of people as I throw every part of myself into a performance. All my problems drain away when I sing jazz. All the things I needn’t worry about, but still do, are stripped away and all that’s left is a comfortable feeling of self awareness, and genuine passion.

There are small and brief ways to ease the discomfort of anxiety, which is where being a singer comes in handy as breathing exercises are often useful mid-panic. Nothing seems permanent though. The main thing I’d like to learn is how to think more positively. Part of my anxiety is a frustrating difficulty to see much other than the negative in every situation. I feel that I’ve come very far from where I was last year- the thought of making a phone call to anyone other than immediate family made me want to cry. I have made significant progress, but I still think I have further to go, and I think it starts with somewhat of a reboot of how my brain works. The power of positive thinking is written about all the time (my boyfriend is an avid reader of self-improvement books and is a huge positive force in my life), and I think that becoming a Happynesshub Hero could just be the thing that helps me to remember that my life, while far from perfect, is absolutely worth cherishing and appreciating.