Dream State's CJ Gilpin: Being open about mental health will help others

Not every artist may be genuine in using themes of mental health in their music, says Dream State’s CJ Gilpin, but these conversations could still help struggling listeners…

Dream State's CJ Gilpin: Being open about mental health will help others
CJ Gilpin, speaking to Jake Richardson
Andy Ford

The more that I’ve psychoanalysed myself the more I’ve learned about where my problems with mental health stem from. I try to be as open and honest about mental illness as possible, even if I’m struggling at the time – I’m passionate about it because I know the pain of it all, and I don’t want others to feel that way.

Our [latest] album, Primrose Path, talks openly about my psyche and the things I go through. It’s therapeutic for me to write about my struggles – it helps me to get it all down on paper, because I can then work out the root causes of my issues. I perhaps rather foolishly thought I’d conquered my problems when we released [2018 EP] Recovery because I was feeling good and the band had just been signed, but that just goes to show you can never predict the future. You need to look after yourself in the present.

It’s a positive thing that more artists are speaking out about mental illness, and that’s something we in Dream State continually strive to do. It’s better to be truthful, rather than hide behind a fake smile. I know there are some artists who use mental health as a bit of a stepladder and wear this sad mask in order to appeal to people, and there are problems with that, but it’s still good that they’re putting it out there, because it can help listeners feel less alone. When I was younger and having a shit time I discovered heavy music, and that made me realise there were others who felt the way I did… and they were famous! Hearing other people’s stories makes you feel like you’re part of something.

One thing I do regret about my experiences with anxiety and depression is that when I was diagnosed, I wore it like a badge; I was programming those feelings into my subconscious, and I shouldn’t have done that. But the more we talk about mental health, the better everyone will feel – it’s not something where you can stick your head in the sand and pretend it doesn’t exist.

A small piece of advice I can offer to anyone struggling with their mental health is to go outside and be in nature, because it allows you to detach from the walls around you and decompress. The tough moments we experience are temporary and will pass – the light will always beat the dark.

If you’re struggling with your own mental health, don’t suffer in silence. Talk to someone you can trust – a friend, a family member, a teacher, a doctor or a counsellor. Find more information on how to look after your mental health at the Mental Health’s Foundation.

And if you need help immediately, we recommend these organisations:

  • CALM: thecalmzone.net or call 0800 58 58 58
  • The Samaritans UK: samaritans.org or call 116 123
  • Or, in the U.S., the Samaritans helpline: (877) 870 4673 (HOPE)

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