Life today is like a hamster wheel: Everyone is going, going, going with endless to do lists and what feels like the weight of the world on their shoulders. This is probably why 75 percent of American adults who suffer from an anxiety disorder have their first experience of anxiety by the age of 22.
That means, your average college student is a prime candidate for conditions ranging from mild depression to panic disorders. That is why a senior at Florida Atlantic University is looking to raise awareness and help others who experience anxiety, just like him, through music.
Austin Hull, a 21-year old, self-employed music producer and secondary education major, has suffered from anxiety for half a year, affecting his daily life and opening his eyes to how such conditions can affect a person.
“I’ve always been a worrier and easily stressed out, but I never had true anxiety until five to six months ago,” says Hull. “It all just hit me one random night, and I had a panic attack so bad I thought I was having a stroke. Since that night, my anxiety has been pretty consistent throughout every day and flares up to be worse at certain times.”
He suffers from health anxiety which is synonymous with hypochondria. “Basically I can have a headache, and I’ll worry about a brain tumor or a stomach ache, and I’ll worry about appendicitis,” he says.
“It’s frustrating because I know that I am most likely fine but my mind is telling my body that I’m dying when I’m not.”
But instead of letting his anxiety get the best of him, Hull is using it for the greater good. He’s letting his singer/songwriter skills take center stage and is releasing his single, “Dear Me”, today, August 19. He will donate all of the song’s profits to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
“‘Dear Me’ is written about me having a panic attack and having to talk myself down from it,” explains Hull. “I wrote this song so it can be a letter to people suffering from all types of anxiety or depression. The song is truly about rising up when you’re feeling low and knowing that everything will settle down in your mind and everything will be okay.”
The pop track features upbeat instrumentals with words of empowerment and understanding for those who suffer from anxiety disorders. At the same time, it offers those who may not be affected by severe anxiety an inside look at what goes through the mind of someone who does.
He continues, “I had the first line pop into my head and within 10 minutes they were done. It was so quick because I knew exactly what I wanted to say. I kept the lyrics as honest and interesting as possible.” And within just a couple of days, the project was completed. But, that didn’t mean it was ready for release.
“I just want to be there for people who need the support. It’s all about spreading the love and support it takes to get through anxiety and depression.”
“I really wrote this song to help me when I was struggling and it did,” says Hull. “Writing this track has helped my anxiety so much over the past month. Since it helped me, I decided I should release it because maybe it can help other people who are going through tough times as well.”
In addition to the music, Hull says that his support system of friends and family has been the “biggest thing” in helping him manage his anxiety, but recognizes that not everyone is so lucky. So, to aid in the efforts to insure that more people are able to find support and resources, Hull opted to charge for his song rather than only put it on Youtube for free listening.
He has released the song on , Amazon and other various digital retailers so that the public can purchase it for $0.99.
“I’ve learned that today is the only thing that matters and you can’t spend your life worrying about things you can’t control,” says Hull on his journey with anxiety. “I have to let life take its course with me and just enjoy the time I’m given, whether it’s another hour or another 70 years.”
Check out Hull’s YouTube channel to see a lyric video for “Dear Me” and his other music: