Today we want to share some great tips about caring for your family. Caring for the health of your family is vital to ensure that your whole family is able to enjoy a full and healthier life in the future, minimizing the chance of serious diseases and illnesses during their lives. There are many ways you can take care of your family, including fostering a healthy lifestyle and attending frequent check-ups at a healthcare center such as https://southwestcare.org/. To find out more ways of taking care of your family, read on for some top tips on looking after their health and well-being.
Invest In Healthcare
One way to care for your family is to research, and invest in, the best healthcare. Of course, this comes with a price tag, but using your insurance plan you can find the best healthcare available to you and your family.
One of the crucial things about taking care of your family’s health is knowing the early signs of a problem. If you have small children, you should research the early signs of allergies or other problems that could be difficult to spot at first. By doing this, you will be able to ensure they get the treatment they need, if and when the situation arises.
Similarly, if you are responsible for elderly family members, finding the best specialist healthcare professional for rheumatology, or any other conditions, is important to give them the greatest opportunities for health in old age.
It is thought that as much as eighty per cent of US adult and children do not get enough exercise for optimal health. That is four out of five people! Exercise is one of the most effective ways of keeping both your physical and mental health in check.
You do not have to hit the gym for hours every day, but try to build in plenty of physical activity into your day. That might mean walking to school instead of driving, swinging by the park on the way home and having a run-around, going for a walk or a bike as a family on the weekend. Even gentle activities such as a game of bowling or gardening counts.
We all know that we should be eating well to feel well, but do you actually know what makes up a healthy diet? It is not just eating plates of lettuce and drinking nothing but water – you can enjoy a slice of pizza or a candy bar AND eat a healthy diet too. Just make sure junk food and those continuing excess fat and refined sugars are enjoyed in moderation, and that you eat meals that are balanced the rest of the time. Look for a balance of carbs, protein, healthy fat and at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. You can even make some unhealthy favourites healthy – make your own pizza using a base of wholemeal pitta and spread with tomato puree and low-fat cheese, and top with plenty of fresh veggies. It’s great fun for the kids, tastes great and is a healthier option.
By maintaining a healthy weight and making sure that your diet has all the nutrients that you need, you are less likely to suffer serious health conditions such as heart disease, type II diabetes, stroke, cancer and other illnesses.
Take care of mental health
Many of us take care of our physical health but neglect our mental health, and this is important. Given the current circumstances that we find ourselves living in, taking care of our families mental health should be just as much of a priority. Try to encourage some mindfulness into your day – anyone can join in, even children. You can do some coloring, focus on breathing – anything that works for you. It helps to bring you back to the present moment and ground yourself, and that can benefit your mental health significantly.
Adaire Byerly is a woman on a mission. After witnessing firsthand how often ego and power struggles prevent businesses in the entertainment industry from being productive and healthy workplace environments, the former model decided to launch Entertainment Mindframe, a company which seeks to improve communication among industry professionals through the application of brain and behavioral science. Adaire has a love affair with the brain – our own personal supercomputer. Understanding how it works and the role our own perceptions play in both communication and mental health is one keystone of a thriving professional and personal life. Learn more about Entertainment Mindframe on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Cliché: Your experiences in the acting and modeling industries catalyzed your initial awareness of unprofessional behavior in the workplace. What was it about these moments that really stuck with you and led you to resolve to want to make a change?
Adaire Byerly: Through my years as a professional in the industry, I noticed psychological patterns & behaviors that were constantly projecting into business politics, negatively effecting the success in one’s career, or an entire brand. Working in a world full of creative geniuses, you will experience the want for expression and acceptance rather than structure. You find a lot of ego, selfishness, rebellious and stubborn behavior, push back, gossip and power dynamics that make it difficult for anyone to properly conduct business. The main issue I found through observation is many people only view these industries as a platform to showcase their talent, overlooking the fact that these industries are actual business that that effect our U.S. economy by billions of dollars. When we put that into perspective, we begin to understand why we should ensure our brands are operating as such.
Talk about your company, Entertainment Mindframe.
Entertainment Mindframe™is a company developed to provide cognitive enhancement for professionals in the Entertainment industry by applying brain and behavioral sciences into the business side of fame. The industry branches include media, fashion, film, and sports.
I developed the company to tackle the common and intangible communication issues in the work environment that negatively affect business. My focus starts at the root. That means everything that goes on behind the camera, in the mind of professionals and in operations. I aim to identify, eliminate, rebuild neuropathways, and shift perspectives that project into a career & work environment by creating a tailored communication strategy. That includes trainings, cognitive consulting, seminars, rewriting policies or HR procedures or changing company culture. I focus mainly on communication through linguistics and perception. I also work with professional Psychologists and Neuroscientists to ensure the methods concur with the scientific community and provide long lasting results.
What are the basics that everyone needs to understand about workplace communication?
I often tell my clients that communication is a science as much as it is an art. It is not just made for you to express how you feel. The purpose of communication is to become fluent with another person by speaking at their comprehension rather than enforcing your own.
In business, we cannot just look at people as opportunity or money, we must recognize them first as humans. Communication is key. Without proper communication an understanding will never be reached. Many people view an understanding as “agreeing” however, you do not need to agree to reach an understanding, or to even communicate. I have a simple order of process that I show my clients to visually show them how their thoughts impact communication, which then impacts the company as a whole:
The individual (the mind) ➡️ The environment ➡️ Operations ➡️ The project/production ➡️ The final product
It all starts in our heads and trickles into everything we do. If we can solve it at the root, the rest of the process runs smoothly. What does that look like? It increases employee retention rates, lowers office tension allowing more efficient workspaces, even prevents legal repercussions by enforcing proper business code and education, and finally creativity and work production is greatly enhanced by finetuning this communication. All of this has ultimately resulted in an increase and expansion in business.
What are some common issues that arise and how can we make ourselves aware of them to better avoid those issues?
Beginner common issues include frustration, gossip, “I” thinking, lack of appreciation, lack of trust, lack of respect and exhausting your work ethic. These all result in larger issues such as resentment, bad business deals, loss of business deals, losing great talent or workers, creating a bad reputation associated with the brand and loss of clientele.
From a scientific perspective, one thing to note is, your thoughts and beliefs are not always right or true in the grand scheme of things. Our perception is a huge factor regarding the decisions we make. Understanding that everyone has their own perspective, (Which is their reality) will tell you that there are multiple realities in the same room. Does that mean someone is wrong? No, it means we are human and that is how we process information. Understanding human nature in business is a major way to not only prevent miscommunication but enhance the company as a whole.
Your practice is now working to help companies navigate both COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter. How is that restructuring going to impact the way that employees and companies themselves approach work and communication?
One major focus point of my assessments when I am working with clients is to make sure they adapt to the social changes that can affect business. Covid-19 and the social justice movements are the current changes that we have to alter in operations. We have to ensure that protocol and safety procedures are being followed for health reasons, as well as educating ourselves on social justice movements and how they influence the economy, as well as being sensitive to the visceral reaction and human nature aspect of workers and customers during these times.
You have a rich family history – your father’s ancestors were the first African-Americans to own over 4000 acres of land in East Texas following the end of slavery. What does it mean to you in this moment to be a Black woman, a Black mother, and a successful Black female entrepreneur?
Honestly, it is extremely powerful and motivating. The history I come from has always been a fire in my soul to push forward even when the odds are against me. When I am facing the unknown, the impossible, and even wanting to accomplish something that has never been done before… I look at my ancestors and I say if they can do it, I can. I have no excuses because it is in my blood to make things happen regardless of the circumstance.
How can non-Black entrepreneurs and consumers better support Black-owned businesses and Black entrepreneurs?
I would say to first educate yourself on local and even major black owned businesses that you are interested in. For consumers, the best way is to purchase their products and spread the word. For Entrepreneurs, if you find a black owned start-up, you can either promote or offer a solution as a third-party resource for the brand. For instance, if there is a black owned business that is in line with a mission you believe in and is having trouble getting off the ground, invest in it or provide resources to help that business flourish. Offering educational resources, lawyers, advisors, potential business clients or even seminars or promotional deals to help expand their exposure and success.
