“The teenage years are a tough time for a lot of people. For me they were difficult because of the issues I had with social anxiety. I didn’t have many friends, so music was the only thing I had to get me through. Well, music and self-harm. I turned to cutting and burning myself as a way to escape my extreme feelings of worry, fear and loneliness. And while it did help alleviate the monsters in my head, it became an addiction. Just like someone abusing drugs or alcohol, I was dependent on it, I had to hide it from everyone and I felt ashamed of it.
Even thought it didn’t stop my self-harm, music was a more positive way to deal with my emotional pain. During that time, and to this day, Shinedown’s music stood out to me because they had a song I could relate to for anything I was going through. As you can imagine, my anxiety kept me from doing a lot of things, especially with big crowds. But my love for their music eventually allowed me to overcome it and go see them live. That was the beginning of my healing process.
That process was reinforced when I met the band at a meet and greet. I asked Brent to write these words, so I could have them tattooed on my arm and have it in his handwriting, so whenever I feel hopeless or like I want to give up, I have something to remind me to keep trying. I couldn’t really read his reaction, he didn’t say much, so I didn’t know what he was thinking. But, when they came out on stage to start the show he waved and smiled at me. Then, when he went into the crowd during the song “Enemies” he patted me on the back and gave me another smile. Later in the concert he threw a towel in my direction but someone else got it, he went to the back of the stage, got another one, knelt down and handed it to me. And at the end of the show he blew me a kiss. So I felt like he went out of his way to show his support, and that meant everything to me.”
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