Author Archives: Paul S Allen

Turmoil and Nothingness – A window into a troubled soul

Paul S Allen 21 July 2021 

Trigger warning: This post talks about anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. 

How can I describe what is going on inside my brain at the moment?

(I am not going into details of what caused my mental health issues here)

I feel numb, empty and alone (lonely), at the same time my heart races, my breathing is shallow as I overthink absolutely everything, and if I can’t control it I will go into a full on anxiety attack, with full on self criticism and abuse. 

I feel everything and nothing simultaneously and can fluctuate between them instantaneously. 

I am both highly productive as a songwriter at the moment while having no motivation to even pick up a guitar. 

I want to run, I want to hide, I want to close my eyes, hide my face, seek reassurance from others and run away from them at the same time. 

I want to sleep, I am so tired, my brain is weary, but mind mind races as soon as it hits the pillow and I wake up often through the night, then early in the morning my brain starts all over again firing on all cylinders.

Now I am starting to recognise some of my anxiety triggers, but I still get caught off guard by them and other out-of-the-blue events which can leave me in a state of blinding anxiety where I can start to yell at myself with all the expletives I can muster to say how utterly worthless and foolish I am.  (Please know that I know these thought are a lie but at the time they “feel” very real.)

From this I can go to a place of nothingness, not just empty or lacking in activity, but just a void or a vacuum where there is nothing to give, nothing to see. It is not just a void of positive thoughts, it is a void of any thoughts or emotion. Complete and utter emptiness. 

My brain seems to switch from screaming to silence and back. 

To the outside world it might seem that I smile and joke, sing and laugh, make conversation, and can even talk about anxiety and depression (as I am doing right now). 

Recently I launched a new album at a gig, I had a great crowd, supported by friends and other fantastic musicians. Many lovely and supportive things were said about me and I am blessed and honoured by them. Logically I know that everything they said was good and genuine, but I feel that were talking about someone else. (Sorry friends, I do love you and really appreciate you love and support) 

The positive is just not getting through, very little is getting through be it happy or sad. 

What does cut deep is the negative thoughts and self-criticism, where I am my own worst enemy. 

The overthinking and deep sense of loneliness, does cause problems where I tend to obsess about things or situations. I know this is not good or healthy but I am working on strategies to overcome this.

Now to the subject of the “S” word.

Suicide, have I thought of it?  Yes, and that terrifies me! 

Before I continue here are some things you must know…

I want to live!

I want to be well!

I recognise that I am unwell and not my usual self.

I am getting help. 

If I am totally honest through my life there have been a number of times when these thoughts have been in my mind. I have fortunately never acted on them. Only recently have I opened up to others about this (including my Doctor, counsellor and close trusted friends).
I am now on medication and have a good support system including friends that are keeping an eye out for me. 

So what am I doing to get through?

I reached out for help… first to a trusted friend, then to my wonderful and supportive wife, then to my Doctor then a counsellor

Yoga – I have started yoga for grounding, breathing, and getting to know my own body. Also physical fitness is good and so is meeting new people through the classes. 

Friends – My friends are so dear to me and I love them so much for who they are and especially for there support through this rough patch.  I have one friend in another town who has been checking in on me daily online calling himself my “Wellness Stalker”.
To my friends – THANK YOU SO MUCH. 

Music – music and creativity is my life, I have gone to gigs, performed, written new songs, collaborated with others, it all has been helping. 

Time – I am trying to take back control of my life through good time management, my workplace is encouraging in this regard too with a good strategy in my return to work. 

Medication and counselling – I strongly recommend seeking professional help!

Focusing on me – now this is hard I feel completely selfish doing this as I am usually so other focused

Why am I sharing this?

It is because I want you to know you are not alone with your battles. 

We all may battle in our own way, we will be triggered by different things, we will react and respond differently, but you are not alone.
There is support out there so please reach out.

I want you to live also!

I want you to be well. 

I want you to get the support you need.

Paul Allen – Singer songwriter

New Zealand Support Contacts

  • 1737, free 24/7 phone and text number
  • Healthline: 0800 611-116
  • Lifeline Aotearoa: 0800 543-354
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828-865 
  • Samaritans: 0800 726-666
  • General mental health inquiries: 0800 443-366
  • The Depression Helpline: 0800 111-757

for NZ music industry people
Check out MusicHelps

Mental Health – my current journey

I am back at work now after having a few weeks on medical leave for anxiety and depression. I am working short weeks for a while and have made other arrangements to support my re-integration back to work.

Firstly, and just so you all know, I am receiving good medical care and medication is starting to kick in, and also I am receiving counselling and other support. Most importantly I am safe.

I still am battling through, which is not easy at times and is tiring, and certainly have my moments when I need to take a break.

Some of the people and things that are good and are helping me get through are, my very loving and supportive wife, some very good friends, music (writing, performing, and collaborating), and MusicHelps .
Anxiety has been great for writing songs and I have written 14 songs in the last 6 weeks, while depression makes me not want to even pick up my guitar. Anxiety and depression are a very strange combination.

Why am I being open?
As kiwis and as blokes (generalisation), we are terrible about seeking help and support when we need it.

I thought that as I have always been an advocate for people with mental illness that it is good for me to be up front and open that I am now one of the many people who also have a mental illness.

I have sought out help from my GP and a counsellor for what I am dealing with and it does help.
Hopefully this will encourage others to get help too.