You’re a licensed Practitioner in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and Neuroplasticity. Break that down for us. Why are you so fascinated with the brain and what do you think a greater understanding of how it works can inform in terms of how we understand ourselves and each other?
Neuro-Linguistic Programming is a psychological approach to quickly find solutions in communicating and perceiving the world around you. Neuroplasticity is the ability for the neurons in the brain to change and how information travels through the nervous system. I also have studies in Cognitive Behavioral techniques which is a short-term psychotherapeutic technique that changes toxic thinking patterns. Scientifically, it changes the neural circuits related to negative emotion in the nervous system.
I am in love with the brain because it is the root to everything that we do. It is the most complicated computer on the planet and we still do not fully understand it. After studying neuroscience, it is fascinating how our thoughts, belief systems, decision making, and behavior all start from tiny cells in our brain. And it is all happening on a subconscious level, meaning we do not even know it is happening! Being able to see that, to me, is phenomenal.
I believe educating ourselves on our own brains is a recipe for a potential superhuman mentality and life. I am sure you have heard this before, “The mind is a powerful thing”, that is said because so much of what we need to enhance, lies between our ears. It can be the make or break of your life.
Why do you believe it’s so crucial to advocate for a greater focus on mental stability of professionals?
This ties in with the understanding of power that the mind has on our lifestyles. If our mind is not right, we cannot do right. It always starts from the inside. The product of work, personal life, relationships, finances and even grounding all starts from within, mainly tied to belief systems that we have. I often find professionals getting lost in their work/brand resulting in an identity crisis OR they become a part of business so heavily that they treat themselves as robots, which then neglects major needs that any human requires to function. Don’t get me wrong, you can still hustle, commit and work your tale off to get the results you need. Sacrifices do have to be made when you are pursuing a career but if you are doing it to the level of needing to see a therapist or take medication just to function, that may be a good indicator that you need to re-evaluate your habits and mental state.
What advice do you have for professionals out there who may feel that their company does not provide adequate mental health resources?
The good thing about this is, if you see your company is lacking, you can always change it. You don’t necessarily have to have mental health resources to create a better environment. You can very easily allow employees to do certain things, such as take multiple short breaks throughout the day, advise them to move around from their desk, allow employees to play music or dress more comfortably. Another way is to acknowledge that they are human. Ask them how they are doing, ask about things that interest them, and if you don’t know, get to know them. There are always fun team building exercises that you can implement.
If you are wanting to lean more on the side of resources, you can also inform your coworkers of certain apps that help regulate your mood such as Virtual Moodbox, Stop, Breathe and Think and Mood Coach. You can also provide them with emergency hotlines and/or websites that can assist them during their own time.
Read more Celebrity Interviews on ClicheMag.com Adaire Byerly Examines How Cognitive Science Can Reboot The Business of Fame. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Adaire Byerly.
During this epidemic, every day life can be very stressful so today we want to talk to you about how lockdown stress can affect men. Preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus sounded easy at first, as sheltering in place and practicing proper social distancing didn’t sound like much of a challenge. It was easy for people to keep their minds off of things, too, thanks to the Internet.
For one, it allowed them to stay in touch with their loved ones. It also made it easy to shop from the comfort of home. Some men even took it an opportunity to update their wardrobes, getting rid of clothes that no longer fit them while buying new men’s socks and underwear.
But after months of staying vigilant with still no end to the pandemic in sight, it’s hard not to start feeling the palpable effects of fear and anxiety. Indeed, while it’s generally understood that physical distancing continues to be necessary at this time, it has become another source of stress. Over time, more and more people—especially men—are feeling isolated, lonely, and detached from their support systems.
Men are particularly vulnerable to stress, especially during these uncertain times. They see themselves as providers, protectors, and problem-solvers. That’s why in the face of a global pandemic, the idea that there’s nothing they can do can shatter their sense of identity.
If these feelings resonate with you, the stress caused by the pandemic may already be impacting your daily life. There are several signs that stress is impacting your sleep. Left unchecked, it can make you feel tired or demotivated, unable to sleep or concentrate. It could be manifesting as pain in your lower back or neck, or as more severe physical ailments like heart palpitations, indigestion, or increased blood pressure. More importantly, stress can weaken your immune system, making you more vulnerable to coronaviruses as well as strokes and heart attacks.
To make sure that you keep your well-being in check, read on for some tips to help you reduce your stress levels during the ongoing pandemic.
How Men Can More Effectively Cope with Lockdown Stress
Physical activities make your body produce more endorphins, which are neurotransmitters that reduce your perception of pain and trigger positive feelings in the body. Exercise can also put you in a mindful meditative state because of its repetitive motions, making you more conscious of your body’s movements.
The good news is that there are plenty of workouts that you can do from the comfort of your home. You can try looking up fitness videos on YouTube, signing up for online classes, or putting together a small home gym and adapting your existing workout routine.
If you’re having trouble getting yourself in the mood to exercise, it may be worthwhile to treat yourself to some high-quality workout attire. At a bare minimum, you’ll want to get yourself a couple of moisture-wicking shirts, some lightweight gym shorts, a few pairs of sports socks, and a sturdy pair of athletic shoes.
Play Video Games
There is a prevalent misconception that competitive video games can only cause tension and stress in those that play them. However, several studies have shown that the activity has many positive mental benefits and can be an excellent stress reliever, especially for men.
Much like mindfulness meditation, video games make you concentrate on goals, outcomes, and objectives while being aware of and reacting to present circumstances. Video games that offer online multiplayer capabilities can also offer relief from lockdown-induced loneliness. Truly, playing with friends or even strangers are both viable forms of social interaction, at least until it’s safe to starting meeting up with others in person.
Due to the effects of the pandemic, many of us feel helpless, unable to do anything about the situation. And it’s difficult to pull yourself out of bed when you know that there’s nowhere for you to go.
Still, we recommend resisting the temptations of a lethargic lifestyle by coming up with a productive daily routine. This is because keeping your days structured while quarantining can help bring back some sense of control. After a few days of doing so, you’ll find yourself feeling more alert, more energetic, and less likely to spiral into negative thoughts and depression.
Reframe Your Mindset
It can be all too easy to view lockdown measures as hindrances. That being said, you can do your mental health a favor by viewing these challenges as opportunities instead. After all, there’s nothing wrong with slowing down and resting from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. You might even find that you’ve got some spare time to work on a project or pick up a new hobby you’ve been meaning to try.
Stress may be unavoidable in these trying times, but it’s not impossible to overcome it. With these tips, we hope that you can take better care of yourself during this period of uncertainty.
Today we want to talk about 5 things you can do to improve your mental health every single day. Getting control of your mental health can seem like a daunting task—especially when you’re in a rut. But improving your mental health doesn’t have to be intimidating.
Meditation has been shown to help diminish anxiety, stress, and depression. It helps people get a hold of negative thoughts and put their lives into perspective. Meditation also relaxes the body and relieves tension.
This can be extremely helpful for those who suffer from low self-esteem, depressive thoughts, and body image issues.
Simple Mental Health Tip: If you’re new to meditation, or find being alone with your thoughts uncomfortable, try a guided meditation on YouTube or the Headspace app.
Getting your body in motion—particularly through cardio or aerobic activities, can have a powerful effect on your mental health. One study showed that running for 15 minutes a day (or walking an hour a day) reduced the risk of major depression in participants by 26%.
Physical activity not only gets your body working, but it also boosts your brain—creating new synapses, elevating mood, and even helping improve memory.
Simple Mental Health Tip: Exercise doesn’t have to be vigorous to have a positive effect on mental health. Even a walk around your backyard will energize your body, release endorphins, and help elevate your mood. The idea isn’t to become the world’s next Olympian—just don’t let yourself become stagnant.
