In Response to Dom McLennon’s Open Letter About Self-Harm & Depression

By | Posted October 5, 2017
At the very least, this letter means the world to me.
2017-10-05-an-open-letter-to-dom-mclennon
Photo Credit: Instagram

Hi Dom,

I’m not the fan you spoke with after your show in Eugene, Oregon. Well, not exactly.

I’m the fan who listens to Brockhampton when she can’t sleep or can’t get out of bed. I’m the fan who has also struggled with self-harm and still struggles with anxiety and depression.

At the very least, I’m one of the many fans who read your letter and was moved to tears.

On behalf of myself and anyone else who comes across your words during a moment of darkness, thank you. Thank you for being so open in your music and taking that vulnerability one step further to speak to your fans directly, using your platform to bring attention to mental illness and self-harm. Thank you for understanding that stigma is a killer all its own, and for fighting against it.

I exist in an environment where discussions surrounding mental health are unheard of and mental illness is more of a choice than an affliction. Depression, by nature, is an isolating disease. Nothing amplifies that loneliness more than constantly encountering people who do not believe you when you try to explain how much you’re hurting.

I may never be able to put into words what it means, personally, to see artists I admire open up about their struggles and validate my own. Thank you for listening without having being asked to listen, for inviting your fans to be heard.

I’ll spare you the details, as well, but the craving to feel anything by any means necessary is not an unfamiliar one. I’ve gone to extremes to try to make my body look as disgusting as I’ve felt inside it. I have been ashamed of myself and incapable of stopping all at once. I’ve turned wires and walls into instruments, and most recently, I tried painting my nails, too.

Most of all, I want to thank you for admitting that recovery is a process—not a skill. No two days are alike when you’re recovering from self-harm and living with mental illness. It’s so easy to forget that once you leave the hospital or get out of a therapy session, you’re not simply cured.

Recovery is about learning to live—really live—in a way you’ve been denying yourself.

Thank you for acknowledging the space between better-than-ever and lower-than-low, and for reminding us all that we can inhabit the two without feeling like failures. Thank you for reminding us that getting worse does not mean never getting better, for casting the hardest aspects of recovery in a hopeful light.

You ended your letter by giving your fans a space to speak freely about whatever comes to mind, whatever they need to get off their minds. I hope you know that your music has also served as a space for fans to both express and find themselves. Reading the words “You are not alone” leaves me with an unnamable sense of warmth and security.

In that same breath, this thank you is for all artists—no matter the size of their fanbase—who have used their music and their platforms to talk about mental health and self-harm candidly. Every artist who adds their voice to the conversation, every artist who positions themselves alongside their fans in solidarity, means the world to at least one fan in one moment.

At the very least, this letter means the world to me.

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