Get recovered: Ben Pearce tells us how close he came to calling time on his career
The DJ cancelled some live dates last year due to struggles with depression
This time last year I was in a bad place. I was terrified, and felt guilty for feeling the way I did while being in such a privileged position. This only added to everything that was going through my head already. I was drinking every day, quite often starting in the mornings. I didn’t understand what was happening: it felt like a weight on my shoulders, a cloud over my head constantly, a misty window through which I saw the whole world carrying on without me.
I started DJing from a passion and a love for music. This seemed far removed, though, when I set off to go and play shows each weekend. I was nervous. I had never been nervous before but I’d be physically shaking, vomiting and often getting extremely emotional just before I went on stage. I managed to hide it for a long time; I didn’t want anybody to think I was ungrateful for what I did, or that I didn’t enjoy it. ‘Why aren’t you smiling?’ asked one beaming clubber who was clearly having the time of their life. Why indeed.
I came very close to throwing my life away. This, perhaps, was the catalyst for me to take a few steps back and stop myself. I sought professional help. The decision to step back from shows entirely came a few months later: I felt I needed a break to readjust. I experienced a lot of personal turmoil at the same time: unsurprisingly, the black dog bites into a lot of your life and it can force you to push people away. I became a recluse, not wanting to have any social contact whatsoever. I knew I’d become a burden, and that felt repulsive to me.