Emily Lee discusses how therapy sessions helped her music career
Emily Lee
Musician
18th May 2018
Emily Lee discusses how therapy sessions helped her music career

A beautiful and heartfelt blog from Emily Lee, a musician we have supported with a grant to pay for therapy sessions so that she could focus her finances on completing her EP.

 “Help Musicians UK have paid for my sessions, which is something I would’ve struggled with greatly on my own. It’s so strange to know that Help Musicians UK have been kinder, more accommodating and more encouraging than members of my own family. I am truly blessed that they wanted to help me. Their work is vital for musicians who struggle to maintain their art, their health and their integrity in a gritty, and at times callous industry. The organisation has helped me understand why I do what I do….May your kindness remain and may others feel the freedom to reach out for help. We are listening, we are here and we want you to feel better.”

I’ve kept this to myself for a long time but I feel today was a good day to share this. I’m sat in Udderlicious where nearby is the place where I do therapy. 

I started therapy back in 2013 because I couldn’t get myself to do anything without questioning myself, doubting myself or drinking to make myself forget anything bad that had happened and what was happening to me. I did therapy on the NHS when they’d previously suggested medication. I know many people who do either or both and I felt therapy would be better. I just wanted to talk to somebody.

It was extremely painful and gut-wrenching but I turned up every Monday at twelve in the afternoon for a year.

Nearly two years later I relapsed and couldn’t bring myself to write, perform or even turn up to my job regularly. I was a wreck. This time the system was taking too long and I decided to go private. Busking helped that enormously but then busking started to make me so depressed for many reasons.

Last year I called Help Musicians UK to ask them if I was eligible for a grant to finish my second EP and when they asked what I spent my money on I explained about my therapy and how it really was helping me stabilise myself so that I could DO music. They offered to pay for ten sessions and I was able to save money for my EP. Today I got granted 15 more sessions from Help Musicians UK until my therapist leaves to have a baby. We’ve not had a session in two weeks and despite the awful scare with my health recently I’ve realised I’d come a long way since 2013. I could handle the fear of the unknown way better. I will never be perfect. No one is but it’s amazing to know that you can build on that healthy version of yourself that’s ALWAYS in you. It’s amazing to have a charity like Help Musicians UK who help musicians like me progress to a greater stage in their life personally so that you thrive professionally. I can’t thank them enough. There are systems in place to help you and it took me a VERY long time to ask. Thank you Laurent John from HMUK for bugging me until I filled out the forms. Thank you to Udderlicious for helping me smile when I’ve arrived in tears after a session. Here’s to honesty and authenticity.

 

This is a post I wrote back in April this year 2018. What a journey it’s been. What an incredibly hard one too but it’s true what they say; nothing worth having is easy.

I grew up in challenging circumstances. My dad left my mother when I was five and my mother starting doing drugs when I was six. I can’t say my mother was a terrible person because she herself had an awful upbringing, as did my dad.

I think what makes me more determined to do well in my field in music is the fact that everything I do is down to choice. I have limitless choice. I can choose to stay in bed, go to work, cancel work, be miserable, be content with the tiny things in my life. It’s a relentless maze of opportunities and obstacles. It’s down to which one I want to choose that day.

I’ve chosen badly in the past but what’s good about choosing these bad paths, is knowing what the right one is afterwards. I mean, how do we know what’s right unless we go wrong?

Not everyone learns from that. You have to be willing to listen to yourself and face your flaws, which will make you feel shameful, frightened and vulnerable. This is the area we avoid.

But it’s like jumping into the sea when it’s cold; the temperature isn’t ideal and we may not like it but we’re still pulled towards jumping in because we know on some level if we do it, we’re going to enjoy it and how many of us climb out of the sea afterwards, blue with cold, running for our towels but feel exhilarated that we did it? We bloody did it.

EVERYONE IS!

Help Musicians UK have paid for my sessions, which is something I would’ve struggled with greatly on my own.

Every time I’ve gone to a session it’s been like jumping into open water. At my last session my therapist said, “You help yourself in therapy by being completely honest with yourself”, which is completely right, makes so much sense and yet, is so scary. However my therapist has enabled me to let my walls down, see my flaws and my strengths and develop tools to practise them so that every day, I can make my life a little richer, a little kinder, and a little more at peace.

I will always be eternally grateful to the charity who have been so compassionate in their aim to help others. It’s so strange to know that Help Musicians UK have been kinder, more accommodating and more encouraging than members of my own family. I am truly blessed that they wanted to help me.

Their work is vital for musicians who struggle to maintain their art, their health and their integrity in a gritty, and at times callous industry. The organisation has helped me understand why I do what I do. I know I’m a great songwriter. I know I’m a great performer and I know I make an impact wherever I perform, whether it’s good or bad. I still make a difference. I make a difference to people. But more importantly, I make a difference to myself. I feel like I own myself when I’m doing music. That’s a power that no one can take away from me. I’ve earned the right to be happy with Emily Lee the artist and I’ve earned the right to be happy with myself. With their help I’ve learned that I’m brave and I’m worth saving, which is something I’ve never ever felt about myself before. That knowledge is why I’m able to write this today.

Help Musicians UK have helped my confidence in believing that. Had Laurent not followed up with an email asking where my form was I would not have done it. I would have disbelieved. I would have hidden away. I may not be here today.

Thank you Sinead, Susie, Kirsty and of course Laurent for believing in me. May your kindness remain and may others feel the freedom to reach out for help. We are listening, we are here and we want you to feel better. The dark days do not disappear. They will come back but like everything it is only temporary and the sunshine will always, always, come back.

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