The pandemic has taken its toll on the mental health of people around the world, among them musician Devin Townsend, who offered a frank response when speaking with Metal Blast about how he’s been handling the pandemic downtime during a podcast chat.
Townsend stated, “I am a hybrid of a lot of things. I am well aware of the chaos and the anxiety that it has brought to my life, being surrounded by people who are vulnerable, older. I have kids. Having to pivot work, the uncertainty of it all, the political and social discourse that’s so toxic, all these things result in a mindset that I could excuse myself for feeling like all is lost. However, I don’t feel that way. I feel incredibly grateful for things that I maybe have taken for granted in the past. And that has also extended to the audience. I’m so grateful for this career that I have that I’ve gone as far as I can to try and make as much good content, and try and make it something that I can provide, with my skillset, something that helps rather than hinders during this period for other people. But it’s not easy.”
He went on to add that he’s learned to deal with his anxiety during this period and adds, “All signs point to I should feel the worst that I’ve ever felt, but I don’t.”
That said, the musician does not discount the feelings of those going through depression during this time, even those who aren’t predisposed to depression. He adds that he’s had some struggles as well. “I do struggle, but it goes in three-day cycles. That’s why it’s been interesting, because I’ll go for three days where I’m just, like, ‘God, I can’t. I can’t.’ And then, all of a sudden, I can.”
“I think the things that are really important to bring to light in terms of the mental struggles and the fallout of this, which is gonna result in a lot of mental illness, I think, is that there’s also this faction of society that, when you ask them how they’re doing during this period, they’re quick to say, ‘I’ve never been doing better. I’ve been doing great. This is the best I’ve ever done,'” adds the singer. “I know there’s certain friends of mine that say that; there’s a lot of people that say that to me. And I think that they’re maybe projecting a little bit and maybe they’re not taking into consideration, or being honest with, how difficult it actually is. And I think one of the biggest problems with dealing with a society that’s coping with these mental issues is when we downplay how intense it is.”
Townsend suggests, “I think it’s okay to be depressed, and I think it’s okay to be despondent every now and then, regardless of whether or not you’ve got any predisposition to mental illness, because this is a depressing and despondent situation for a lot of people, and to allow yourself to feel that, I think, is really important. But also, simultaneously, to not allow yourself to get so caught up in that that you’re wallowing. And the ways that I have found to manage it are meditation and exercise, and the awareness that I’m not alone with this. And if that person is able to pull themselves through, then so am I. And that helps.”
Townsend has been quite active during the pandemic, starting up a quarantine project at the beginning of spring. He’s also continued his prolific career, currently preparing to release Order of Magnitude – Empath Live Volume 1 on Oct. 23. The concert collection was recorded during his 2019 European tour.
As World Mental Health Day (Oct. 10) approaches, we remind you that the SAMHSA National Helpline is available to help guide you in seeking support groups, treatment facilities and community-based organizations dealing with mental health and substance use issues. Check out the website here or call 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
Devin Townsend Speaks With Metal Blast
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