It's been an intense few months for our family. The week before we were scheduled to return to Nashville to finish the record I realized I have been experiencing a relapse of manic depression. I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder in my twenties, took lithium for years but gradually went off the meds. For nearly a decade I was stable enough to start a band, marry an amazing man, have two kids, release several records, and tour around the world. But over the past year I've been struggling with many serious bouts of depression that I first chalked up to exhaustion from two kids and post-tour fatigue. I've also had several experiences of hypo-mania, an exciting, high-energy state, a spinning brain full of insights and deep understandings about the nature of reality and art and life, (sounds great, right?). But these episodes are always followed by a crash. Luckily I have been keeping daily journals for years so I was able to look back at the number of depressed days, and also note the highs and realize I was cycling again.
This spring I returned to the psychiatrist to seek treatment, went back on a low dose of lithium and am committed to a strict sleep schedule-- not the easiest thing to do on the road with kids! Thankfully I've already felt some relief. I'm grateful that this is a slower year of touring for us since we're busy making lots of new music and doing these smaller experimental tours like the duo house shows and the Concert in the Blind Experience, so it feels like as good a time as any to slow down a bit and give my brain a chance to heal. I have the most beautiful life I could possibly imagine, so taking steps to heal myself feels like the utmost priority.
I feel like I wanted to share my story to be another voice encouraging an open conversation about mental health. It is hard to talk about, but not talking about it is far worse.