Words of advice to those struggling with depression

Rick Springfield’s Twitter response to the tragic news about Anthony Bourdain’s death was so meaningful, as RS both shows compassion for Bourdain’s family and loved ones, but also demonstrates that he understands what Bourdain went through, as it’s something that he’s dealt with for most of his life. (Was it wrong that the “award-winning depressionist” part cracked me up among all the sadness?)

Although Rick Springfield’s most recent CD “The Snake King” was such a shift from his previous music, it’s pretty amazing that somehow it seems to fit the mood of the world lately. As if his musical spirit was saturated by all the things going in on in the world and it came out through him in those songs. He’s already said that was the case for him personally, but lately it feels as if that tone fits the world in general.

That being said, perhaps some people who may be suffering from depression could benefit from some of the wisdom RS has shared about his depression:

People magazine: “‘Suicide Manifesto’ is stuff I think about. I’ve been close to it,” he said about his forthcoming song from his new album, The Snake King. “When Robin Williams and Chester [Bennington and Chris Cornell] and those guys … I didn’t go, ‘Oh that’s terrible.’ I went, ‘I get it.’ I get being that lost and dark.”

Adding, “You’re in so much pain that you just want it to end. I have been there and I know what it’s like and I understand. It’s just part of your makeup.”

“I’ve taken Prozac and all that kind of stuff and I meditate. Meditation is the only thing that takes me out of it. If I truly meditate and focus and get to that place, I’m not depressed. No matter what’s going on. But it’s pretty hard,” he shared.

“I’m alive and well. Anyone says, ‘How you doing?’ I never go, ‘Great.’ Because it’s bulls—. I go, ‘I’m okay — I’m there.’ Sometimes I’ll go, ‘F—ing horrible, I’ve had a terrible day.’” Springfield said of talking to other people about his emotions.

“We’ve all had the social front and it just makes me feel like such a liar when I go home and I look in the mirror and I go, ‘Really, you said that to somebody? That everything’s great and you’re feeling awesome? That’s bulls—,’ ” he continued.

Adding, “I’m at the point now in my life where I want to do what’s truthful.”

Extra: As for what goes on in his head when he is hit with depression and suicidal thoughts, Rick shared, “You’re not trying to hurt anyone else. You’re not trying to hurt your family. You’re just trying to get away from the thing that you can’t get away from.”

“You know, you’re always kind of on the edge of the cliff with depression, and you gotta deal with it the way you do,” Springfield continued. “I’m doing my best to pursue the life that I want even though the hand drags me down every now and then.”

Look to the Stars: An accomplished actor, writer and Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter, Rick Springfield received the Beatrice Stern Media Award for his work as a mental health advocate who has openly talked about his depression and suicide attempt as teen. “I grew up thinking I’ve just got to become famous, successful, wealthy, have a house with a wife and kids and it (my depression) will all go away. In 1985, I had all those things and I wanted to kill myself. I realized the lie of fame right there—that it wasn’t going to heal me.”

Springfield’s award was presented by his longtime friend, Emmy-winning actor Doug Davidson who shared with the audience that he too, struggles with depression. “We all know 16 is a difficult time for anyone, and it was for Rick, too. He didn’t like the way he looked. He thought his ankles were too thin. He hated his nose. This is teenage angst. But by talking about it, he became a role model for teens everywhere. When you find out a rock superstar went through the same kind of angst and depression you’re going through, it helps you realize you can get through it, too.”

People magazine: Springfield —who has been married to his wife Barbara Porter, 56, for 33 years — says his family, including Liam, 32, and his younger son Josh, 28, help him remain thankful for his life.

“It’s like your heart beating. It’s something that’s there. I’m always aware of my family, absolutely, and the love that we have,” he says. “Being grateful is very important to trying to combat depression.”

Taking things day by day, Springfield hopes to one day forgive himself for his past mistakes and enjoy life a bit more with his loved ones.

“I look back on my regrets with great relish and my successes, not so much,” says the singer, who wrote about his multiple infidelities in his 2010 memoir Late, Late at Night. “In the end I’m always trying to prove my worth to myself which is what depression is all about.”

And this article on CBSnews.com from eight years ago, after the release of “Late, Late at Night”:

In the rash of recent teen suicides, Springfield, now 61, has a message for kids who feel as isolated and hopeless as he once did: Stick it out, it gets better.

