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Mental Health Matters: When Self-Doubt Kills Your Career Before It Starts

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Since I was little all I could remember is music circulating throughout my life. From learning who the band on the screen was [answer: it was AC/DC, it was always AC/DC] to my Godfather giving me money and letting me loose in the record store as I bought my first record;music has been and will always continue to the most important thing in my life no matter what.

Though, for a period of time I wouldn’t listen to any music. Now you’re thinking, you’re part of an industry where music is the most important thing, so how does that work? Well, it doesn’t. You see, every time I would listen to a musician pour their heart out in a crowd, conquer that drum solo, hit that high note my mind would stop and my heart would ache. My thoughts, self-doubt, and even self-hate would bubble to the surface, causing me to shut down on the inside and depending on the moment, the outside. The only thing I could think of was the fact I would never possess the talent to do, say or even reach the level musicianship like the people I look up to. Now, could you consider this jealousy? To a certain degree, yes. I was jealous that I could never have that talent or be where they are. I was jealous that I would never be worth a life I dreamed of. So, I just “quit” music. I quit attempting to pursue my dreams. Dreams of one day being able to take the stage, no matter how big or small, and sing like the fire in my heart wants me to.

Take my low self-confidence and add in depression and self-harm, it was just a whole ball of wonderful. I was stuck in this purgatory, with the thing that had helped me fight my demons becoming the thing that was bringing me down. Even though I called it quits and had my meltdown, I still had a job to do and music to support and for some twisted reason, I loved torturing myself. It was a nasty cycle that never stopped, until it began to take more of a toll on myself than before. It quit becoming about the work and more about the pain it brought me. It was like sitting in front of a glass mirror with something you want so badly on the other side mocking you. There would be bursts of confidence here and there, where I would sing and attempt (key word there) throw a song together, but it never lasted.

Everything finally came to a head when I hit my lowest point a year ago. After a particularly phenomenal show, I attempted to take my own life. In a haze of tears and more self-hate, I was blessed to still be alive. It was at this time I decide to take a step back from everything (and I mean everything) and simply take a break. Over a period of several months, I slowly but surely began to develop a new look on my life and more importantly music. I disconnected music itself from my personal goals and dreams— I couldn’t let a lack of self-confidence ruin the foundation I grew up on. As for my goals and dreams that fed my demons, I quit digging my heels in the ground and began to explore what ‘lack of’ talent I had.

I have yet to gain the confidence to pursue music and quite frankly I don’t know if I will, but this time I won’t let doubt stop me. Life is strange and the music industry is stranger, but I believe when there is a will there is a way. And I can assure you, I sure as hell have will nowadays.

Xochitl Hansen is a Texas born and raised music journalist who has worked with musicians such as Finch, Famous Last Words, Handguns and many more. In addition to journalism, Xochitl works her hardest to promote local musicians and artists in Austin,TX. Among other things she also is a brand ambassador for Party Sober Clothing. Follow her on instagram @popmypunk for music related posts and silly light hearted moments.



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Angela Mastrogiacomo

Founder of Infectious Magazine & Muddy Paw Public Relations. Lover of passion, ice cream, and books.

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One Thought to “Mental Health Matters: When Self-Doubt Kills Your Career Before It Starts”

  1. Chrissy

    I want to cry, this is powerful.

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