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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Quite a commute

I’ve been traveling the past couple of weeks, which has included time in planes, trains and automobiles.

During my journey, I’ve thought about the people who travel regularly for their jobs, such as musicians. Specifically, Rick Springfield. With about 100 shows all around the country each year (and sometimes internationally), the life of our favorite rock star must include lots of security lines, seat-belt and oxygen-mask demonstrations and waiting at the baggage claim carousel.

Sometimes people will snap a picture of him in the airplane or standing at baggage claim. Other times, reporters accost him as he heads into the airport. On one flight, a group of girls sang “Jessie’s Girl” on the plane after recognizing him. None of these things have ever happened to me during my travels, fortunately.

RS has often said that he gets paid for traveling rather than for playing music because he enjoys playing music so much, he’d do it for free. Lucky for him, he gets paid for both traveling and playing music. What a great gig.

 

Whenever I’m at the airport, especially at LAX, I can’t help but keep an eye out for RS, just in case. I’m not really sure what I would actually do if I saw him, but I look anyway. I recently flew into the Burbank, California airport and during the short walk through the terminal from the gate to the outside baggage claim, “Jessie’s Girl” played over the loudspeakers. Out of all the songs in the whole world that could have played in those few minutes, I thought it was pretty funny that it would be an RS song. Of course, I interpreted that as my personal welcome to Southern California from RS. (If you’ve read any of this blog, you may have learned that my thinking process is about age 13 when it comes to RS, so you shouldn’t be too surprised.)

I’m happy to report that I did recently spot RS at the Los Angeles International Airport, although it was in a different scenario than I had hoped. I had some time before I needed to get to the gate to board my flight so I wandered into a bookstore in the terminal. As I scanned the books on the shelves, I saw RS right there on a bottom shelf staring out at me.

Late Late at Night

I’ll be at LAX later this week so MAYBE I’ll run into him if he heads to Las Vegas early for his show there this weekend. I’ll look out for him just in case.

Coming of age

I recently realized that my oldest son is approaching the age I was when I first became aware of Rick Springfield: 12.

Here’s the first mention of RS in my diary, entered on May 15, 1982, almost exactly 36 years ago from today:

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It was just a couple of months after RS debuted on General Hospital (March 25, 1981) and although I don’t remember if I was already watching “General Hospital” at this time, it looks like RS and John Stamos were the only ones in the magazine that rated my three-star “Wow” poster rating.

So far my, son’s main interest is in basketball and although he does like music – some of his favorite are Imagine Dragons, Fall Out Boys and Bruno Mars – he hasn’t gotten to the point where there is any non-sports-related decor on his walls.

This is how my walls looked when I was in my early teens:

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Did my parents think it was odd that I had all these posters of a guy in his 30s all over my wall when I was 13? Or listening to these lyrics?

I get excited
Just thinkin’ what you might be like
I get excited
There’s heaven in your eyes tonight
The fire’s ignited down below
It’s burning bright
Oh baby, stay, we got all night, all night
Baby please, I can’t please
If I’m on my knees tonight

(“I Get Excited” from “Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet” – 1982 – my parents bought me the album for my birthday that year)

Or this from “Inside Sylvia” from “Working Class Dog” – 1981

Inside Sylvia, oh Sylvia, yeah, yeah, Sylvia
I know my love is alive
Inside Sylvia, yeah Sylvia, oh Sylvia, oh

(I know he has said that his relationship with Sylvia was not of a sexual nature, but still, those lyrics…)

As he’s said himself, most of the songs from WCD and SHSMY are all about lust and sex – did I know that at the time? I think I sensed that they had adult themes, but I was pretty innocent at the time overall so I’m not sure how much I actually understood. But I did recognize his “wow” factor, that’s for sure, and the crush factor was pretty strong.

We made it through the baby stage with our sons, survived the toddler years, and now all of them are in elementary school. After reading “Late, Late at Night,” and getting a glimpse of what puberty can be like for boys (we are all girls in my family), I’m trying to prepare myself for being on the opposite end of the equation (the parent instead of the teen).

Of course things are much different these days – kids have exposure to many more things today then my generation did at this age. And what seems shocking in one generation, often doesn’t phase the next one at all (such as Elvis “shockingly” shaking his hips on national TV – if those shocked adults would have known what kind of things end up national TV today, they would likely be horrified.) It goes the other way, too, things that were everyday happenstance in previous generations (such as how women and minorities were treated) seem horrifying today (hence, the #metoo movement).

