How SWMRS helped me conquer my anxiety

Posted: by The Editor

Grappling with anxiety has kept me away from various ventures – namely, attending live music events. I worried that I’d be deemed an outcast and thus not be welcomed by other fans. I also struggle with claustrophobia, making crowded venues a daunting prospect.

I felt pathetic – if other people could attend shows, why was I succumbing to my mental health struggles? Anxiety is often rooted in irrational thought processes, meaning that it can be difficult for others to empathize. At times, I was met with responses like “Just go!”, which, while sound advice, can feel far from helpful.

When I attended my first show at the age of 21, I felt accomplished. By that same token, I was also distraught over numerous missed opportunities of the past. It was easy for me to dismiss the thrill of shows when I had no idea what they were like – for all I knew, maybe they were sub par. But once I found out that live music can be fulfilling, I was hit with an onslaught of regret.

This unhappiness especially plagued me when I recently saw pop punk band SWMRS during my senior year of college, I didn’t attend a show of theirs that occurred in the town I live in.

It felt ironic that I was enamored with a band that felt like such a distant leap from who I was at that time. SWMRS oozes an eclectic, carefree energy. Lead vocalist Cole Becker wholeheartedly immerses himself into the music; truly dancing as if nobody is watching. Fellow contributor to The Alternative, Hope Ankney, said she once saw Becker perform while donning a dress. They’re unapologetic and brash – the band dedicated “Drive North” to a disdain for Los Angeles, a city that’s often idealized and praised.

I’m often timid and confined by overthinking and panic. I, for no valid reason, heavily concern myself with whether or not others like me.

Although I’ve made strides in improving my mental health, the unfortunate reality of anxiety is that I won’t ever eradicate it. It will always be a struggle. I regularly oscillate between contentment and fright.

More and more, though, I feel myself becoming a confident person. I’ve struck up conversations with other show attendees and learned that some of them enjoy my presence. Not everyone likes me, and that’s okay.

Seeing SWMRS live felt redeeming, but I also felt that the show served as a metaphor for self forgiveness. It’s futile to agonize over something as irreversible as the past. I know I missed many gigs, but I have the future ahead of me.

Bineet Kaur | @hellobineet

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