Milver is a rapper. He’s honest. He’s cool. And his new single ‘Talking’ is out now in support of CALM. Here’s the man himself to bear all…
Nobody really knows who I am, so I’ll preface this whole thing with a bit of an introduction. My name’s Dan. I’m 32 years old. I’ve got a job in marketing and I make rap music. I go by the name Milver.
I didn’t have the hardest upbringing. I never really had to struggle for much. But my parents split when I was very young, my mother died a few years later. I’d had five different homes by the time I was eight. Another two by the time I was 12. I’m married, I have a Dad, an adoptive mother, a sister, a brother, and a step-dad who I haven’t seen or spoken to for roughly 17 years.
I never really focused at school. ‘He’s perfectly capable if only he’d apply himself’ was the usual feedback on report cards. Then through my late teens I got into some things I shouldn’t have which led to me getting kicked out of home. I had some friends take me in so I didn’t really have to spend any real time on the streets. I coasted through various jobs and never really found my feet with any of them. I was sacked from at least four of them and every time it was my own fault.
Perhaps there are other people who have had similar experiences, who might find it hard to talk, who find it hard to articulate themselves in that moment when it counts. So I wanted to offer mine out for people to listen to.
But that’s all history now. Things are better. Maybe I still carry some baggage from those times, but that’s not what this is about…
Looking back, I started getting suicidal thoughts from quite a young age. The earliest time I can remember was being in Scotland on a family holiday and thinking about jumping out of a window on an upper floor of a hotel. I can’t really remember why, but I do remember the thought crossing my mind. I’d never spoken to anyone about it until recently. I think I’m talking about it now because these feelings have started to make a bit of a resurgence, especially when I’ve been deprived of sleep.
A couple of people close to me have suspected that I’ve always had depression, but I’ve never been clinically diagnosed. About six months ago I was persuaded to try and seek some help, for my benefit and for the people around me. So I spoke to a couple of friends and they told me about a mental health clinic in the city I live. It came with shining reports so I picked up the phone to see what it was all about. I had no idea what to expect.
They organised a call back and gave me a bit of a profiling on the phone. It was a ‘how would you rate your feelings about X from 1-10?’ type of call. Then they asked some questions about what I was feeling and why I was feeling it. I answered to the best of my ability.
Then they moved on to questions about drink and drugs. Up until that point I’d never really considered myself to have a problem with either of those things. I’ll go out at the weekend with my friends and get drunk, but no different than what everyone else was doing. So I was honest with the person on the phone and they said that they wouldn’t be able to help me whilst I was drinking. So they ended up pointing me towards a rehab clinic for help.
I went, but I didn’t feel like I should be there. Maybe it was my own resistance towards admitting I had a problem, or maybe it wasn’t the help I was looking for, or expecting. Maybe both. I don’t know.
But I carried on going. They told me to keep a diary of my alcohol intake, which I did for a while. I’d significantly reduced the amount I was drinking too. After that time passed I felt like I was just being given the same advice over and over, and nothing was really progressing for me. Plus, I felt like I was taking these people’s time when they could be helping someone who was in much more serious need than I was. So I spoke to the clinician and explained how I felt. She appreciated my honesty, then they closed my file and we parted ways. I felt like it was back to square one and that I’d wasted everybody’s time.
After a few days of feeling incredibly down and like there was no hope, I started to come out of my hole and reflect on what happened. What went wrong?
Thinking logically about it, I know there’s no single answer to that question, but I do think the whole process got off on the wrong foot. And one of the reasons was that I didn’t articulate myself properly during that first phone call. The narrative we’re given with mental health is that ‘it’s ok to talk’, but what if talking (about anything) is difficult for you? Or what if you have no one to talk to? I remember feeling a huge amount of pressure during the call, so perhaps I didn’t give the answers that I thought I gave.
So I did what I usually do when I have an epiphany of sorts, regardless of how misguided it might be. I sat myself at my desk at home and started writing about it. It took me a couple of hours, but I ended up with some verses that were essentially a massive chunk of my internal monologue on a piece of paper. I found a beat that I felt matched it well, and I recorded the verse over it.
On listening back, to me, it sounded like how I imagined my first conversation with a psychotherapist might go.
On listening back, to me, it sounded like how I imagined my first conversation with a psychotherapist might go. If only I managed to capture it in that first call it might have been a different story. After the whole thing had finished, I felt a sense of relief and that I’d managed to put down something I hadn’t been able to explain for all these years. It just took me sitting down and focusing on it for a couple of hours for it to happen.
I thought that if this was the journey for me, perhaps there are other people who have had similar experiences, who might find it hard to talk, who find it hard to articulate themselves in that moment when it counts. So I wanted to offer it out for people to listen to.
So I spoke to a contact of mine who sent it through to Universal Music, who in turn sent me on to CALM. After a quick chat with the CALM team we agreed that we’d put it up as a charity single and send all the proceeds to CALM. It will also be available for free on Facebook and YouTube. But if people did want to either stream it through a paid service or buy it, then they’ll be fundraising for CALM.
So what’s next for me? Well I went to see my GP a couple of months ago and she said that she’d happily give me a referral for counselling, which I think I’m going to take up. I just have to take that first step and ask her for the help.
Thanks for reading.
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