“I know what it’s like,” he said Tuesday on “Good Morning America.” “You just want out. You want the pain to stop. Give yourself a year. Your life will change.” …

As for his message to teens on the edge: “Nothing remains the same,” he says. “I would have missed out on a lot of amazing stuff in my life.”

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A powerful ripple effect

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Last week, Rick Springfield received the 2018 Beatrice Stern Media Award from Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services for raising awareness about depression and mental health issues. The Erasing the Stigma Leadership Awards ceremony was held April 26 at the Beverly Hills Hilton and his best buddy (and funny guy) Doug Davidson introduced him.

RS gave a very touching acceptance speech (I keep checking YouTube to see if it’s posted there yet so I can share it, but so far I’ve only seen it on the Facebook fan pages where fans were kind to share the video).

Basically he said that he wrote about his depression in his autobiography not because of any altruistic aspirations, but because it’s such a big part of who he is. He said it was news to him that it was news to people that successful people could be depressed.

He started his talk with his dark humor: “When I was 16, if I knew that I was getting an award for being depressed, it might have made me think before I tried to hang myself.”

He spoke about his struggle with depression in 1985, after achieving great success and fame, and how he realized that those couldn’t heal what was going on inside him. As his longtime fans know, he took time off from his career to go into therapy to deal with his demons, although they never went away. He mentioned his dark episode last year where he contemplated suicide and how channeling his depression into creative pursuits helped him get through it (as well as meditation and the support of his family).

He said that so many people suffer from depression and he was there to help any kids who may be struggling with it. And he concluded by saying that if his mom was still here, he’d give the award to her.

I’m guessing there were many teary eyes in the room (and watching the video on the Facebook fan page.) His honesty, humor, humbleness and compassion really shone through. It always amazes me that somebody who has experienced so much darkness in his life has brought so much light to other’s lives.

One reason his story is so inspirational is because it proves that you never know how things will turn out. Just because one chapter of your life seems hopeless doesn’t mean things won’t improve a few pages later. When you learn about all the ups and downs of RS’s life and career, there are so many different ways things might have gone. And that’s true for all of us.

One never knows the impact their life has on others. For example, what if he decided to not return to his musical career in the late 1990s? Then there would be nine less Rick Springfield albums in the world and the impact that those songs have had on people never would have existed.

By talking about his depression, he helps others who are struggling with similar challenges. This has a huge impact on their lives and the lives of the people in their lives. It’s a giant ripple effect, and we all play a part in these powerful ripples.

Here’s an interview from last week, in advance of the award presentation.

For information about suicide prevention, visit the Didi Hirsch website.

Going through concert withdrawals

It’s been about 14 months since I was at a Rick Springfield concert and I think I’m going through some withdrawal symptoms because I had a dream about him last night.

I was at some kind of event and he was at the other end of a really long table playing a song. When he got up to leave, I got up to follow him to see if I could say hello but he was walking away really quickly. When he was playing, he was his current self, but when he was rushing out of the room, he looked like his 1980s self.

I’m not sure how to interpret that, but it did make me realize how long it’s been since I’ve had any interaction with my favorite rock star. Just two days ago it was the three-year anniversary of when I met him outside the Fox Theatre venue in Tucson after a Stripped Down show. (I wrote about that here and here.)

At the last show I was at – in July 2016 – I took a selfie with him after the show, but it happened so quickly that it almost seems like it didn’t happen at all.

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View from the end of the stage in July 2016.

However, although it’s been so long since I was at a show, he’s often on my mind. I’m at a current point in my life right now where the life experiences he’s shared are a huge source of inspiration. Maybe it’s my own version of a mid-life crisis, but I feel like I’ve reached a point where I need to make a big change, but I’m not sure yet what it is. Last year I made some big decisions in my professional life that I’m still adjusting to, and in the overall scheme of things, things are good, but there’s something eating away at me. Like there’s a choice I should have made or something I should be doing, but I’m not sure what.

Meanwhile I’m just writing and writing (not as much for this blog, but for my own blog and articles and songs) and making progress, but not sure where it’s all going. RS’s advice he’s shared in interviews to “never give up, never give up, never give up” keeps echoing in my mind.

