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[Editors note – the following blog entry has been re-published here with permission. It comes to us from 19-year-old Irish artist Rosie Carney, who not only has a breathtaking new single out (which you can stream below), but also a powerful story of depression, mental health stigmas and the power to overcome obstacles in life’s journey. It’s an inspirational, and at times difficult, story that we know many of our readers will appreciate, and possibly relate to. We encourage you to share this article and comment below with your own stories.]
I still remember the day we were all sat down at the kitchen table in our lovely home in Denmead, England. I couldn’t believe we were actually moving to Ireland! I was so excited and the 10 year old in me couldn’t help but feel such a sense of adventure, and although I knew I was going to miss my friends, family and life in England, I couldn’t wait to move. So within a couple of months of being informed, we were packed and on the road to our new life in Ireland.
We moved into a lovely little house with a beautiful view of the ocean. I felt so blessed to be so close to the sea! I couldn’t wait to start school, to make new friends, even though I did cry on my first day! Me and Pops had always had a great relationship when we were young. Always playing and laughing together! It was such a small school with only 80 or so students. Both of our years were in the same class room, I was so delighted to hear me and Poppy would be in the same class room! The first couple of weeks went well, and I felt very welcomed and happy in our new little school. It seemed like such an easy place to settle in to. I was only one of 2 girls in my class, it was so small!
A month went by and i started to notice a change in the way my class and Poppy’s class treated me. I started to feel a little out of place. I naively reassured myself by telling myself it would pass. Little did I know it would only get worse and worse. I remember being called such horrible names I didn’t know a 10 year old would even know about. It was so hard for me to work out. I so wanted to be near Poppy all the time, mostly to hide behind, but this line on the floor the other students invented didn’t allow me to sit with her. I would sit there, wishing to be somewhere else. I was so lonely. So embarrassed of myself. All I wanted was someone to confide in. I remember when Poppy left to go to secondary school. I was really on my own then. It was only the 3rd day back, and I had gotten my hair cut. Everyone laughed at me. I felt so sad. I would hate it when the teacher would leave the room because that’s when the Bully’s would pounce. Anyone who touched my stuff, or touched me, would get this disease called Rosie germs. Everyone would be running away to wash their hands or give it to someone else if they got it. I remember receiving a note in my locker telling me to kill myself. I wanted to. The worst thing about this was that I was too afraid to tell my parents. I went a year in this school without telling anyone. I thought I’d get in trouble, or get picked on even more. I would cry all the time, I wouldn’t want to go to school. My parents finally sussed it out. I was somewhat relieved that they were so supportive and so protective of me. I was so alone and afraid. Life is confusing enough when you’re 11 years old, you shouldn’t have to contemplate taking your life at such a young age. I grew to hate myself. So much. I hated looking at myself in the mirror. I blamed myself for all the events that went on in that school. It still saddens me to this day knowing that the teachers knew, but still failed to do anything about it.
I was so scared to go to secondary school. So afraid that Rosie Germs would pass on to everyone in first year. Luckily though, it didn’t. I felt so relieved and happy for the first time in a long time to finally make some friends. I was so grateful that that part of my life was over, even though it wasn’t. The feelings never left me. I felt so depressed and so anxious all the time. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I didn’t want to tell my friends. I didn’t want to weird them out with my suicidal thoughts. So I decided to ignore the feelings and suffer in silence. I remember when I first started to write music. It was the only thing I had that would help ease the pain I was feeling within myself. It helped a great deal with the pain.
I was 14 years old when I was first sexually assaulted. I was on the way to a concert. Me and m friend shared a 1/4 bottle of vodka mixed with some other drinks you would drink underage when desperately trying to be cool and get drunk. Everyone was pretty out of it. I was down the back of the bus. I was so so afraid when it happened. I froze with fear and disbelief. I wanted my mum, I wanted to be at home and safe. But I was far away from all of those things. I felt disgusting. I felt ashamed. I felt like the worse thing to ever walk on this planet. I didn’t tell my friends, or anyone of what happened that night. I was too afraid that I’d get into trouble, or that people would call me more horrible names. I’d never been so happy to be home after that night. I got into bed and just cried every night for a long long time. My depression was getting worse and worse and worse. I didn’t know what to do, I was so afraid. So alone.
I couldn’t believe when i was 15 years old that I was being offered all these record deals from all these huge labels. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world. I naively thought that I had made it. I was so so so excited. So when I turned 16 years old, I signed a record deal with Polydor Records. Although I still had everything that had happened playing on my mind, this did allow for me to become busy and distracted from all of that. The first couple of months were great and so exciting. My friends seemed excited for me, the school seemed proud of me. It was great. But there was only so much ignoring of the feelings and thoughts i could do, so i stopped eating.
I quickly became very very sick. I would purposely wear an oversized uniform so people didn’t notice the quick drop in weight. I became addicted to the feeling of hunger. Of seeing, counting and feeling the bones on my body. I was so weak. I was tearing my family to pieces. It broke their hearts to see me deteriorate so quickly. I went from 7 stone to 5 stone in a matter or months. I wouldn’t eat anything, and anything I did eat, I would throw up. My label, of course, had no idea of what was going on. “Labels don’t have time for sick people like me” is was i kept telling myself. I was had to spend weeks away from home. Anytime I was home, it was spent in the doctors, hospital or at counseling. I was quickly put on Prozac and threatened that if I didn’t start eating again, they would pull me out of my label and put me in hospital where I would be fed through a tube. I was terrified. My family were terrified. I was dying. Slowly disappearing.
