Where Do You Turn When the Music Industry Skews Your Mental Health?

This article originally appeared on Noisey Netherlands.

Working in the music industry is crazy. You get to watch bands, drink beer for free, go to festivals and parties, sleep in fancy hotels, and spend a lot of time backstage. And you get paid for all of it. But having worked as a press promoter for years, I started getting burnt out at the beginning of the year. I quickly discovered that there’s little dialogue about mental health in the industry.

Every profession features people who complain of becoming burnt out. According to the Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics, one out of seven employees is involved in a formal complaint about their workload. Compared to other industries, the music industry is unique in some aspects—the line between your personal life and your work is scarcely there, for a start. Your office is often located on festival grounds, inside a music venue, or on a tour bus, which also means the bar is never far away. It makes your work fun, interesting, and dynamic, but it can also lead to an excess of incentives.

I collapsed this year. Literally. It was a combination of causes and reasons that led me to this point: The heavy workload, the urge to prove myself, and—on top of all that—a particularly nasty experience with gossiping, power games, and adult bullying within the industry. In hindsight, it was no surprise: There were earlier moments where I’d thought I couldn’t handle it anymore, but when I actually collapsed, it was extremely frustrating.

One night, I woke up crying so hard that my shoulders were shaking. It felt like I was under a tremendous rock and I couldn’t escape. I was afraid that I’d have a heart attack, so I called my mother and my general practitioner. The diagnosis was swift—I was burnt out. After being absent from theoffice for a week, I decided to stop all my projects due to health issues. It was the hardest thing I’d ever had to do. After studying music management, cultivating twelve years of…

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