It’s the Small Changes

I am Robert F. Jackson and from a young age I realized music was an incredibly effective outlet for my emotions. When I listen to music from bands like The Smashing Pumpkins, Kanye West, Chon, Remo Drive or even Miles Davis, I hear my feelings and struggles echoed. As such I’ve been playing my heart out on my guitar since I could walk and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

An internal struggle I’ve been dealing with since middle school is suicidal ideation. I have to organize my behavior to avoid suicidal thought patterns. Just when I’m out and about, my first thought on any given day is how to structure my day to avoid this. These thoughts happened to me before I even knew what they were. You’re not supposed to feel these thoughts. It worked its way into my thought patterns at a young age and it tied into my feelings of inadequacy and insecurity. 

I will boil my healing journey down to 3 most important things. The first, seeking some sort of professional care. Someone who can lead you and show you where these ideas are coming from and how you can work through these emotions. The second is being with Delfino because we’ve all been so kind and considerate of each other’s mental health journey. We all struggle with our own mental health journeys and have been each other’s support system. The third is adopting a mindset of focusing on the thing that speaks the most to you, and getting yourself to accomplish that tiny little change. You’ll start to see that things can change; you have the power to do just a little bit to make this dark shade of gray a little lighter. This brings small hopes to my life. 

Man with Glasses Playing Guitar

In terms of seeking therapy, my hope is to destigmatize the impression therapy leaves on most people starting by normalizing it at a young age. I had a special education plan when I was younger; I had to see a therapist every week and get called out of class. People would ask me where I would go and it just drew a lot of attention. Additionally, the heart of where most of my music comes from is my struggle with mental health from a male’s perspective. It is to encourage and show the genuine expression of feelings in men. 

“Just because you’re a male doesn’t mean you have to fill these crazy expectations that are unrealistic to have on anybody. We’re not these fictional characters; they don’t have to respond to these real life issues that we do. Feeling and experiencing these emotions is the best way to get to the point where we can be like those characters who have a positive impact on the world. To be the hero we want to be.”

I try to do my part in offering support for people who are considering therapy. I share with my grandpa that I go to therapy, making sure to tell people who think differently than I do. It’s more a conversation of health. I wouldn’t leave a broken ankle untreated. It will cause unnecessary pain and it might heal wrong. You should prioritize your mental health with that much urgency too by seeking help from someone that can help you heal correctly. 

I’ve also been able to find a lot of healing through music. There was this one album that got me through my Sophomore year of high school, and I thought that if I can write just one album that will bring me this much calm and inner peace and understanding of somebody, then my life would have been completely worth all the effort that I put in. The album completely changed the way I saw everything; it made me feel understood. It was so well written that it almost provided a route where I can find a resolution to what I was feeling. 

The last piece of advice I would give someone is to not be scared to say what you’re actually feeling or thinking. The more you vocalize, the easier it will be for you to unpack these emotions. Taking it step by step will help you reveal a bit more about yourself each day. 

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