I’m not really sure what my point is here and I’ve probably gone off on a tangent, but what I’m TRYING to say is: How did this happen so fast that I was once a tween (although they didn’t call it that at the time) who innocently listened to Rick Springfield records and had his posters covering my wall and now I’m nearly 50 writing a blog about him and have a son who is almost the age I was when I started being a fan?

If I had to sum it up with one word, I guess I’d have to say, “Wow.”

New video: The Voodoo House

It’s here – the video for “The Voodoo House”!

If I had to pick my favorite song of “The Snake King,” “The Voodoo House” would be it so I’m happy to hear he’s been playing it live and that he made a video for the song.

From an article on Nola.com:

Playing a shiny National guitar, Springfield seems to glide through a sunny, Spanish moss-draped swampscape, when he’s not cavorting with a mysterious seductress in a smoky nightclub … or is it all just an absinthe-fueled fantasy? Either way, we in Louisiana welcome the Australian-born star to our milieu.

The “swampscape” is breathtakingly beautiful and he’s got that cool rock star look, as do the band members. So fun to watch.

Did you notice that he looked right at me when he sang “I’ve got a voodoo doll that looks just like you?” (He still got that heartthrob rock star vibe, and I still have some of that teen fantasy imagination, sorry, can’t help it.)

I almost didn’t recognize Siggy (the bassist) in that cleric getup. I wonder what the story behind that is.

In other news, specifically on chicagotribune.com, there’s also an update on more upcoming RS work:

He’s also the author of two books; the aforementioned autobiography and a fiction novel called “Magnificent Vibration.” He’s editing a new one hopefully to be released this year, he wrote.

Hey ya! Hey ya! Oh!

A powerful ripple effect

Embed from Getty Images

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.

More subtle than posters on the wall

If anyone peeked into my teenage bedroom, they would know beyond a doubt that I was a Rick Springfield fan. His face was plastered all over my walls and his music was likely playing from my stereo speakers (my stereo had a record player AND a cassette player, which I guess would now be considered vintage).

But although my walls are no longer covered with pictures of Rick Springfield (my husband wouldn’t appreciate that), I realized this morning that there are still signs around the house that show I’m a fan.

On the top off a bookshelf in our office is the original location of RS memories, with the signed “Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet” album and a framed pic of RS from the first time I met him (on the day of the release of “Karma” in 1999.) It’s a little dusty up there (sorry RS), so I guess I’ll call that my dusty Springfield shelf. (Ha ha.) Tucked into the frame of the picture are two guitar pics that I got at concerts in October 2015 and March 2016. These items sit on the shelf with a menorah my husband’s grandfather made, a vase from my wedding reception, a cuckoo clock from my parent’s house and a glass lamp shade my husband’s aunt made. And a little violin sculpture, not sure where that came from.

Rick Springfield on top of shelf

Another shelf in the office contains my RS items from the past few years since I started this blog (except for the “Tao” cassette, which is another “vintage” item from my high school days and the signed “Karma” CD, which I got on the day I met RS in the picture above.)

This collection includes CDs, a CD stand (which was my “Santa’s gift” from Rick Springfield Official Merchandise last year), a copy of handwritten lyrics of “Carry Me Away” and “Everybody’s Girl” (my extremely treasured “Santa’s gift” from the previous year), a signed RS pic from one of the fan giveaways and my treasured “Rick Fit” winnings, which includes a signed “Speak to the Sky” record and a signed “medal.”

Rick Springfield on book shelf

(Full disclosure: I moved the “Late, Late at Night” book from a different bookshelf for the sake of this picture.) On the shelf underneath is the manila envelope with those mysterious photos I found last year and an envelope with the lyric booklet from “The Snake King.” I have a couple of DVDs somewhere, too.

Downstairs there are only a couple of clues, the “Working Class Dog” tumbler currently sitting on the counter (my Mother’s Day gift to myself last year, on the 35th anniversary of WCD) and a magnet on the fridge from last year’s RS birthday campaign.

Rick Springfield magnet

My RS treasures from high school, which includes all my posters and my RS scrapbook, are all at my dad’s house, but you can see them in this post: “Where it all began.” They are no longer on the walls of my former bedroom (my former bedroom is now my dad’s office) but are in a desk drawer in the guest room, the same desk I had in high school, which would also probably considered vintage by now, too.

