There to help through dark times
Roddy Neilson
Violinist
17th June 2016
There to help through dark times

I first heard about Help Musicians UK through the website 'Turn2Us'. At the time, I was having a lot of bother with depression and anxiety, to the extent that my capacity for work was much diminished. I wasn't able to raise the enthusiasm and energy necessary to maintain and promote the various musical outfits that I was part of, and I was staring at a very bleak and impoverished winter. Even while I was working I found it becoming a joyless drudge that increased my feelings of mental instability. I'd become totally divorced from any sense of musical enjoyment, something that had always been extremely important to me.

To a lot of people this'll just sound like someone having a moan about life, but it's hard to imagine the sense of alienation, uselessness, immense sadness and fatalism that mental trouble involves.

I was near overwhelmed by the response I received from Help Musicians UK: from a forlorn hope that I might be able to scrape some money together to "make the rent", they stepped in with both financial and emotional support, and the home visit I received really helped me to see that suddenly, I wasn't totally alone in this any more, and there would be an easing of the gnawing worry that poverty constantly brings. Across the winter I was able to pay rent, spend quality time with my daughters, not have to worry about eating, and most of all, with the additional help of a course in psychotherapy, was given the freedom to start working on getting a grip of the psychological problems that had begun to dog me increasingly over the years.

Perhaps the most positive aspect overall though was that I was able to go off to France for a month, alone. My friends' parents have a holiday house in a very quiet village in the remote Aveyron region of France which they were more than happy for me to make use of (it being the winter!), and it's there that I was able to spend much time thinking and reconnecting with my love of music, which had got lost along the way. This has made all the difference. 

My treatment in psychotherapy goes on still, that's a longer process, but I'll confidently state that my sense of confidence, self-esteem, hope for the future, sense of my own musicality (and ambitions toward this) and my outlook on life in general has vastly improved, thanks in a very large part to both the financial assistance and moral support of Help Musicians UK. You got me through a very dark period, and I hate to think where I'd be now without you.

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