A MCR fan’s story of mental health and owning what you love

I’m a My Chemical Romance fan.

There’s a time in my life where that came with a disclaimer. “Well, not as much as I used to…” or “Not like that.” I still don’t know what “like that” really means, but I know that for a few years in my life I had to distance myself from the bands that were pivotal in my teens because certain perceptions were increasingly difficult to separate from liking certain music.

Years ago, donning my shredded Revenge hoody and black hair with horrible (truly horrible) blonde roots, I clung to My Chemical Romance unlike anything I ever had before, and to be honest, probably ever since. What came with that were nicknames at school I never shook off (My Chem Heather for life), and plenty of jokes about whether you cut yourself, shipped this that or the other, or whether you were depressed.

So there was interesting crossroads when it turned out that I actually was depressed. It wasn’t in the throes of being 14, where I was generally just grumpy and refused to believe my family who said I would outgrow the biggest Green Day poster in existence, but around the transition of going to University and life being life. I was miserable, I couldn’t cope. I couldn’t leave the house. I couldn’t eat around others. I couldn’t travel on trains. Or buses. I couldn’t really do anything.

And so I didn’t.

I clung to cooking shows despite disliking cooking, I’d watch the same monotonous things on repeat and watch QI as if I was just really smart and knew literally all the answers, not that I’d watched it several times before.

But I couldn’t cling to music. I was writing about it and going to shows like before, but I put a distance between the bands that made me as a teen, and the ones that shadowed any talk for help with these jokes about being “very on brand” as a fan.

It took until coming out the other side earlier in 2016 and being able to own depression and anxiety that I fell wholeheartedly back in with My Chemical Romance. They’d always been there, they’d always been my definitive band that I spoke about, but for a while, I just wouldn’t listen to them. At all. I generally got tired of dealing with the crossover, having had those conversations too many times, so I simply didn’t.

Bit by bit the band have crept back into my life alongside others who have remained on the shelves for a few years, and on top of the progress in general in regards to mental health, it’s felt like a breath of fresh air.

There are many things that factor on my depression and anxiety, and I know categorically that not listening to some bands doesn’t cause anything bad. So it’s not to say, hey, bands will fix the world. But I didn’t realise how much owning what you love can cause something good. When days blur into nothingness, the joy that one of those albums can bring is beyond description. A lovely blip in the status quo. So don’t ever let something like someone’s perception of the situation take them away.

For a while I thought the bands I loved hindered being able to talk about my mental health, but I’ve come to learn that it was the perception of others that made me put a divide between things. It was how others shifted the conversation. The jokes that kind of said, “Well, you’re not really, are you?”

You need as many friends as you can when things are horrible and, frankly, blah.  These last few years have been a crash course on quite how important those pals who rest on your iPod can be. Don’t chuck ‘em. You know why they’re important to you, don’t let it be skewed.

Things are manageable. Things are okay. But more importantly, things are fun again.

So, y’know, I’m a My Chemical Romance fan. And it’s bloody great.

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