Take Two DMB’s and Call Me in the Morning
Anytime I am feeling down, I tend to default to listening to Dave Matthews Band. Yes, I know there is a weed smoking bro-like mentality associated to them, and many of their lyrics seem to have been written by five year olds (“I was there when the bear ate his head, thought it was a candy”) but I can’t help but feel optimistic about our chaotic world when I tune in. There is a blanket full of audio comfort in a jam band's positive vibes.
I bring this up because it has been a tough week publicly for depression and suicide. In the magic world, Leeman Parker, a great guy and talented performer/magician, took his life last tuesday. He was part of an amazing duo called David and Leeman. They had done everything from America’s Got Talent to the Late Late Show.
He was close to many good friends of mine, and although I didn’t know him well, in our few interactions he was very kind, funny and complimentary. I was a big fan of what he brought to the art form. His loss has dug a deep hole in the magic community.
And Friday we lost one of my personal heroes, Anthony Bourdain. Here is a guy who escaped a nasty heroin addiction in his 20’s, became a world renown chef, best selling author, and world travel advocate. He once said,
”If I'm an advocate for anything, it's to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. Walk in someone else's shoes or at least eat their food."
I’ll miss him. His loss is on par with losing Robin Williams. I looked up to them as the cool uncle’s who changed the status quo and could make anything seem cool. It’s odd mourning for someone you have never met, almost like being sad for the loss of a Greek God. These people were super humans in many ways, and it’s shocking how their mind was ultimately their greatest enemy.
Hearing how depression and anxiety takes over the mind is devastating. I’ve had to spend a lot of time on myself in order to control my anxiety, but I’m sure even my worst days were nothing compared to what these guys where going through.
The most frustrating part of mental illness is that it’s often invisible. Just because someone is smiling and appears to be good on the outside, doesn't mean they truly are. And even worse, if your life is pretty great and you suffer, that often makes it harder because you feel an overwhelming sense of guilt for being sad in the first place.
I used Dave Matthews Band to cope with sadness and loneliness in high school, and I often return to it on weeks like this. Having something to give you a positive escape like music or live performance does wonders for the brain. It allows me to think of the positive contributions these figures made in my life, as opposed to being sorrowful for leaving us too soon.
My heart goes out to the 800,000 plus people who take their life each year. I suppose the best advice I have been given is to pay attention to warning signs in loved ones, even subtle ones. Especially if someone jokes about wanting to kill them self.
And most importantly, remain kind when possible, especially online. You never know what someone is going through. Even if they are being unpleasant toward you, try not to take it personally. Kindness is magic.
I will miss these two personalities very much.
“Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we’ll die.” -DMB Tripping Billies