Every creator is put in a position of vulnerability. Whether they’re singing about their own experiences or making something new, they’re opening themselves up to criticism but also providing a space for connection.
We recently spoke with Will Hyde about his mental health journey. From when he first realized he had anxiety to his current coping strategies, Will talks about why it’s important to make the most of the life we were given and to practice focusing on the things that help us grow.
Learn more about Will’s experience with mental health in the interview below:
The Orchard: When did you first become aware of the importance of mental health and wellness?
Will Hyde: I was at a festival and I was in a group at the time. We were playing a show and meeting fans of our music. I got so anxious and I felt so scared and that I didn’t deserve a lot of the stuff that was happening. I had so much happening but I couldn’t feel grateful for it, and that really weighed heavy on me. I remembered I cried myself to sleep that night.
That was my first realization. I searched on Google “What is anxiety” cause I had an inkling it might be that. That completely changed my world.
I do a lot of work outside of the studio so that when I’m there I can be productive.
What role does music and expression play in your mental health journey?
For me it’s separate but at the same time so linked. I’d say before I write a song or do anything in the studio I make sure that I’m at peace with whatever I’m writing. I don’t really use music as a way to vent so in that sense it’s separate. But at the same, I make sure to take time to take care of myself and be kind to myself so when I’m in the studio I’m hyping myself up instead of bringing myself down. In that sense it’s very much related because I do a lot of work outside of the studio so that when I’m there I can be productive.
What are some common misconceptions you’ve experienced in discussions about mental health?
At the start of this three year journey, I was surrounded by people who didn’t really think the same way as me. When I think back to those types of people I think a common problem I ran into was with people thinking men shouldn’t speak about how they feel, which is obviously silly. You know we’re all human. I would also say there is a barrier of expectations to keep things to yourself and not burden someone else with your feelings. That perspective probably comes from their own insecurities. At the start, people would try to make me feel like less of a man because I was speaking about it. That was tough.
How has the pandemic/lockdown affected you and your mental state?
I think that I was already used to creating my own space and my own world and I was already working a lot from home. So it really didn’t change too much, but during that time I had a lot of health issues and that, mixed with being inside all that time, felt like nothing was changing and everything was a blur. So I think that whilst it was really hard, in the past year and a half I’ve really grown so much as a person. Some of the issues I faced in the lockdown like with my health stuff, I had a really tough time making peace with, but the takeaway is that life is constantly about flexing and adapting to situations. There are so many lessons in that and I choose not to be ungrateful because that wouldn’t help me. I choose to be grateful, and am getting better at accepting what is.
I don’t think there will ever be a ‘normal’ again because the only constant in life is change.
Are you looking forward to ‘returning to normal’?
I don’t think there will ever be a ‘normal’ again because the only constant in life is change. Everything is always changing with or without the pandemic. For me I’m just going to get ready to accept things day by day and not look too far in the future. I think I’m ready to allow for plans and travel to just play out how it’s going to play out.
What does the term “normal” mean to you?
I think ‘normal’ does not exist. Every day is a different path and a different journey. The crazy thing is we’ll never experience the same time again. We’ll never be in this moment again. I don’t think normal exists but to me “stability” is the word I would use. To me stability means having a routine and a structure so when the craziness is happening, I can guarantee that I’m going to get time to sit with myself.
What are some tactics you use to maintain mental wellness?
I do quite a bit. I practice meditation – I love that. I do this thing called Reiki, spiritual healing, it’s a big game changer for me. I also do a lot of visualization. I picture that things are going well for me and how that feels. By doing that I get into the headspace and feel in my body like it’s already happened. So, in a sense, I don’t even need it to happen because I just felt it. For example I’ll picture I’m playing in a stadium and what that feels like.
I do stuff like that to be in the mindset that “this is my time, I have this time on earth and I’m just going to use it.” I also go to the gym and exercise which I find so important as well as journaling which really helps.
Bringing on friends feels a lot more fulfilling because life is about way more than us individually. It’s about us together.
Whether it be through honesty or activism or anything in between, how do you prefer to spread awareness and advocate?
I think the way I’ve been using my voice is constantly changing. As I’m finding my feet as a human and as an artist it changes. At the start, I spread awareness through music and lyrics through my song ”Dark Until September” (which you should stream if you have the time). It’s really about me being lost and trying to find myself. It’s awesome to see that that has helped some people. The lyrics are pretty brutally honest.
Now, I have an Instagram Live series where I bring friends and other artists on to remind people that we are all human and just want to be loved and accepted. Bringing on friends feels a lot more fulfilling because life is about way more than us individually. It’s about us together.
What advice would you give to friends, family or fans who might be struggling or don’t know where to start?
I would say first of all, I love you, I appreciate you and I know how tough that could be. I would say talk to someone: a professional, to your family, or write down on a piece of paper how you’re feeling. A piece of paper doesn’t judge. That’s an easy way to sort of get into it.
Part of my journey, going to family and getting help, that was incredible because it was so hard at the start. Everything afterwards was so much easier because I had gotten past the scary part of telling someone how I really feel and what I was struggling with.
I’d say that, and always feel free to DM me. My Instagram is @iamwillhyde. If you want to talk about it and get an outsider’s perspective, I’m always here for you and wish you the best on your journey.
Are there any resources you would recommend?
Yes, so just today I did a Wim Hof guided breathing session, amazing. I would recommend going to YouTube and doing 10 minute meditation sessions every day. Just give it a go, try two weeks, even just a few minutes.
I would say really thinking about your life and having honest conversations. We only have so much time on this earth. Consider, “Am I using this to better myself? “ ”Are the people around me the right people who are going to help me accomplish everything in my dreams?” That’s where you need to be at because the world is yours if you have the right mindset and are willing to take it on. Do an “audit” of everything in your life and things that aren’t working, just take some time to reflect.