There was recently an announcement that RS will be honored this month by Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services for his candidness in talking about depression. He will receive the 2018 Beatrice Stern Media Award on April 26 at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills. (An article was in the Morning Sun earlier this week.) Congratulations on this well-deserved honor, RS, thanks for sharing so much with your fans.

As usual, RS is keeping busy. According to his tour schedule, he’s had some time off since the 1980s cruise, except for one show in Florida right after the cruise, so hopefully he’s enjoying some down time with his family and friends. He was quoted in The Epoch Times after seeing a “Shun Yen” performance in Thousand Oaks last night ( those who were concerned with his spiritual side after listening to “The Snake King” might be interested in reading this article.) And tomorrow night he’ll be in Portland performing with the Oregon Symphony. Other April shows will be in Florida then California. (Check out his upcoming shows on rickspringfield.com.)

Since I don’t have any shows on the horizon, I recently amused myself with a page from the Rick Springfield and Us website: Concert Cliff Notes, which goes into great detail (with photos) of the different elements of a Rick Springfield concert, from rose explosions and signature moves to signs fans bring to the show and categories such as “shirtless” “memory lane” and “guitar throws.” Not quite the same as a show, but fun nonetheless.

A lifetime battle with depression

That was such a candid, heartbreaking interview today on SiriusXM’s Feedback show. It’s amazing that someone who feels such darkness inside brings so much light into the world.

When the interviewer, host Lori Majewski, expressed concern about the lyrics in a song, “Suicide Manifesto,” in his upcoming CD “The Snake King,” Rick Springfield revealed that he came close to committing suicide last year. As his fans know, he has been fighting a lifelong battle with depression, but it still comes as a shock to know that Mr. D (his reference to his depression in his autobiography) still holds him so tightly in his clutches on a regular basis.

The host, who disclosed that she is a longtime fan of Rick Springfield, sounded genuinely concerned by his admission, as I’m sure many of his fans are. He’s brought so much joy to our lives for decades that it’s heartbreaking to know that he suffers so much. As with many writers, writing serves as an outlet so now it’s clear why “The Snake King” has such a dark theme.

He also talked about how important it is for him to be truthful – not to just put up a facade and say he’s doing great, when that’s not the case. I admire his candidness. By being honest with his struggles, he is helping more people than he can even imagine. It’s also a reminder that you never really know what’s going on in a person’s mind.

Here is an interview he did in 2013 as part of The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health’s Public Information Office’s Emmy Award-winning series, “Profiles of Hope.”

In 2016, he was part of a campaign called “Deconstructing Stigma: A Change in Thought Can Change a Life,” which is a series of photographs and interviews with people from across the United States who have been affected by mental illness. It debuted in December 2016 at Boston’s Logan Airport.

In the exhibit, he says this:

“I talk about my depression and the experiences I have had because I don’t want anyone else to ever feel alone like I did. It is important for people to watch me on stage or on TV and know that I am just like them and that it’s important to be introspective and recognize when you need help.”

As he continues with his busy tour this weekend and prepares for the release of “The Snake King” in a couple of weeks (which has gotten incredible reviews, like this one from The Rockpit), I wish him (and his family) continued strength as he fights this battle.

5 reasons I ❤ Rick Springfield 

You may know by now that I’m a big fan of Rick Springfield. I think I’ve covered the reasons why in my past 200-plus posts, but I thought I would summarize it here in case anyone is discovering him for the first time after his appearance on “Supernatural” this month.

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So here are the five of the reasons why I ❤ Rick Springfield:

1. His music: I will start here because this is where it started for me. (OK, if I am totally honest, it may have started before I heard his music. I can’t remember if his posters torn from teen magazines were plastered on my wall before I had any of his record albums, but I think hearing his songs on the radio and admiring his cuteness happened at the same time.)

Anyway, really it was his music that ignited my crush in 1982 and I quickly bought all his albums and played them over and over and over again.

Even today his large catalog of music, spanning five decades and covering many different styles of music, still amazes me. I still don’t know if I’ve heard them all.  (For more on this, read “Five decades of Rick Springfield” or check out the detailed list on the fan site Rick Springfield and US.)

2. His writing: I love a catchy tune as much as the next person, but the lyrics in the song are what connects me to songs and RS writes great lyrics. Sometimes even after hearing a song multiple times, I still catch something new that I hadn’t noticed before. For instance, I recently listened to “The Man That Never Was” off the “Sound City” CD and was curious about the “Major Martin” line. I Googled it and discovered the historical reference behind it.