If you’re intimidated by the idea of prescription medication, and you’re looking for a natural alternative to mental health treatments, give CBD a try. The endocannabinoids in CBD attach to receptors in the brain responsible for bodily regulation. This includes pain, mood, and stress control.
Simple Mental Health Tip: Many people use smoking or vaping nicotine to calm their stress and anxiety. However, nicotine can actually increase these negative feelings. Nicotine also inhibits sleep and can cause the body to feel wired and shaky. If you’re looking for a healthier alternative that mimics the feeling of smoking, try CBD.
This one may seem like a no brainer, but many people don’t fully understand the benefits of therapy, or how it’s easier than ever to get started.
Therapy comes in all different forms depending on what you’re looking for. Classic talk therapy is good for those going through a difficult time. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a more in-depth approach that can help get to the root of a problem and shift a person’s mindset and promote healthier habits. Group, couples, and family therapy can help issues involving more than just one person.
Luckily, you can opt for online therapy, which is convenient and cost-effective. There is a snowballing number of third-party companies that remotely connect users with reliable therapists.
Online therapy takes less time, and you don’t need to travel to meet with your psychologist. It’s comfortable, especially for people who are always on the go.
And when it comes to online therapy, there is text therapy vs. online video therapy. With text therapy, you can send messages- anytime, any day- to your therapist via a third-party platform. This form of communication is suitable and appealing to the young generation. Some platforms guarantee a prompt response, while others have a schedule for replying to texts.
The online video therapy is scheduled in advance. Video therapy is conducted with a therapist directly or via a third-party platform. You can communicate with your therapist as much as possible, the same way you would with the in-person session.
The list goes on, but it is important to do your research about therapy and find what works for you.
Simple Mental Health Tip: Now, therapy is more accessible than ever before. Online therapy from Talkspace is becoming increasingly popular and, due to COVID-19 related social distancing measures, now is the perfect time to opt for a virtual alternative.
#5. Clean Your Space
When depression and anxiety hit, it’s normal to lose some motivation to take care of the space around you. Cleaning up your home or bedroom and creating a comfortable living space for yourself is a great way to get your body in motion, distract yourself from negative thoughts, and feel a little better.
If you don’t want to leave the house, it can be good to make the house a better place to be, especially if you suffer from social anxiety, agoraphobia, or OCD. Cleaning up your space will help you feel in control of your life and surroundings.
Cleaning up your home also provides people with a sense of satisfaction—if you’re suffering from low self-esteem, feelings of failure and worthlessness, or even a sense of restlessness, try completing this easy task for a quick mental health boost.
Simple Mental Health Tip: Cleaning up doesn’t have to encapsulate your entire home. Start with one room and see how you feel. Don’t take on anything that’s going to make you feel overwhelmed.
It’s the Little Things
Improving your mental health won’t happen overnight—and that’s perfectly fine. The most important part of the journey to better mental health is simply doing your best. If you can only manage one of these things per day, you’re already doing a great job.
Don’t be afraid to try—because trying is the first step to making things better.
Dr. Jeff Gardere offers positive ways to cope with anxiety. To maintain a healthy mind, it is essential to maintain a healthy body, including internal organs, and vice versa. The more we shape our body, the more our mind gets shaped. In this regard, physical fitness is extremely beneficial. As an example, do you know how martial arts can help with health related issues?
A healthy body fights against many anomalies and helps multiple parts and organs to rejuvenate. This enables the brain to be at peace since a lot less stress signals are sent to it.
After a stint on The X Factor catapulted her into the spotlight at 16, Janet Devlin’s life was forever changed. Ever since, she’s been captivating fans with her soulful voice and unabashedly honest lyrics. On the heels of three successful singles, “Confessional,”“Saint of the Sinners,” and “Honest Men,” Janet is back with “Away with the Fairies,” which attempts to recapture the carefree joys of teenage drinking. But perpetually turning to alcohol for escapism took a hidden toll on the singer – she recently revealed she’s an alcoholic and has been in recovery the past 5 years. It’s one of the subjects of her upcoming autobiography, My Confessional, which is scheduled to be jointly released with her album, Confessional, on June 5th. You can check out “Away with the Fairies” below and pre-order Janet’s album and book HERE. And don’t miss your chance to keep up with Janet on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube!
Cliché: Who were your musical influences growing up?
Janet Devlin: Oh there were so many! It was a mixture of everything that everyone around me was listening to. I got into Johnny Cash, Garth Brooks, Hal Ketchum because of my parents love for country. But on the flip side, I loved The Foo Fighters, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Smashing Pumpkins because of my babysitters!
How did your life change after The X Factor?
Everything and nothing changed. My family and friends all treated me the same but my career and opportunities were totally different. It was like I went to bed as a schoolgirl and woke up a singer. It definitely changed for the best though, because I was able to get into the industry at such a young age and it meant I had a few years that I could experiment, work hard and even make a few mistakes along the way. The show gave me the confidence to pursue a career in music.
What was it like suddenly having all that fame and exposure as a teenager? How did you adjust to that?
It was very weird, I have to admit. Considering I wasn’t a popular kid who had a lot of friends, suddenly having people know who you are is a bit bonkers! I ended up just socialising less. I would avoid going out and about for the sake of it because frequently people would yell things at me and they were more often than not, quite mean. So I just became even more of a recluse really!
Talk about your new single, “Away with the Fairies.”
I wrote this song about the rose-tinted glasses of youth, or more accurately – the beer goggles. I wanted the track to embody the happy-go-lucky spirit of drinking in your teenage years. How you can purchase a cheap elixir from the local corner shop that’ll remove all social anxiety and inhibitions, and in those days, all seemingly without consequence. So the song is one massive double entendre for drinking. For example: “…I’m in ribbons again…”, “…two sheets to the wind…” and “…a bottle of ghosts…” were all things I would’ve heard my uncles or cousins say. There’s a few references that only I could get like “…grant me wings…”. This is in reference to the copious amounts of red bull and vodka I’d drink in my teenage years – so essentially it’s me just asking to get drunk. A “moon-beam” child is the combination of moon from “moonshine” and Beam from “Jim Beam”. However, I knew that not everyone would be able to relate and I still wanted the listener to enjoy the track, so I created this almost mystical, fairy-tale feel for the song.
Why did you decide to go public with your struggle with (and ongoing recovery from) alcoholism?
Mainly because I felt ready to. I would hate to think about what might have happened if I opened up about it before I was ready. I knew when making the decision to talk about it, that I’d be met with hate. Dangerous hate though, such as “you’re not really an alcoholic” or the “your drinking wasn’t even that bad!” comments. Because they sound just like my justifications for me starting to drink again because these people didn’t see me at my worst. I wanted to let people know about the true meaning of the song. Otherwise I’d have to dance around the truth as to what the song is actually about, and when the book comes out there would be nowhere to hide.
“Away with the Fairies” contains a lot of references to heavy drinking and escapism. Did you have to get to a place where you felt you were far enough along in your recovery to be able to relive some of those emotions and experiences?
I would say that I’m finally confident in my recovery but not cocky. For me, even when I was in the middle of my worst days, I would use the pain of what I was going through to make art. It felt like the only way for me to truly understand exactly how I was feeling. Sometimes I wouldn’t know my true emotions or hurt until I went to write them down. So it served a purpose during and after my drinking.
With everyone in quarantine and self isolating, it’s a dangerous time for relapsing. What advice do you have or what coping mechanisms have you yourself developed to keep your mind occupied?
This is a tough one because everyone is so different. For me, I’m trying to treat myself with kindness. In these strange days it would be ever so easy to turn to the bottle in secret and pretend like nothing happened. But I can’t do that, the pain and the consequences would be too much. For me, I’ve been calling my therapist every week. Zoom meetings have been a blessing. I’ve also been calling therapist friends of mine and a bunch of folks from the rooms too. I’ve dedicated Friday evenings to my recovery because I’m well aware as to the pressure this current situation is having on my recovery. But it always comes down to: one day at a time. So I would advise people to keep in contact with the fellowship and maybe seek out help if they are in the position to.
