Black Stone Cherry’s Chris Robertson: “It’s Not Easy To Admit You Have A Mental Health Problem”
We’re all a little fucked up and just admitting that is the first step. Well, at least for me it was. You see, I had been around people with addiction issues and health issues, both physical and mental, and had seen the effects first-hand of how these things can take hold of you. I never thought at 26 years old, with our third album coming out imminently that I’d be sitting in a doctor’s office, explaining how I didn’t want to continue, to play music, to be a part of anything or simply even exist at times.
It’s so easy to brush off depression or anxiety. It’s also easy to say, ‘It’ll all work out’ or ‘It’ll all be fine’, and it’s easy to point fingers at ‘crazy’ people who see professionals or take medications for mental health. Unfortunately, that’s where anything to do with mental health being easy stops. It’s not easy to admit you have a problem. It’s not easy to seek help from people, professionals or even family or friends. Not to mention the idea of telling your darkest thoughts and fears to a doctor you have never met. It was all a bit too much for me.
Here’s where all my misinterpretation of how seeing a mental health doctor went out the window. When I first walked in, I was terrified. People who know me know that my biggest fears are snakes and tornadoes. You can add May 31, 2011 to that list. I was completely terrified. See, not only was I going to see a doctor for the first time about my mental health, we were also scheduled to be at our local Walmart at noon that same day, to do a signing for the release of our second album, Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea.
So, I go in and the conversation starts. At this point, I am still so scared, nervous, anxious and any other feeling of darkness or worry you can imagine. The more I talk, the more I begin to open up and say things. The more things I was able to say to an open ear who had never met me and had no reason to judge anything I was saying was so uplifting, and so freeing; of all the weight that had climbed upon my shoulders and chest.
That day was the start of a new journey for me. Nothing necessarily changed immediately, but I felt like I had an opportunity to live a happy life again.
Now, at 33 years old, I wake up every morning and take my medication, and I happily do so because I know it allows me to live my best life. What works for me may not work for others, but if we can’t depend on each other to be there and to be open and honest, it’s a much harder fight.
Peace, love and rock’n’roll.
Black Stone Cherry are playing the UK and Ireland this summer – get your tickets now.
Black Stone Cherry 2019 tour
13: Caerphilly Castle, Caerphilly
14: Aberdeen Music Hall, Aberdeen
16: Barrowland, Glasgow
17: The Academy, Dublin
18: Ulster Hall Belfast, Belfast
20: Ramblin’ Man Fair, Maidstone (headline set)
The frontman explains why the Legend compilation is his go-to album in times of struggle.
Zao will be on the road in August with Hollow Earth and Wolf King.