Every now and again, when I’m having a low day I start to think about where it all started, the first time I remember feeling depressed. While I was browsing online tonight I found an article on the BBC claiming research states that people who are considered Goths are more likely to become depressed and self harm. To say it made me angry was an understatement, but actually it upset me more than anything. I didn’t identify as a Goth as a teenager but I was well known as one of the ’emo’ kids at school and took a lot of shit for it. While other girls go into fashion I would resist shopping as much as possible unless it was for black clothes and anything with a guitar or skull on it, my parents did think I was a goth.
Throughout my teenage years I was constantly pissed off by the media saying that the music I listened to made people kill themselves, made people violent, made us all antisocial weirdos. I also remember the death of Sophie Lancaster and the stir it caused that she was murdered merely for the way she chose to dress, when the rockers, the goths and the emos all stood together in grief. You see if you’re involved in it you know that we’re not ‘freaks’ or ‘weirdos’ we’re people just like everyone else.
Now looking through my instagram feed nowadays most people can’t believe that I used to wear black constantly, love eyeliner and hate anything remotely feminine. I’m different to how I used to be but that teenagers still there, I love eyeliner, I swapped wrist bands for tattoos and there is nothing better than having My Chemical Romance on full blast, but there is one crucial difference, music is no longer my only saviour.
Like I said at the beginning I will think about my depression and my teenage years, there’s no doubt I was sick. The thing is I didn’t get sick because of the music I listened to, in fact it was the opposite, it kept me going. I found in these lyrics someone who understood, someone who got the stuff going on in my head and the desperate loneliness I had. The music made me feel like I wasn’t a freak like people said I was and it introduced me to some of the greatest people in my life as well as influencing my own music.
Me aged 13, just getting into the scene
I put the song Famous Last Words in this post because more than any song I associate this with trying to carry on. On more nights than I could count I would lay in bed wishing I could sleep and crying, for no reason and every reason. I was miserable with my life at school at couldn’t see the point of anything but My Chem saved me, say what you want about cliche I don’t care. I would like there and repeat the lyrics while I was crying:
‘I am not afraid to keep on living, I am not afraid to walk this world alone.. Honey if you stay I’ll be forgiven, nothing you can say can stop me going home’
I sang those lyrics over and over again to give me strength, to tell myself not to give up on living. As you can see I’m here, so it must have worked. This music and these lyrics gave me something that I couldn’t even give myself at that point in time, hope and reason to carry on. I’m not writing this for pity or for people to tell me ‘how brave I am’, I’m writing this because like thousands of other kids rock music changed my life for the better and I’m pretty sure it saved my life.
I didn’t get depressed because of the music I listened to, in fact I’m pretty sure if we’re going that far back you’ll have to take into account all the pop music I listened to at 11 years old when it initially reared it’s ugly head after I was beaten up almost every day. I don’t think many people would blame kid friendly pop, right?
I know a lot of people who love the music I do and they don’t have a mental illness. I do and I do because of what I’ve been through in my life, not my musical choices.
4 thoughts on “Don’t blame the Goths and the Emos”
This is so true! I was in a very similar situation to you. I was diagnosed with depression at a very young age(after a traumatic experience) and I found a lot of comfort from “emo” things like having my hair in my eyes, wearing all black, and blasting MCR. We don’t self harm because we listen to this sort of music!! We self harm because of events in our lives and emotions we feel, and the music helps us deal with that.
Exactly! It was a comfort, not a symptom. I hope you’re getting on better now! x
I agree, there are far too many stereotypes, and far too much ignorance surrounding mental health issues. Well said, this is a great post 🙂 x
Thank you 🙂
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