Mental health is another subject close to your heart. How did you overcome your mental health struggles? What words of comfort do you have for those who might currently be in a bad place?
It is indeed, it’s very important to me because though I feel we’ve come a long way, there’s still a lot of stigma. I don’t know if ‘overcome’ would be the word I’d use however. Probably more like ‘manage’ because a lot of my issues are ones that will be there for life, I just had to figure out a safe way to live with them. What I’d have to say to someone going through it, is that the pain is only temporary. We convince ourselves that the pain is comfortable but it is merely familiar. One day you’ll wake up and not curse the day and mourn over the fact you woke up. You’ll welcome it with open arms. I promise.
We also want to hear all about your new upcoming album and autobiography!
Gosh, where do I even start! The album is a concept album, going back over the last ten years of my life. The book is necessary in delving deeper into the concept – if the listener so wishes. I wanted the album to be accessible and relatable to the listener so the songs are bathed in metaphor. It means if people want to enjoy the listen, they’re more than welcome to, but if another wants to know the meanings behind the songs, then the book explains them.
Why did you decide to release the two together?
I just always wanted both of them to come out at the same time. I liked the notion that someone could listen to a song and then read the chapter too, without having to wait to discover it in a month or so’s time. I also didn’t want to spoil the meanings of the tracks by releasing the book before the album either. This way, people have a choice.
In addition to writing music, you also write a lot of original spoken word! How does expressing yourself through poetry compare to expressing yourself through music?
Poetry comes easier to me than music in some ways. I know that both have no rules but I just feel as though spoken word can be such an effective and easy way to get my feelings out there. I don’t have to try and follow a rhyme scheme or anything like that, I can just speak from the heart. A lot of my songs start as poems too, which is handy as I have a page of lyric suggestions for songs. Like a songwriters cheat sheet!
Pride month is coming up! You identify as bisexual. What do you wish more people understood about bisexuality?
I would just wish that they would see that it’s real. Be that in the LGBTQA+ community or in public. Some see it as a way to not say that you’re fully gay and others see it as a way to make yourself seem “quirky”. Also, that just because someone is bi, they’re not automatically promiscuous.
How would you respond to people feeling pressured about preferences or “picking a side?”
I would have to say ignore those who are commentating on your sexuality as if it were a sport. “You’ve slept with more women then men, you’re gay” etc. I didn’t realise people would be keeping score! Even if you’ve never been with someone of the same sex, your sexuality is still valid! We don’t look to virgins and say “Oh, you’re not straight as you’ve never been with the opposite sex”. Just do your best to ignore the ignorant.
Who’s your favorite bicon (bisexual icon?)
Got to be James Dean! I know that it was never confirmed but holy cow bells, what an icon! And his quotes on sex and quality are brilliant!
Read more Music Interviews at ClicheMag.com Janet Devlin’s Confessions: Getting Real About New Music, Alcoholism, and Mental Health. Photo Credit: Emma Jane Lewis (@ejlewis).
For Eliza & The Delusionals, their musical ambitions are anything but. Their new single, “Just Exist,” attempts to find the balance between depression and creativity – and acknowledges that one might not exist without the other. “Just Exist” recently had the honor of being featured as the Weekly One by Amazon Music. The song has deeply resonated with fans and has made quite the impression on tour. Eliza & The Delusionals hope that 2020 has a lot of U.S. tour dates in store! Listen to “Just Exist” HERE.
Cliché: Where did your band name come from? There was a long list of “Eliza and the somethings”… it was actually the first one I had thought of, one of my favourite lines from a Blink 182 song has the word delusions in there and I always thought that it was a cool word. Talk about your new song, “Just Exist.” Just Exist was written about the balance of feeling low and depressed but also using those feelings to be creative. It’s a vicious balance, but without those feelings I think I would plainly just exist. Were you surprised when “Just Exist” was featured as the Weekly One by Amazon Music? Yes! We were. It was a really cool thing to happen to us.
How can we all take little steps to celebrate ourselves instead of allowing other people to dictate our emotions or affect how we see ourselves? I think sometimes you have to put yourself and your emotions first. I think it’s important to be kind, but without letting people take advantage of your kindness and walk over you. Which song have you written that has been most meaningful to you and why? I think I can speak for the whole band when I say “Just Exist.” As soon as we started playing it, we all felt something, and people after shows would always say that song was a stand out to them or they really connected with it. Seeing so many people connect with it overseas as well has really made our feelings and love for the song even stronger. Where do you want the band’s trajectory to be headed in 2020? We’d like to spend a lot of time in the USA touring and playing festivals!
Read more Music Interviews at ClicheMag.com Eliza & The Delusionals Channel Depression into Creativity with New Single, “Just Exist.” Photo Credit: Matt Walter.
I’d like to ask you a question. Are there any lifestyle habits you want to change this year? The truth is that as time moves forward and technology advances, the convenience of our lives just gets easier. Food you can microwave in minutes, Amazon Prime that can have things delivered to your door in a matter of hours, and transport making it easier to get from A to B. However, our lifestyle choices can lean towards the speed and convenience, but with that comes a detrimental effect on our health and well being. Sometimes we can get drawn into the advances of life and we think less about our lifestyle choices, but going back to basics in some aspects can be fulfilling and can also help us to feel the best we possibly can.
This time of year especially means that we can often find ourselves setting goals of the changes that we want to make in our lives, and many of them have a lot to do with our lifestyle, our health and feeling better about ourselves. Getting into the best shape of our lives both physically and mentally will only ever have a positive effect on your life. We can all agree that to be fit, to eat the right foods, and to physically and mentally be capable are all great things in our lives, but you may have some blockers in your way stopping you achieving those things. So if some of your lifestyle habits need addressing here are some of the things to consider changing.
Convenience is quick and easy and there is no hiding from that fact. But going back to basics with raw and organic ingredients and cooking fresh is always going to be the best option when it comes to your health and diet. Too much convenience can cause health problems in the future, and if you are wanting to feel better often looking at your diet as a first action can pinpoint some of the problems you might be experiencing. Plant based diets, eating organically, they can all help, but start but making simple changes such as adding more fresh produce to your diet and take it from there. Many people are so tempted to start diets at this time of the year. They want to lose the pounds quickly, look at detoxes and make some real physical changes, but often this is just not sustainable on a long term thing. Instead, focusing on a balanced diet can help you to understand the food groups that you’re body needs to function, and to allow you to slowly get into the shape that will last and have you fully energized and looking good.
Being active can be a great way to feed your mind and feel good about yourself. It isn’t about being in a gym, unless that is your thing, it is just about being active in general on a daily basis. Walking somewhere instead of driving. Taking on a new hobby like running, or a local class somewhere. Often the hardest thing to do is start when it comes to exercise, and at this time of year, the weather and temperature certainly doesn’t help. It might be a good idea to look into a smartwatch or tracker that can help you stay accountable and also track the progress you make. This can be an excellent motivator to keep you going. Reading the Ravingtrends’ Xwatch Article could be a good place to start. Let’s not forget the positive effect it can have on your mindset. The mental aspect is refreshing and the activity can be great for your physical health. Not to mention the energy boost. We can forget the little things, like walking in the fresh air, can actually be soothing and good for the soul.
Work on your mindset
Our minds are such a powerful tool, and often we don’t realise how much we are impacted by our thoughts and how we feel until we start to focus on them more clearly. It can often be the small things such as a negative through process, a dim outlook on life or not feeling very grateful for the things that you do have that can make the biggest difference. Turning into a positive person when you may be more negative will be a hard thing to do, so don’t expect huge changes overnight. If you want to focus on your mindset then take small and actionable steps and create new habits. Start with gratitude. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have to start to feel happy and grateful for all the good in your life. Maybe keep a journal and actively write down each day the good things that happened, or focus on three positives that you are grateful for. You can then progress son to turning in negative outlooks into positive ones and also speaking more positively with the choice of words you use. Your mind can control other aspects of your life, so a mindset change could be the best thing you do this year. You could also try methods like meditation that might help you to achieve your goals.
