Such Great Heights

Category: Songwriter Stories

Such Great HeightsWhen we write music, we want it to touch base on an emotional level with our listeners. We don't want to write just another catchy melody (although a catchy hook is obviously important), we want to write something that tells a story. Something that has meaning. With our song "Strength to Stay", we feel we wrote a song with not only a catchy tune, but a song that gives an important message to anyone who hears it. When I (John Clark, lead vocalist and bassist) just graduated from college in 2009, I dealt with a serious case of depression. For weeks on end, I wondered if life was worth living, and seriously contemplated suicide. There was no rhyme or reason why I had depression, or why it chose what was supposed to be an exciting time in my life into a nightmare. Doctors told me it was a genetic issue that was passed down to me from my mother. That's about the best answer I got. I was given anti-depressants that were supposed to help. They didn't. I just wanted to block myself off from the world, crawl in a hole, and be left alone. So that's what I did.

Finally, on June 17th, 2009, everything crashed down. I sat at my computer for 2 hours screaming at the top of my lungs, asking for a reason, a sign, anything showing that I was supposed to be here. When nothing came, I decided I was going to commit suicide. I went to try to find my dad's gun. Before I could find it though, my family came through the door. My brother, who is nine years younger than me, was as happy as ever. He is autistic, and one of the biggest influences on my life. If you know anything about autism, you know that people with autism have trouble expressing themselves in social situations. They don't express emotion very well because they don't really know how. But on this night it was different. He walked through the door, looked at me, and without hesitation said "Hey bubby, I love you." And after screaming for two hours, I finally had the answer I needed. I knew I was meant to be here. I knew my family needed me. I knew my brother WANTED me here, and I didn't want to let him down. I finally started dealing with my problem instead of internalizing what I was going through. I started seeking help from family and friends. And I started writing music with my cousin. It was therapeutic for me, and I've been writing ever since.

A lot of times, people don't want to talk about mental illnesses/disorders. It gets swept under the rug as a "taboo" subject that people are afraid to touch. Men especially, are led to believe that having issues like this somehow makes them less of a man. That's why we try to give a message of hope everywhere we go. We want to let people know that they are not alone in fighting this battle, and that suicide is never the answer to any problem. I believe that every person in the world has a reason to be here, and that's the message that I and the rest of the band want to send with this song. It's a culmination of my struggles and eventually my victory over something that I almost allowed to take my life. This song is a message to the world that you should never give up, never let go, and never let a temporary problem take you away from the things that mean the most.

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