Mental illness continues to be one of the least discussed and understood conditions in Canada. It’s a sensitive subject matter that most people choose to ignore, and many with a mental illness avoid bringing up their conditions for fear of being ostracized. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 20% of all Canadians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. Eight percent of all adults will suffer major depressions, and 1% will be diagnosed with bipolar disorder (or “manic depression”). These are astounding statistics, with the odds being high that we know someone who may be quietly suffering.
Over the past two years, however, many artists have written songs about the issue to raise awareness. In fact, Sarah Jickling has written an entire album based on her experiences. When I Get Better documents Jickling’s diagnosis and living with bipolar disorder. It explores everything from the Vancouver-based artist’s reactions to receiving the news, her recovery from the initial shock, and the difficulties of maintaining friendships and romantic relationships. The record, in other words, is a rare glimpse inside the mind and life of an artist living with a chronic mental health condition.
The first single from the album is “This Time”, and we are pleased to premiere a live, acoustic recording of the song. Despite its low-key indie-folk approach, the lyrics are stark but every bit honest and thought-provoking. They are courageous. Its opening lines, specifically, are eye-opening:
Make myself sick
Can’t help it
I’ve always had this darkness
Whom am I without it?
My thoughts have run wild for 22 years,
And I expected by now I’d swallowed my fears.
The former frontwoman of alt-pop band The Oh Wells shares more about the song:
“I lost so many friendships and romantic relationships, as I was coming to terms with my mental illness. The symptoms of bipolar disorder did not make me an ideal friend. While bipolar disorder has nothing to do with having a split personality, most people who knew me during that time said it was like there were two of me and they never knew which one they were going to get. My best friend told me not to contact her until I got help. Relationship after relationship ended in huge fights and suicidal ideations. The person mentioned in that song is my current partner. When I met him, I knew that I would be “too much” for him, just like I was “too much” for everyone else to handle. The first year we were together, he too felt overwhelmed by my illness and left me. But fortunately, he came back and has been one of the most important parts of my recovery. He plays the violin on that track as well.”
The video is below. It is a must-hear. Afterwards, check out the album teaser, in which Jickling shares more about the album and her experiences. When I Get Better will be out July 14th everywhere.
“This Time” (single)
When I Get Better (album teaser)
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