Serotonin is defined as “a neurotransmitter, derived from (the amino-acid) tryptophan, that is involved in sleep, depression, memory, and other neurological processes” by dictionary.com. Serotonin is involved in the production of what we know as emotions. Scientists are not exactly sure how, but it does play an important role. S.S.R.I., for example, is an acronym for Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. SSRI’s are an antidepressant prescription drug (among many varieties) that are available to people that suffer from depression or anxiety; a common medication for people that live with these crippling diseases. There are also SNRI’s, NDRI’s, MAOI’s, Tricyclic Antidepressants, and many other’s that are un-categorizable. All of them having to do with brain chemistry.
Serotonin plays a major role in your mood and SSRI’s have been proven to be a successful mood stabilizer if you suffer from anxiety or depression. It is not fully understood how these drugs work in the brain and how it affects the chemistry in your brain, but an easy way to understand it is to imagine there is a chemical imbalance (or deficiency) in the brain and the SSRI’s help one’s lack of Serotonin stay attached to the receptors for longer. The idea that brain chemistry can be “imbalanced” is constantly being debunked in the medical world, but at any rate, that’s how I think of it.
I would never wish anxiety or depression upon anyone. It can be a crippling and horrible disease. And like many medical conditions, depression and anxiety can be assessed through a spectrum. Some people can be affected to the point where they have a condition called agoraphobia, where they are afraid to leave their homes out of fear of the outside world. Other’s might simply have a minor case of social anxiety.
While it can be a burden, I try to be a source of vitality for my friends and family with mental health conditions. That is why this project serves as a voice. It portrays the indescribable feelings one has during a panic attack or a depressive episode. The pieces on this program can seem rather chaotic or overwhelming, just like these mental conditions can often be.
In addition, people in today’s world are being hypnotized by their electronics. I think that, unknowingly, people turn to their smartphones in awkward situations, or hide behind them in order to avoid talking to people. We are all guilty of this. It is in my interest to bring attention to this behavior and to make a connection from this to anxiety and depression. I know many people that would prefer to stay at home and sit behind their computers rather than go to a party or meet new people at an event. I do not have a solution, nor do I want to say that this is a good or bad thing, but the fact is that electronics are becoming a huge part of our daily lives. Our consciousness is often focused on cyberspace even when we are not logged into our computers. Whether you like it or not, there is something disturbing about that.
The program of this tour serves to shed a different light on these mental conditions. As an artist, this is a cause for me to recreate these emotions through a different medium, music; becoming vulnerable in front of an audience that wants to put their electronics down for an hour and open their ears. I want to remove the embarrassment behind mental illness and allow people to interact with each other again, realizing that we have more similarities than differences once we get outside of our digital bubbles.