We are too much about convenience and speed these days and less about thinking where things are made or where things come from. So a good change of habit it to be more conscious with your purchases. Buying fresh vegetables from your green grocer, supporting the local charities, it can all be very refreshing and uplifting and helping you to make better decisions about where things come from. There is a lot of focus right now on sustainable living, and people are hoping to look at plant-based diets and try out challenges like Veganuary, or even just doing their bit when it comes to recycling or reducing the amount of waste or plastic you have in your home. Small changes can start to make a big difference, especially if more people get on board. Maybe your change this year is all about these types of habits you want to break?
This one needs a paragraph all on its own because this one lifestyle change can make a difference in many ways to your life and how you feel. For starters, water is nature’s natural detox, so it enables you body to flush out any bad toxins that are lurking. You can also find that it can give you an energy boost, aid with sleep, improve your skin condition and generally have you feeling in better shape, just because you are drinking more of it. Cut out the caffeinated drinks in the process and you will start to see a massive difference.
Your lifestyle choices
Your lifestyle choices can mold you into who you are, so don’t delay on making a more informed decisions when it comes to your physical health, your mental well being and your thoughts and beliefs. Taking back the control and coming away from convenience and speed every now and again will remind you how you want to live your life moving forward. Placing a focus on the lifestyle rather than the specific changes can help you to make the small and impactful habits that will help mold your life into what you want it to be. Don’t delay in just making one small change today if you think that it is something that you can stick at and it will have a positive effect on you.
Let’s hope these tips and suggestions will help you to make some incredible lifestyle habits this year and have you ending the year looking and feeling your very best.
Chuck Shirock (known professionally as C. SHIROCK) cultivated his love of music from a young age and through the unique lens of an international childhood. He ultimately decided to pursue music and start building his career from Nashville before just recently relocating to LA. He started a band called SHIROCK before quietly recommitting to a solo endeavor. After hearing of his friend and co-producer’s painful estrangement from his veteran brother, Shirock was inspired to write his new track, “Lost To The Night,” in which he contemplates what he might say to people that he’s lost. The song wound up taking on even more significance in the wake of the sudden death of his close friend. The message is clear – we should always reach out and treat each other with compassion and empathy, because you can never know what someone else is going through. You can listen to “Lost To The Night” HERE.
Cliché: Did you learn anything about yourself as an artist while you were living abroad?
I was exposed to so much culture and unique influences growing up in the Philippines and Scotland. My parents were doing missionary work there, and I was going to International schools. I remember in the Philippines the traditional dances and rhythms…then in Scotland, hearing the bagpipes and other music that seemed to echo the beautiful landscapes… Even when we came to America, we moved to Detroit first – I remember being 13 and falling in love with alternative rock and R&B. We also had so many people from out of the country visit us from India, Africa, etc… my babysitter growing up was from Jordan, and I remember she bought me an Oud for my birthday one year. It was definitely an eclectic musical upbringing…and I see how it has found its way into my music now.
Why did you finally decide to move to Nashville to pursue your music? And now I hear you are moving to LA?
I moved to Nashville originally to go to a music school called Belmont University to study voice. After college I ended up staying and being based there as I started touring, recording etc… there is such a vibrant community of artists and musicians in Nashville – it’s a special place.
I have just officially moved to LA! Literally about a week ago – I’ve been going back and forth between Nashville and LA for the last few years, and it felt like time for a change. I will continue to work in Nashville writing, recording, and probably touring from there…but it felt right to be in a different environment for a while. LA is beautiful, and I’m discovering so much new inspiration and creativity in this city…it feels vibrant and like an exciting time to be here.
What was your thought process behind your decision to leave your band SHIROCK?
My previous band, SHIROCK was initially started as my project – I grew up always wanting to be a part of band, and even though we had some consistent musicians in the band, it never was fully a traditional “band.” We ended up having some rotating musicians, so at first we transitioned from being presented as a 5 piece ‘band’ to a duo. We ended up personally parting ways a few years later, and instead of continuing SHIROCK as my project, I decided to make a subtle transition to C. SHIROCK. I view the whole catalog of work as one evolution – I love some of my songs from SHIROCK, and will continue to play them live. But it felt important to me to have a clear beginning that represented myself as a solo artist.
How does your new identity reflect your evolution as an artist?
It feels so much more free – I feel like I can chase whatever turns me on. It feels more experimental, more pop, more fully pulling from my influences… There’s a freedom about being a solo artist that you can’t have in a collective band. I feel like it fully represents who I am as an individual and as a creative.
Talk about your new song “Lost To The Night.”
“Lost To The Night” was co-written with my friend and co-producer, Thomas Doeve. We were sitting in his studio in Nashville, and we were talking about a heartbreaking situation in his family, and his desire to reconcile and mend his relationship with his brother. We started asking; ‘if we had the chance, what would we say to someone we lost?’ That was the start of the song – pulling from very personal experiences and real emotions.
The song was inspired by a veteran and reconciliation. How can we better reach out to our veterans?
There are some incredibly heartbreaking statistics about the mental health of veterans of all ages…I think one of the most important things we can do is to check in and care for veterans on an emotional level. Unless there are very evident PTSD symptoms, veteran’s mental and emotional health tends to be overlooked. I think there should be more programs providing counseling and therapy to anyone coming out of the military, not only those with traumatic PTSD symptoms. At minimum checking in with those close to us that have come out of the military is a great place to start. You never know what’s going on with someone behind the surface.
Is there someone in your life who you’ve lost or haven’t seen in a long time? Do you think about what you’d say to them if you had the chance?
There are a few – this past year I lost one of my dearest friends. We lived together for a while, and created music together for years…he was like a brother to me. He died unexpectedly this year, and now when I sing “Lost To The Night” I can only imagine Jon. I regret not seeing him more in the last few years, I regret not being there for him in ways I could have been…there is so much I’d say. You never know how much time you have…and it hasn’t ever felt more real to me than losing Jon.
Do you have a message for fans who are coping with a family member in crisis?
Seek help – ask questions, and check in with them. It is so hard to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. I’ve had friends struggle with drug and other addictions, and it can be so easy to judge them. I need to be reminded of this too – do what you can to understand their struggle and what it’s like for them…how they got there. Healing will never happen through judging – understanding, empathy, listening and communication is where change begins. And don’t be afraid to seek help – I started seeing a therapist a few years ago and it changed my life, my view of myself and my self worth…it might have saved my life. I don’t know why I was so resistant to it all the years before. I thought it was weakness if I needed it… seek help, encourage your loved one struggling to seek help, and do your best to listen and understand them. We are all fighting our own battles…do your best to stay gentle.
Read more Music Interviews at ClicheMag.com C. SHIROCK Explores What’s Left Unsaid in His New Single, “Lost To The Night.” Photo Credit: Allister Ann ; Daniella Midenge ; Emilia Pare.
Just a few short years ago, Beware of Darkness frontman Kyle Nicolaides’ life was in shambles. Deep in the throes of depression and overwhelmed by a constant internal onslaught of negativity and suicidal thoughts, Kyle made the decision to jettison his band in favor of finally addressing the mental health crisis that had plagued him for so long. It was then that the arduous self-described “unsexy path” to recovery began. This path to healing included antidepressants, sobriety, diet, yoga, and an army of other coping strategies. Emerging on the other side of the storm, he wrote his name song, “Bloodlines,” his first track created free of anxiety and depression and the one that reawakened his ardent love of the recording process. Listen to “Bloodlines” HERE.
Cliché: What was the first song you ever wrote? Kyle Nicolaides: I was around 12, wandering through Jensen Guitar in Santa Barbara, admiring the used guitars and beaten up amps, and I remember so clearly the exact moment it happened. I was reaching up to grab a guitar that hung on the wall, and out of the sky this melody just came down. I was both so excited and freaked out because I had no idea what was happening, but I knew this song just appeared. The melodies, and A and B parts came at once, so I sang it repeatedly until I got home so I wouldn’t forget it, and then recorded it that night. It was called “Baby.”