So the important take away from what I am going through at the moment is this…

Do not be ashamed or embarrassed to seek help if you are struggling – use the 1737 help number if you need to, make use of the EAP services, counselling, or other support services that are available, talk to your close trusted friends, discuss it with your doctor.

Check out for your friends, ask them if they are OK and genuinely support them if they need it.

Know that you are not alone in the dark, and there is hope even if it doesn’t feel like it now (note: even as I write this I have to remind myself of this. )


New Zealand Support Contacts

  • 1737, free 24/7 phone and text number
  • Healthline: 0800 611-116
  • Lifeline Aotearoa: 0800 543-354
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828-865 
  • Samaritans: 0800 726-666
  • General mental health inquiries: 0800 443-366
  • The Depression Helpline: 0800 111-757

for NZ music industry people
Check out MusicHelps

And He Flies – Paul S Allen – New Album Available Now

And He Flies – available now

Tēnā koutou,
Ko te Tai o Araiteuru te tūrakawaewae,
Kei te noho au ki Ōtepoti,
Ko Pākehā te iwi,
Ko Paul Allen tōku ikoa
He kaitito waiata, kaihopu whakaahua hoki au.
Nō reira, tēnā koutou katoa

___________________________________________________________________________________

And He Flies is available on CD from the following

~> Gigs,
~> Relics Records in Dunedin,
~> Available to borrow from Dunedin Public Library

Digital download from

~> BandCamp
~> iTunes, Apple Music and Spotify

___________________________________________________________________________________

OAR 105.4 FM Dunedin
Interview OAR 105.4 FM Dunedin

INTERVIEW

Thanks to OAR FM Dunedin – Community Access Media and Dunedin Public Libraries for the interview yesterday. Some great questions from Kay Mercer from the Library to give you an insight into my music and the processes I go through to write, record and perform.

Listen to the interview here.

___________________________________________________________________________________

ABOUT THE ALBUM

All songs written as my observation and reflection 
of the world and people around me each day. 


Forgive me as I know there are a few mistakes & glitches but I have deliberately left them there as I believe nothing is perfect and there is beauty in imperfection.

Sweet lullabies is dedicated to all those with hidden illnesses who “look well” but battle everyday.

credits

Paul S Allen: All vocals, backing vocals, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, ukulele, bass, lead guitar, keyboards, piano. Drums: the magic elves who live in my computer with nudging and arrangement by myself.

Recorded, mixed and mastered at home. 


Thank you to everyone who has supported me on my musical journey thus far, the people who come along to gigs, listen to my music, and to those I collaborate with at gigs especially my good friend darryl baser, I appreciate you all.

Thanks also to DRM NZ, APRA AMCOS NZ , Recorded Music NZ and NZ Music Month.

Thank you to my wonderful wife Wendy .

And He Flies performed live at the Nook & Cranny Music Festival held in the Dunedin Public Library, in Dunedin, New Zealand 2 May 2021
Paul S Allen - Singer Songwriter


Nook and Cranny Music Festival 2021 – Dunedin, NZ – 2 May 2021

Video Montage and image gallery of the iconic The Nook & Cranny Music Festival held at the Dunedin Public Libraries, Dunedin, New Zealand, on the 2 May 2021 to Celebrate NZ Music Month
(I missed about four of the artists as I was performing at the time – apologies to those four)


Video, Music, and Photography: Paul S Allen


#nzmusicmonth
#dunedinmusic
#musicfestival

New Album “And He Flies” being launched in NZ Music Month – May 2021

Kia ora koutou

You are warmly invited to come to the launch of my second album “And He Flies”.

This will be an opportunity to hear the stories behind the songs and the album.

It will be held on 14 May at the wonderful Gallery on Blueskin which have always been a great supporter of local Dunedin musicians I would love to see you there.

Celebrating #NZMusicMonth by launching a new album.

Details for where you will be able to purchase / stream the album will be posted here on the 14 May 2021.

There will be a further celebration of the album in July with an event with other artists supporting and playing the album with me… details to follow.

Ngā mihi.

Video: Darryl Baser

For immediate release. 22 April 2021 

A passionate Dunedin musician is releasing his second album.

Singer songwriter Paul S Allen has been a stalwart live performer for more than 30 years in Dunedin.

Paul S Allen releases his second full album, ‘And He Flies’ on May 14, 2021. 

And He Flies is a ten song album which as a followup to his 2019 album “Stay”.

“The album takes the listener on a searching musical journey.” Paul Allen said.

A multi-instrumentalist Paul S Allen arranged and plays every instrument on And He Flies.

“The album’s title track is the seventh song on the album, which is closed off with Hold Me Close” he said.

With Allen’s reflective lyric style, his original songs are from the heart and soul drawing on observations of the world around him.

English born, but now is a proud Kiwi, he’s also a passionate supporter of the Dunedin music scene.

Paul S Allen is celebrating the release of And He Flies with an album release event at Gallery on Blueskin in Waitati, on Friday evening, May 14th

Paul S Allen will have hard copies of And He Flies and his previous album Stay available at the release show.

Links to And He Flies will be online at Spotify, iTunes, and Bandcamp and are set to go live on May 14th.

Paul S Allen plays in Gallery on Blueskin at 6:30pm Friday 14th to celebrate the release of his second album And He Flies.

For further information contact:

Paul S Allen 

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