A number of musicians have been coming forward about their struggles with mental illness and how the music industry can do more to help, and it’s not just in the worlds of rock n roll or heavy metal that mental disorders tend to flourish. In fact, mental problems and addiction have haunted the DJ world as well, and now DJ Manic Focus has just spoken to Forbes about his struggle with bipolar disorder.
Manic Focus, aka John McCarten, learned his was bipolar back in 2007, and he’s taking mood stabilizers for his condition, but he admits that good mental health can still be a struggle. “Manic episodes are very challenging to get under control,” he says. “And in my experience, intense moments of mania are often followed by a debilitating depression. I’m fortunate enough to have amazing family and friends to help me through those tough times. My music and the community surrounding it has been an outlet of expression, love, and support as well.”
McCarten also confesses that he’s had bouts of depression and anxiety in the live arena, where he can’t deal with things in private. “Onstage depression, for me, often turns into horrible anxiety,” he says. “I pray that my fans recognize what I’m going through while I try to bring them joy with my music, and I think for the most part they do. I try to lead by example that no matter how intense things get, it is possible to power through moments of challenging mental tribulations. When this does happen, I usually feel better once I’m off stage.”
For people that are suffering from mental illness, McCarten stressed the importance of getting the right pharmaceuticals to keep your moods stable, and to be open with your doctor about your mental health needs. In fighting mental illness, McCarten also has other tools in his arsenal, including staying sober, the right diet, and making sure he gets enough sleep and exercise.
“You’re not alone,” McCarten says. “It may not feel like it at the time, but you are truly loved, and this world is genuinely beautiful. Remember that depression is only a moment in time, and nothing lasts forever. Stay active, and don’t be afraid to recognize to let your people know if you need a little solitude to find your peace, or to reach out to loved ones if you need their support.”
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