The first piece of music I wrote was a couple years earlier. I had the greatest piano teacher, Dick Dunlap, who once every couple months would let me come in and record a piece of music in his small home recording studio. It was the first time I’d ever recorded music, and dabbled in production and blew my mind wide open. I instantly fell in love.
I thought being able to record music was an absolute miracle, and I loved scrolling through his different keyboard sounds to multi-track parts to the pieces I had. It was sacred to me and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world I could leave with a CD of what I made, I’d obsessively listen to it on my Walkman all the time, and was so proud.
I started learning, rearranging, and re-recording music from the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time Soundtrack, like the Temple Of Time, and then I began writing and arranging instrumental piano music specifically for those days with Dick. His piano recitals were the first times I’d play the songs I wrote in public.
Recording and songwriting always went hand in hand for me. I loved recording so much I started writing specifically to record. Shortly after I got a GNX4 and then Cubase when I was a teen and started recording and writing every single day after school.
What’s behind your band name, Beware of Darkness?
It comes from a George Harrison song off his album All Things Must Pass.
I was around 19 thinking about starting a band and looking for a name, which is somehow both the most meaningless yet important decision you’ll ever make. I was wandering through Amobea Records in Hollywood and was getting heavily into the post-Beatle solo careers of each member. I bought a copy of All Things Must Pass, flipped it over and saw the song title “Beware of Darkness” & thought, there it is. I checked to see that no one else was using it, and then it was off to the races. That record changed everything for me.
How does it feel to come back from a three year hiatus? Why did you originally decide to take the hiatus? It’s been a whirlwind of emotions: overwhelming joy, bliss, & gratitude I never would have expected or imagined, yet also anger, pain, shame, and a lot of old triggers re-emerging that I am grateful I get to take another look at. It’s been hard and uncomfortable and painful at some points but I’m thankful for it, because it means I’m alive, and I’m growing and changing. I’ve learned so much about myself in the past few weeks re-launching Beware of Darkness, so in that sense I’m wildly grateful.
Why did I decide to take a hiatus? I was in so much mental anguish I wasn’t even thinking about a “hiatus,” I was in pain, unhappy, and knew I needed to drastically change my life, and in my heart, I knew I just needed to stop. There was no thoughtful “hiatus” decision making or dialogue with anyone.
When the band got off the road, and the stress of keeping a band together along with drugs, narcissism, insert more band drama here, compounded with my own depression, anxiety, and panic attacks, I was spent. So I just set out to do a spiritual house cleaning and wound up essentially abandoning and undoing anything in my life that wasn’t serving me, and at the time it was the band. I looked at Beware of Darkness and thought I’m putting my entire life into this, getting absolutely nothing out of it, and not being treated well at all, why am I holding on to this? So I let go, and at the time it was one of the most important thing I ever did because it was the precursor that led me take steps in learning who I really was, how to take care of myself, and how to begin to heal all the mental health problems I’d been dealing with.
Talk about your new song, “Bloodlines.” It’s 3 minutes and 44 seconds long and it’s a jam. It’s in the key of D, and the tempo is 94bpm
You chose very personal cover art for the song – an old Polaroid set of you and your mom when you were little. How does this capture the essence of the song? It’s the ideal image of what the song represents: family, sticking together being on someone’s team for life. I adore my Mom more than anyone on this planet.
You’ve described “Bloodlines” as a “celebration of life.” Elaborate on why it’s such a big milestone for you.
It was my first session out of depression. It taught me that recording music could be fun, simple, and joyous again. It was a revelation.
It’s pretty self-explanatory, but as an artist, how does it feel being able to create music free of the burdens of anxiety and depression? I don’t think it’s self-explanatory at all. It’s a life and death difference. When you’re depressed, you’re not in the playing field of humanity. You spend most or all of your time thinking and counting reasons to stay alive, and doing anything you can to reduce the pain you’re in. Your only dreams are of the afterlife, and your only desires are for this life and all of its pain to end immediately. That being said, it’s incredibly hard to focus on writing a bridge, or pick out the correct chords for a song when you are fighting with a brain that wants you dead, right now. When you don’t think you deserve to be alive, you don’t think you deserve to belong to, be involved in, or find joy in anything remotely human.
So create music without that is, well, simply a gift. Just to be able to work, to lose myself in sounds or writing is a delight, and to be able to get involved in and care about human things again is a dream.
Lastly some of the side effects of depression are brain fog and not being able to think clearly. Just to be able to focus, concentration is wonderful. My brain didn’t work for 10 years, and I’m amazed I was able to do what I did.
How have you changed as a creator throughout your mental illness journey? Well, short story is I’m able to create now, and it comes from a place of compassion and equanimity. During depression, if I made a mistake, I’d compound it with shame, anger, fear, and then crucify myself, and all roads led back to, “You don’t deserve to be alive.”
Before I got help, most days I couldn’t sit and focus for more than anything for more than 10 minutes at a time, because an avalanche of negative thoughts would explode. “Why are you even writing? This idea sucks. Are you still trying to do music? No one cares, quit. You’ve never written anything good, and the poor decisions you’ve made have fucked up your life beyond repair.” That was the jungle I’d have to cut across every single day. Now I’m able to create without that, and it’s such a blessing. Again, to be involved in and care about human things again, is such a gift.
Last week, I wrote 16,000 words to answer email interviews without having an emotional meltdown, and I was able to celebrate that. I never would have been able to do that before.
We shot a “Bloodlines” guitar tutorial a couple weeks back, and I realized I went the entire day, shooting 5 videos in one day, without berating myself with any negative self-talk, even though I did make mistakes. To me, that’s a victory and a gift that I don’t take for granted.
There’s room for self-compassion now and I am so thankful for it, and I am a better creator.
How did you overcome anxiety and depression? It was a long, slow, uncomfortable, and unsexy path. I think there are a lot of things that help, and they all work to supplement each other. There’s no one-way, and whatever works for you is good. Trust your gut and your body, because all these things affect people differently. We all have different bodies and different minds, so you know what’s best for you. Here’s my list:
Sobriety – Last year I was drinking and it exponentially made my depression worse. I thought tequila would bring up my moods until I was in the Bobcat Room in Santa Barbara too drunk to walk and wildly suicidal. It broke me, and when I got sober, I realized I’m eating healthy, meditating, doing yoga, exercising, and I’m still 2 steps from jumping off the planet at all times – something is wrong. It helped me zone in and identify the magnitude of the depression I was up against, and doing everything to avoid feeling. Drinking and getting high don’t solve your problems and are just temporary solutions that feel good in the short term but wind up hurting you more in the long run. I know it’s scary to feel what you feel and sit with yourself, but in the long run it’s more horrifying to avoid that.
Anti-Depressants helped a lot. They don’t solve all your life’s problems but they helped me get to a place where I could look at my problems without out falling apart. They were vital to me. I was on them for 6-7 months and I saw their role in my life as a sort of anesthetic so I could go into myself and do surgery. Note, they aren’t magic pills, if you take them and don’t do the work, they’re useless.
Therapy was one of the most important things I’ve ever done. To be able to talk about how you genuinely feel and have someone to be a mirror and help you work on things was invaluable. It’s helped me so much.
Ayahuasca got to the root of my depression and helped me reconnect with the divine. It was the most life changing thing I’ve ever done and helped me look at my depression in a way I never have before, with love and self-compassion, and helped me realize why I was depressed in the first place. This was magic. Plant therapy and psychedelics are on the up again, and I truly believe they have the ability to help people heal. They are medicine.
Meditation and Yoga are invaluable and help you learn how to be present, sit with your thoughts and see them as simply as that! As thoughts! You learn how to be with yourself, your mind, and your thoughts, without labeling or judging them. This is true freedom, to watch without judgment, because most of anxiety and depression are your mind labeling and judging every single thing in your life as doomed.