I was 17 and trying to balance all of this with my Leaving Cert. I couldn’t do it. I didn’t have the energy. I had to make the sacrifice of dropping out of school. It killed me to make this decision as I only had a couple of months of school left. “Everyone will think I’m a failure. I am a failure” is what I thought. My year head was so supportive, and I remain so grateful for what she told me the day me and my mum sat in her office, both in tears, trying to explain what was really going on. “Follow your heart Rosie” is what she told me. “I believe in you, and if you were to tell me this 20 years ago, I would say your education is the most important thing, but your health and well being always come first. Follow your heart”. I was so relieved to hear these words. To feel understood and cared for. So I emptied my locker and for the last time, walked through the school doors.
I was 17 years old when I was sexually assaulted again. I won’t go into any detail. I couldn’t believe it. All the old feelings came back in an even worse form. I began to self harm. I hated my life. I hated myself. I hated everything. Again, I was too afraid to tell anyone. I didn’t know what would happen if I told anyone. I thought I would get into trouble. I thought no one would believe me. I decided that I would kill myself. I went on a walk to a cliffside. I was so ready to jump. So ready to end it all. I cried and cried. I remember a sudden feeling of care for myself, and concern for my family. I can’t do this to them. I can’t do this to me. I can’t let this happen. Now is not my time. So I went home. I didn’t tell anyone what had happened that day.
I was 18 years old when I got dropped from my record label. I remember being called into my parents room. “Rosie, your A&R guy has been fired.” I just started sobbing. I knew what was going to happen. I knew I’d be dropped. It was such a difficult time. Along with everything else that was happening, I didn’t know how I would make it through this without trying to hurt myself again. I felt so alone. Friendless and hopeless. It took me a long time to come to terms with everything. My whole life just seemed like a cloud of fog.
That summer of 2015, I started to really struggle with again. I was eating again, and I was no longer 5 or 6 stone. I felt okay physically. I weened myself off the Prozac without telling my doctor. It didn’t help me, in fact, I strongly believe it had the opposite effect. I kept thinking about the events that had happened. I was like a pot that was constantly about to boil over. “This will NOT be my life” is what I kept telling myself. “I will NOT let these events define who I am”. So finally, i told my mum. I told her what had happened to me when I was 14 and when I was 17. I told her everything. She sobbed. I sobbed. I could see she felt helpless. I could see she wanted to kill ANYONE that hurt her babies. I regret not telling her sooner, but speaking up is the best thing I ever did.
On the 7th of November, 2015 I broke down. I hit rock bottom. I was so tired. So so tired. So overwhelmed. Although that night still seems like a blur to me. I remember sitting on the bathroom floor after cutting myself. Sobbing. I called my mum and dad to come upstairs. I had had enough. I remember saying goodbye to my mum after signing myself into the hospital. It was one of the hardest goodbyes I’ve ever had to experience. I was so afraid and lonely in my hospital room. I was so ashamed. I remember waking up the next day and going to get my breakfast. There was so many sad people in there. So many lost souls. I feel ashamed for feeling embarrassed to be in there, for if there was anything I learned, it was that these people, they are just like me and you. So many stereotyped ideas come from the term ‘Mentally Ill’. They were so welcoming of me, so caring. There was nothing to hide behind in there. We were are truest selves. Souls just looking for some help and happiness. I specifically remember this one man called Michael Morning. “My names Michael Morning, like the new day” is how he introduced himself. He was a fairly aged man, probably in his mid 60s. I spoke to him for hours. We laughed and cried and drank many a cup o’ tea. I also helped another guy called Paul with learning the guitar. I was in there for 3 days. It felt like 3 months.
I am now 19 years old. I still struggle at times, like us all, I have good days and bad days. But little by little, I am becoming the Rosie I have always wanted to be. I feel confident within myself and about my career. I have always been so afraid of telling anyone my story, and I am still second guessing whether or not to post this as I type, but I feel that’s where we’re going wrong. We need to break this stigma we are creating. Mental illness deserves as much attention as physical. It is as important. It is as serious. You can’t have good physical health without good mental health. It sickened me to see that only 10 politicians showed up to debate Mental Illness. It sickens me to hear that they want to cut the service funds for Mental Health in this country. So many people die of suicide every year. So many people suffer from depression. Everyone has some form of mental illness. Everyone.
So, with all that being said, I would like to say a special thank you to whoever took the time out to read my story. The past 10 years have been long and full of pain, but I am learning to forgive. I am learning to let go. I am learning to love myself and to stop blaming myself. I forgive me. I am grateful for a lot of it as it is helping me to be the person I am today. It has inspired me to speak out and to help raise awareness. I hope to anyone who reads this story and is suffering, it helps give you the courage to speak out. You all deserve all the light and love this world has to offer. We all deserve to be happy. To love ourselves. I want to say a huge thank you to my beautiful family and my close friends for always supporting me. I Am A Reason. You Are A Reason. We Are Reasons.