Topic: NZ Music

Music cured my anxiety

By Aroha Awarau

Michael Luke, aka Mikey Dam, moved from Palmerston North to Auckland to chase his musical dreams.  But the bright lights and the pressure to succeed become too overwhelming. 

Anxiety kicked in and he was forced to find the right outlet to survive.  

“I was out of my comfort zone.  I wasn’t around people that I knew.  I was foreign to everything- I didn’t feel comfortable at the time.  I felt like everything was crashing.  I was thinking that way that everything was failing for me,” he says.

He was a popular musician gaining a loyal following in Palmerston North. 

Last year, Mikey Dam felt like he had outgrown his hometown and moved to Auckland to make his mark.

Once he moved to Auckland, he started getting panic attacks and suffering from anxiety.

"I thought my thoughts were being controlled with just the smallest thing, and that was moving to Auckland," says Luke, "You get stomach pains, the sleeping is one of the worst, you don’t let the body rest and it’s not that you’re trying your hardest to stay up or like you’ve got something to stay up for.

"It’s the fact that your mind is running, it’s as if your mind doesn’t want to go to sleep and it will not stop working- it didn't stop thinking constantly."

Luke returned to Palmerston North and was diagnosed with clinical depression. 

He refuses to treat it with medication. He says his music and writing his new single – Mountain View Road – was his healing.

“Music was the only thing I could speak to.  That was literally, at the time that’s literally all I had, was the music.  It kept faith in my head that I had to know I can do something”.

Mountain View Road is a scenic spot in Palmerston North where Luke went to clear his thoughts.

“The song is about everything that makes me happy and everything can cause my anxiety.  But letting it be known that I can overcome it”.

He says his music is his medicine and is helping him cope with anxiety.

“I feel like I lifted a massive weight off my shoulders the moment I let people know that I had it.  I didn’t feel embarrassed. Everybody was comfortable. Everybody showed love and showed respect”.

MIkey Dam's new single, Mountain View Road, is available on itunes and Spotify from Friday May 20.