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“I struggled with an overwhelming feeling of anxiety from a very young age – ever since I can remember, honestly. I didn’t know what it was or how to place it, but I knew I was extremely uncomfortable. Paired with getting over a big hill with ADHD and OCD, my childhood was confusing, awkward, and uncomfortable to an extent that sometimes made me feel paralyzed. I was born into a broken family that had been glued back together, and as I got older, it was shattered a few more times. I was bullied incessantly in middle school and high school. I got into terrible relationships with people that lead me down paths I should’ve never even been introduced to. I lost my cousin and very best friend to suicide in the middle of my college career. I have struggled with an eating disorder, alcoholism, and a prescription drug addiction. I am a rape survivor. A domestic violence survivor. I have attempted to take my own life three times. Yet somehow I am still here. I recently went through an inpatient program and have been navigating life with all of these difficult things that I can’t control. But I can control how I deal with them and how they show their presence in my life. Things get better. And then they get worse again. It’s a cycle. You’re not crazy for having bad days and good days back to back. And it truly is one day at a time. You will find coping mechanisms that work for you and others that do not. You will find people that love you enough to call you family and forgive you for the days when maybe you’re not 100% – for yourself or other people. But if you are trying your best, that’s all anyone can really ask of you. Including yourself. You are always enough. “It’s all in your head.” Of course it is, it’s mental disorder. Otherwise, it wouldn’t make any sense. There’s nothing wrong with it just because it’s a pain you cannot physically see. And there is nothing wrong with you because of it.”
Interview with Harrison Seanor of Subtleties
Just off ending a three week tour, I got the chance to talk to Harrison Seanor from the alternative rock band, Subtleties. With the band’s emotional and relatable lyrics placed all throughout their music, Harrison was more than happy to talk on the subject of mental health. Subtleties, reigning from upstate New York, has found a sort of therapeutic balance in their music, relating to listeners all over the country. Harrison himself has found such an inner connection within the music, and is opening up on the meaning behind both his open music and others.
What are some musical inspirations for you?
I like just about everything, all kinds of different music. Lots of the early to mid 2000s emo rock stuff; I like My Chemical Romance and 30 Seconds to Mars. There’s Panic at the Disco, and lots of heavy stuff. Like I said, I’m into everything.
And overall, what’s a song that’s just meant a lot to you?
Oh God. Honestly, the one song that got me started with the band I’m in now and the direction we’re going was “The Kill” by 30 Seconds to Mars. I had known that song for years, but I had no idea who it was or anything about it. When I listened to it after my last band broke up, it really changed the whole direction of the type of music we wanted to play. So, I would say that song had a big influence on what I am doing now.
Awesome! Now to go towards mental health, both in music and not in music, what are some mental health stigmas that you see?
I know the one that gets talked about a lot is the “boys don’t cry” one, but that’s very true. I see that all the time with band members, especially when they’re out on the road and they’re doing their thing. They’re doing them, and they don’t like to show any negative emotion. I mean we dealt with that literally today. Everybody goes through it when you’re out for this long. That’s a really big one that I see, very common.
Especially just out on the road, the tour just takes a toll on you?
It takes a toll, both a mental and a physical toll. So when you let it boil up and you know, fester inside of you, it just gets really rough at times.
For sure. Even this being my first tour I’m like, “dang, I’m sad all of a sudden.”
Yeah! And it literally comes on in the blink of an eye. Literally we went to get burgers the other day and we were walking back, and I turned around and everybody was behind me. Like I got tunnel vision and I didn’t even realize. Then that whole thing started spiraling. Like it does, it just happens in the snap of a finger.
And within your music, what’s probably one of your favorite lyrics in your music?
Ah shit. So one of my favorite, favorite ones is off of a song called Mulligan, it’s going to be on our new record, “end plug.” It’s the end of the second verse where it goes “the twisting in my guts that I can’t take.” If there’s any line in a song, that one describes exactly what we just talked about. It’s like the
onset of, I don’t know, that’s what happens. So that one, every time I sing that live, no joke, it really hits me. So that’s a good one.
Then how would you say that the music helps you through your struggles personally? I know, kind of a loaded question.
In general, it helps you forget about the things you deal with in life for a while. It takes your thought process away from everything that could be bothering you. I mean lyrically, it’s amazing to me. I’ve just started listening to a few bands on this tour, and when you’re on tour and you listen to music like that you analyze it further. At least I know I have and other members of my band have. We start analyzing lyrics content further and further. It’s unbelievable how many other people go through the same kind of struggles during the same exact moments in their lives. The Wonder Years are a perfect example. Like “There, There” is a fantastic song and it speaks exactly, I don’t know. When you’re in that kind of mindset it can speak exactly what you’re feeling. It’s crazy to see that there are other people going through the exact same situations. So for me, the music is just something everyone feels.
Yeah, it’s just universal.
Yeah! Universal, that’s a great way to put it. It’s universal.
And with your music specifically, what do you want Subtleties music to say to people?
A lot of Subtleties material is based on really real things that I have witnesses. I know with our new record, every song deals with something I have literally seen or an issue we’ve had. So honestly, if any of our music can do what other music has done for me and just help me get through things. If we can help other people do that. It’s very cliché, but that’s literally the truth.
This one is probably the most loaded question, but how does your personal experience with mental health shape music that you’re either writing or even listening to?
Alright, so, some of the best music I come up with is when I’m in the lowest and hardest moments of my life I guess. So with our music, for me it is very therapeutic. Even just in general. Just to sit down with a guitar and be able to write and put those thought into something that I care about and I’m fully invested in, and to turn it into something positive. That’s just the best way I can put it I guess. With mental health, it just really helps to be able to focus that energy into something positive.
Harrison ended the interview by mentioning just how good it felt to speak on this topic. Just putting his thoughts into the words of this interview, the same way he does in his music, helped clear everything up a bit. The most interesting part of this interview was the correlation to how tour affects a person. When thinking you get to go out and travel with your best friends playing music, how that traveling takes a toll on one’s mental health is not typically at the forefront of planning. It is so important to think both of the listener and the artists when it comes to both music and touring, as one doesn’t seem to be so widely recognized.
The only proper way to end this is with a lyric many have taken to heart from the latest single released by Subtleties. “Gold Standard” has reached many across the board, creating a chorus of listeners screaming along to their favorite parts. So, as they say, “tonight’s just not my night.”
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