Then there’s his prose. His best-selling memoir “Late Late at Night” was hilarious, touching, interesting and I really enjoyed it – both reading it and listening to him read the audiobook. His best-selling “Magnificent Vibration” was quite a story, too, and I am eagerly awaiting the sequel. (For more on his books, see these posts: “My evenings with Rick Springfield” and “Magnificent Vibration from a fan’s point of view.”)

3. His passion: His passion for music, acting and his family and friends is so inspiring to me. To be able to spend your life doing something you love is a huge blessing and I admire people who are able to do that. While other longtime celebrities seek the spotlight by appearing on reality shows, RS has stayed away from that and instead continues to pursue his passion of music and acting (and guest starring on popular shows like “Californication,” “True Detective” and “Supernatural” is a great way of reaching a new audience  while still keeping your personal life private – something that’s more difficult to do on a reality show). Because his focus is on creating music, writing, touring and acting – and less on the self-promotion so prevalent in today’s social media society – he doesn’t always get the recognition he deserves, unfortunately.

Plus, passion is contagious and learning about his life and the ups and downs of his career has also been very inspiring to me. (See “Blogging to inspiration.”) Plus he has such a great sense of humor and seems really down to earth.

4. His compassion: Although I don’t know RS personally, he just seems like a really good guy. He’s so good to his fans and really seems to appreciate them. Although he has that cool rock star persona, he also has shown his sensitive side many times (in interviews) and well, I’m just a sucker for that I guess (and he is cute and funny). Plus he seems to do a lot of benefit concerts, cares a great deal about dogs and other animals, brings kids on stage and sings with them (including two of my sons, an experience I’ll always treasure)  and is very concerned about the future of the earth and it’s nice when people care about things other than themselves.

5. His candidness: In his memoir, and in interviews since the book’s release, he’s shared his struggles with depression and by doing so, has given so many people hope in their own lives. And yes, he’s made a lot of mistakes in his life – haven’t we all – and the fact that he publicized them in his book and strives to improve himself and do the right thing now, makes me respect him a great deal.

To me personally, after I’ve learned about his experiences as a child and his struggles in school and with depression, it has given me insight into my own child’s struggles with ADHD and has helped me become a more understanding parent. (My son recently started writing songs that help him deal with things – one is an instrumental on keyboard called “The Sad Song” and the other one is “I Hate Homework.” He also wants to be an actor. Hmmm…)

(To read stories from fans about the impact RS has made on their life, check out the fan site We Love Rick Springfield.)

Anyway, these are five of the reasons why I ❤ Rick Springfield. What about you?

Wonderful interview on the eve of a 66th birthday

One cool thing about a decades-long career like Rick Springfield’s is when he gets an opportunity to reflect on his life up to this point. And he has had quite a life. It would make a great memoir. Oh wait, it was (and maybe there will be a sequel to that someday, which would be awesome).

He shares many reflections about his life in a wonderful recent interview in Australia: “Rick Springfield: On learning the craft of acting, wanting to be a rock star and living with depression.” A very touching, insightful interview. I love that he is so honest and open about his life. I think by doing that, he has helped so many people.

Happy birthday, RS, hope you have a wonderful birthday weekend, thanks for sharing so much of yourself with others.

(On another birthday note, Rowdy Ron will have another one of his Saturday Night Springfield Specials in honor of RS’s birthday – Saturday, Aug 22 starting at 8 p.m. EST at rowdyron.com.) The previous Saturday Night Springfield Special, in December, was more than seven hours long. Yes, seven hours straight of Rick Springfield’s music. Freaking awesome!)

(And one more birthday note: The Rick Springfield Birthday Campaign has raised more than $7,500 so far. Click here to donate to great causes in honor of RS’s birthday. And who knows, maybe you’ll win the grand prize of dinner with RS!)

Depression and songwriting

This article on the Scary Mommy blog just gave me some insight into some of RS’s lyrics. Wow.

10 Analogies That Perfectly Capture Depression

These two songs are what immediately came to mind, but I recognize these analogies in some of his other songs as well:

“One Way Street”: “But I go to sleep at night on a bed of nails wrapped up in chains and wire”
“I Hate Myself”

To be able to channel depression into great songs is an amazing gift.