April 24, 1981

I remember reading an interview with Rick Springfield once saying that he named the first song he wrote about his father’s death with the date because he wanted to always note the significance of that date.

That date lives on in his fan’s minds, too, and I’m sure many RS fans are thinking of him and his family today.

This last song on “Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet” brought a whole different level of depth to the album, which is otherwise all about relationships and sex (“Calling All Girls,” “I Get Excited,” “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” “What Kind of Fool Am I”). I received the album for my 13th birthday. That year, 1982, sparked my connection to RS, and this song was a big part of it because it showed his deeper side and another dimension to him, rather than just the cute rock ‘n’ roller.

Here’s the song from his “Live and Kickin” video, which features an Aug. 13, 1982 concert (a few days after my 13th birthday). The song starts at about 1:30 mark:

 

And a video from a 2016 “Stripped Down” show 34 years later:

Thinking of Norman Springthorpe on this day and sending warm and comforting thoughts to RS and his brother, Michael.

April 24, 1981

Suited for the symphony

I know what I’m about to say is going to sound ridiculous, but after watching some of the videos people posted tonight from Rick Springfield performing with the Oregon Symphony, I feel like I am about to burst with pride.

I’m writing this with tears streaming down my face, especially after watching the video of “My Father’s Chair.” Watching RS perform that with a symphony orchestra and then seeing him turn around and face the photo of his father showing on the screen on the back of the stage…. wow.

After hearing about what he went through last year and all the dark emotions and feelings that came out in “The Snake King,” it was incredible to see him performing all of those songs with his band and the symphony and looking like he was enjoying himself so much. I couldn’t help but think that if he had succumbed to his darkness last year that none of this would have happened or the cruise or… anything else.

So although I’m just one of thousands of RS fans sitting on the sidelines and observing the past four years of his life through my smartphone and computer screen, I just want to shout out “I’m so proud of you, RS! Way to go!”

He also performed one of my favorite RS songs from the 1980s: “Souls” (thanks to rsandus for posting these videos!)

Another classic:

From the newest CD, “The Snake King”:

And also this Beatles song:

Karma release: 19 years ago today

Since it’s now after midnight, it’s now April 13, which means its been 19 years since the “Karma” release date (which means that 19 years ago today I met RS for the first time).

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This is what I wrote in my journal that day:

When it was my turn, I told him how it was great to meet him. I’ve been a fan for a long time. He said he could tell (I brought “Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet” to sign). I said I’ve been a fan for 25 years. Then I said, I mean 18 and he said, “It’ll be 25 before you know it.”

Well, he was right and now it’s been 37 years. So maybe that’s why I was a little emotional tonight – he’s been a huge part of my life for so many years (although there were gaps of time I lost track of his career) and tonight’s performance felt like another important milestone for him. Plus he was wearing a suit, like he used to in the 1980s, so it may have also been a weird, subconscious reaction to that.

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.

PSA: Beware of celebrity friend requests

And now for a public service announcement:

Have you received a friend request from a celebrity?

Actor Hugh Jackman recently addressed this in a tweet, noting that it has been brought to his attention that he learned that impostors claiming to be him on social media were asking for personal information and trying to scam people into sending him money.

Oprah Winfrey and Robert Downey, Jr. have also warned their fans of possible scams.

I wanted to mention this here because apparently there are Rick Springfield impostors out there, too, creating fake accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and contacting RS fans. One woman said she had been in contact by one of these scammers for several months before realizing it was a scam once the impostor asked if she could send him money for a private jet plane to pick her up.

Other fans have been approached by a scam artist pretending to be RS or a member of his team soliciting charitable donations or VIP concert experiences.

Don’t fall for it! As much as you may be thrilled at the idea that your favorite rock star is contacting you, realize that he’s a busy happily-married guy and with those royalties from “Jessie’s Girl” still rolling in, he doesn’t need to turn to his fans for some extra funds. Save your money for a concert or a meet & greet instead.

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RS’s official website is rickspringfield.com, his official merch site is rickspringfieldmerch.com and his official social media accounts (notice the blue checkmarks – some of these impostors set up their page to look like the official page) are:

https://www.facebook.com/rickspringfield/

https://www.instagram.com/rickspringfield/