Diet – I cannot stress how important diet is to fighting depression. Lots of research coming out about gut health and depression I’m not versed enough in to speak on, but what you put into your body has a direct effect on mood. Certain foods I eat effect my moods so heavily, I eat the wrong thing and it’s like a slip and slide to depression. Be mindful about what you eat. Cut out soda, limit sugar, fast food, GMO and processed meat, limit or cut caffeine. (I didn’t realize coffee was a path to my anxiety until I cut it out). It’s heartbreaking people aren’t taught about healthy nutrition in America. We just have corporations spending billions of dollars on ads to sell us food that is made by scientists to be maxed out on flavor and taste, and are some of the most addicting and unnatural things we can put in our body. So eat as natural as you can. Fruits and veggies, limit meat. Will a carrot send you to the moon like a big mac can? No. but it will sustain you longer and give you a better quality of life.
What message of hope can you provide to someone struggling with mental illness? I can only speak to anxiety and depression. Here’s the thing. It’s hard to hear any advice or believe anything remotely positive about yourself or your future when you’re depressed because your mind will go to any length to convince you why you are undeserving of it, or do anything to discredit it or believe it. You can tell someone they have a purpose on earth, but depression will say, nope. That’s preposterous.
These clichés, which are all true by the way: “You’re not alone.” “It does get better.” “One day at a time.” You say it to someone who is depressed, and they will probably tell you to fuck off. It’s tricky.
I think self compassion and learning how to love yourself is key. When I was still struggling, I sort of I rationalized this phrase in head as a half joke half truth, “If God wanted me dead, she would have killed me by now, maybe there’s a bigger reason I should hang around?” Stick around. We only have 60-80 years max right now, so let life surprise you. No need to bow out early. Sure it might get bad, but can it get any worse than right now? This very moment? Probably not, and probably in this very moment, you’re in no danger, a bear is not attacking you, so what if you decide to curiously hang around and let life potentially blow you away with what it has in store for you? Yeah it might be hard, it might be uncomfortable but what if life has a grand plan for you, and gives you a future so beautiful and bright you can’t even imagine it right now. So just hold on. You’re gonna spoil that by walking out of the movie before you see the ending?
I know depression feels futureless but I’m just asking you to consider this. I know that none of this probably makes sense to you while being depressed, but you have nothing at all to lose by trying it. One day when you come out of depression, you’ll be amazed you survived and look back and laughed, if you can overcome yourself, you can overcome anything.
Read more Music Interviews at ClicheMag.com Beware of Darkness Celebrates Overcoming Depression in New Song “Bloodlines.” Photo Credit: Nick Smalls.
Mental illness is a deeply personal subject for Samuel Jack. The London-based singer struggles with anxiety and depression. His new single, “In My Head,” describes his fight to overcome the anxiety and depression that have mercilessly kept him down for so long. Though he was once a shamed of his mental illness, now he’s eager to talk about it and encourage others who are suffering with poor mental health that they’re not as alone as they might think. Rather than confining mental health talk to the shadows, Samuel emphasizes the importance of discussing these issues to begin to chip away at the social stigma surrounding mental illness.
Cliché: In what ways does your childhood continue to influence your music?
Samuel Jack: My childhood continues to influence my music for sure, nearly everything I write is inspired from the music I fell in love with as a kid; old soul, blues, pop and hip hop to name a few – and also more directly, sometimes I actually write about experiences or emotions I had whilst growing up.
Talk about your new track, “In My Head.”
“In My Head” was a tough one to write in some respects, it’s a deeply personal song to me , about my struggles with mental health – and fundamentally, the fight to overcome them.
What have your experiences with mental illness been like?
When I was at my worst, my experiences with mental health have been huge, depression and anxiety are horrible, nasty things that can really have an effect on every aspect of your life.
Why do you describe yourself as “a mental health survivor?”
I consider myself as a survivor, because I learnt how to cope, and despite the fact I think you can never really be rid of depression completely, I’m the closest I’ve ever been to being so.
Did you find writing the song therapeutic?
Absolutely, not just this song either, whenever I write it’s a really cathartic experience for me.
In your experience, how does coming for a family with a history of mental illness impact how you view your own diagnoses?
That’s an interesting question. I guess one would assume the reason I had mental health issues is because it runs in the family right? Wrong. My problems were born through situation, I’ve always been a balanced, mentally healthy guy until a mixture of career, financial, and emotional problems all combined to do some damage – having said that, maybe the notion of being susceptible to these problems can be hereditary? Who knows.
Why was it important to you to go public with your struggles now?
I just think it’s okay to talk about it now, I used to be embarrassed to talk about it, but we’re perfectly normal people y’know ? I’m not crazy. I just struggle sometimes. And I wanted to get it off my chest.
How has mental illness impacted your relationships?
I’d say the problem with depression is those that love you don’t necessarily know how to cope with it just as much as you. Sometimes that was hard to deal with within my relationships.
What strategies do you use to cope with your depression and anxiety on a daily basis?
To be honest, nowadays I feel so good I don’t need to use any particular strategies, but back when I was at war with it I’d try anything – exercise was good, I also did this very weird thing where I’d imagine all my worry and problems as a ball , I’d close my eyes and if ever I was really really sad I’d imagine the ball flying towards me and then smacking it away with a bat, and I’d literally imagine the ball flying backwards into the sky and exploding. I know. Kinda weird. But it helped.
What steps can we as a society take to lessen the shame and stigma around mental health?
Just talk. It’s all talk.
Read more Music Interviews at ClicheMag.com Samuel Jack Raises Mental Health Awareness in New Single, “In My Head.” Photo Credit: LPR Agency.
Growing up in Germany making movies with his friends, young Falk Hentschel couldn’t even imagine what life would have in store for him. Initially working as a dancer in an attempt to create an indirect route into the film industry, he took one particular rejection as a sign that he needed a career change, immediately dropping dance, moving to LA, and chasing acting. While he now stars as the central villain of Steve Carell’s Welcome to Marwen, the road has been bumpy to say the least. Falk has battled everything from severe depression and psychosis to eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder. He is now using his experiences to encourage others to seek help. In particular, he’s calling attention to Hollywood’s perpetuation of ludicrously unrealistic body image standards for men. In order to help loved ones who could be struggling, Falk simply suggests that we be kinder and more empathetic to one another – advice that we can certainly all take to heart.
Cliché: You originally started out as a backup dancer. Who or what motivated you to switch to acting?
Falk Hentschel: Before being a dancer, I ran through the woods with my childhood bestie, wielding my parent’s home camera, beating up imaginary thugs (played by my friend’s little brother) and thus gleefully creating our first little movies. I’ve always wanted to make movies, dance was the way that got me there when I couldn’t find a direct route. My back up dance career was what lead me to Los Angeles. Once I arrived in LA, my switch over to acting started. I focused on studying acting the first 3 years while supporting myself through dance and choreography. It was an audition for Justin Timberlake’s FutureSex/LoveShow tour that made me decide to quit dance and act full time. JT was the only artist that was left that I was interested in dancing for. So when I didn’t get the gig, I took it as a sign to go back to my childhood dream of being an actor. I quit dance the next morning.
What do you consider your first big break? How would you describe that experience?
I think that there is no big break. Every job you book is kinda a “big break.” When I booked Knight and Day, my first big feature film, I believed I had gotten my big break. But I barely got paid enough to pay my rent and didn’t book much else the following year. It was quite sobering. Then after that I landed a few guest star roles on TV and then came StreetDance 2. Again I figured “here is my big break,” and again that just wasn’t true. More struggle followed. But I will say that with each job that you get under your belt, there is a huge amount of growth. Your experience and confidence rises and with that people start to treat you with a little more respect. I gave up trying to get my “big break.” Now I focus on doing the best work I can and most of all being as creatively fulfilled and happy as I can be. It’s the only thing I have any influence on any way. Everything else is up to the universe.
Talk about your new film, Welcome to Marwen, and your character, Hauptsturmführer Ludwig Topf.
Welcome to Marwen is an incredible story about courage, authenticity and the power of healing that art and creativity holds. It’s about Mark Hogancamp a victim of a violent assault, who constructs a miniature World War II village, called Marwen, in his yard to help in his recovery. I play the man who assaulted and almost killed him and also the doll nazi Ludwig Topf. Topf represents Mark’s real life attacker in the world of Marwen.
You play the villain of the film. How do you go about empathizing with the antagonist? Alternatively, do you emphasize more with the protagonist and then understand the villain through those emotions?
I always try to find a way to understand and empathize with my character no matter what terrible deed they have committed or how they behave. You can’t judge a character and play him truthfully at the same time, that just doesn’t work for me. So I sit down and try to get into the character’s thoughts and feelings. In this case, I asked myself what could possibly drive me to commit such violence against another human. Usually the answers come down to a lack of love, joy and happiness. When you’re disconnected from those emotions long enough, hate will eventually take its place. Underneath it though, I think lies pain, sadness and torment. For the “Thug” who beat Mark into a coma, I decided that he was jealous of Mark’s courage to be himself, to be authentic. So he needed to put a stop to it. It sounds so simple now but it took me quite a while to get to that place, so I could play the character.
Welcome to Marwen revolves around a man creating a fantasy world as a coping mechanism to deal with his trauma, the aftereffects of which continue to haunt him. What commentary do you think this film has to offer in terms of the power of fantasy and escapism?
I think it will emphasize how powerful our minds are and how much healing lies in our thoughts and imagination. But how you also need to find a healthy balance between our fantasies and reality and how both influence one another.
You’re incredibly open about your own struggle with depression. When did you first identify your symptoms? What are some healthy coping mechanisms you use to get through bad days?
Before my career really got started, in my mid twenties, I went through an almost three months long psychosis. I basically smoked some pot that was either laced or just too potent and “pop” I lost my mind. I had no idea who my parents were, who I was or what was real and what was not. The real root of it, which I discovered much later through meditation and the help of amazing healers, was not the drugs themselves, but the fact that I had been depressed for almost 5 years straight leading up to this psychosis. I think my body couldn’t handle the constant state of being unhappy anymore. So after that I knew that I need to watch out and really tend to my emotions. When I start to question the goodness of life I have to be vigilant to remind myself of the fact that everything is and always will be ok in the long run.
I use nature quite a bit to balance myself out. I live in Oregon, so it’s easy for me to go out into the woods, find a stream or river to listen to and to just sink into the current moment. Usually just being present holds a lot of healing. It is in the contemplation of the future and past that I come across most triggers that can send me into a depression.
Do you have advice for anyone out there who might be struggling with depression?
Stay present in the world around you. Don’t lock yourself up in your mind surrounded by only your thoughts.
Create a support system for yourself. It can be in the form of loved ones that you can call upon to just be there for you or hobbies, rituals that keep you grounded and in the moment. For me it’s nature, for you it might be an art gallery, a book or a home cooked meal. Anything that reminds you of how much wonder and joy the current moment can hold. Another thing that helps me quite a bit is to find a friend who is willing to just listen, when you share your feelings and struggles. So often I hear “Yeah I totally understand, I often feel the same.” and I’m reminded that I’m not alone in this. I think these days probably every single human has dealt with some form of depression whether they know it or not. You are not alone, I’m right here with you.
In your opinion, how can society alter the way we think and talk about mental illness so that those affected can feel less alone or be encouraged to seek help?
Oh man, that’s a big question. For me personally, here is what I know helped me and what got me through. I was fortunate enough to have a family who loved me so much that they really listened to me, no matter how little sense I made. They cared for me no matter how hard it was. They loved me and treated me as Falk, who isn’t feeling well, not as a crazy person whose mind is lost. It made me feel safe enough to calm down, to restructure and to return to my old and yet new state of mental wellness.
Let’s not make it a “them” and a “us,” like we unfortunately seem to be doing a lot right now. Having lost my own mind and remembering how quickly it can happen, I know that mental illness could affect any of us. Let’s care for one another. Let’s realize that a person suffering from mental illness is just someone who is not feeling well. One of us who is not feeling well. As corny as it sounds but let’s open our arms and hearts and take the time to listen.
You’ve also battled eating disorders as well as body dysmorphic disorder, which are conditions stereotypically associated with women. Did you initially feel isolated as a man with these disorders? What would you say to other men grappling with body image issues?
I had no idea I was even suffering from an eating disorder until I found myself at an OA meeting in order to help a friend that was anorexic and bulimic. I was the only guy there and I listened to everyone sharing and suddenly realized “oh wait a minute, I have an eating disorder and body dysmorphia.”
At first I did feel alone. In my case my disorders manifested in excessively working out, past the point of it being healthy, controlling my food intake obsessively and basically arranging my whole life around my body image. But I very quickly realized that especially in Los Angeles, a lot of men suffer from some form of an eating disorder or body dysmorphia. I mean take a look around – I feel like every man no matter what their job is or lifestyle is, is trying to look like a superhero. Our society has created an ideal body image that is absolutely outlandish. And our culture reinforces that you have to fit into that body image or you’re not a success, you won’t be loved by women and admired by other men. You’ll be less than.
So I say to everyone struggling the way I have, free yourself of the standards set by the entertainment industry and live a life conducive to your happiness and physical health and NOT the way you look. I have made a point to be active but in a way my body can enjoy it. I now do it to feel good and healthy, not to gain another ab or put on pounds of muscle. Variety is beautiful. Your body is beautiful because it’s unique. Surround yourself with people that love you for your uniqueness, don’t strive to be like everyone else. And know this: I’ve played a superhero, society’s current ideal of masculinity. The truth is, inside I felt insecure and nowhere near good enough. I never saw my body for what it was. I only saw how much further i needed to go. Never satisfied, never happy. An endless cycle. It’s not the ideal that we sell it to be.
Expectations around male body image are seldom acknowledged, let alone addressed as a problem comparable to the expectations placed on girls and women. What can we do to further raise awareness of unrealistic male body image presented by the media and help boys and men feel confident and secure in their bodies?
Show those boys that they are loved above all. Build up their confidence in who they are as a person. Teach them the values of kindness, honesty and truth rather than power, riches and control. Most of all give them a larger variety of role models to draw from. I believe that we don’t currently have any realistic “male” characters out there to look up to. To be a complete and well rounded “man” is to embrace once masculinity and femininity equally. We have glorified the masculine aspect of our “hero” figures so much that the feminine has withered away. Let’s teach men about their femininity again. As a matter of fact lets all of us, man and women realize that, yes we have different sexual organs and physical make up, but who we truly are is made up of equal part feminine and masculine energy. We are one and the same in our essence.
If we stopped surprising half of who we are, we could start all kinds of healing. Not just the issue of “body image.”
How can love ones better support someone with a mental illness or eating disorder?
By being non judgmental. By truly listening to them. By acknowledging that it is a real problem and not some vain curiosity of the mind. By being interested. When someone is truly interested in someone’s plight it takes away any feeling of being judged and somehow builds trust to share truthfully. Care and Love is always the answer in my mind. Ultimately we always have to battle our demons ourselves but a caring and loving support system will give you the strength and inspiration to do so.
And don’t try to do it all by yourself. It’s too big of a beast for any loved one to handle. Go to an OA meeting, help and encourage them to find professional support. You don’t have to do it all by yourself.
What would be your dream role?
There are four movies that till today elicit a huge emotional response from me. Braveheart, Forrest Gump, The Professional (the uncut European version) and Legends Of the Fall. All of them had heroes that faced tremendous physical and emotional challenges but they all showed a vulnerability you don’t see in heroes anymore. All of them were not afraid to show that they were scared. All of them were flawed and all of them were courageous enough to cry.
I guess what I search for in the dream role is a chance to portray a complex human being rather than a Hollywood stereotype. The Europeans are really great at that cause they don’t have the money to blow up the planet and save everyone, so they have to resort to relatable characters with interesting dynamics. I loved Vinterberg’s The Hunt – Mads was incredible in that. A regular man having to deal with such a huge conflict. A role like that – wow what a gift.