**Content Warning: Talk of self harm and mental health issues.**
A poignant meditation on some of her darkest hours, Constance Keane aka Fears has shared her latest single ‘two_’. The experimental pop artist has transformed her struggles with self-harm into a gentle, cathartic new offering, specially commissioned for the Northern Ireland Mental Health Arts Festival.
Today marks the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week here in the UK & Northern Ireland and Fears is helping to raise awareness of this with the self-directed accompanying video for her track. The visuals feature repurposed footage of Fears and her family, depicting the non-linear path of recovery from trauma. She tenderly confesses in her lyrics “If not for my family / I’d never have healed,” a sentiment that’s reflected in the footage she’s chosen to share.
Two years on from receiving inpatient treatment in a hospital in Dublin, Fears now uses her musical creations as a form of therapy. “Creativity was, and still is, such a huge part of recovery for me,” she explains. “So to be part of a festival showcasing the creativity of people with mental health issues is incredible. I think when it comes to budget cuts for the mental health sector, creative resources are too often the first to go, so it’s great to see a group celebrating the significance of being creative in maintaining positive mental health.”
For many who suffer with mental health issues, the road to recovery requires immense amounts of patience and a huge shift in perspective. Fears extrapolates on this further: “For me, there is no final point where I’ve ‘gotten better’. I am better than I was before, but ‘better’ isn’t a destination. It’s about learning, maintenance and forging trust in myself.”
“It’s important for me to discuss the topic of self harm; it’s something I’ve been trying to figure out how to approach for a while now. I don’t endorse self harm. It’s an unhealthy coping mechanism when you’re distressed; but it’s also incredibly common. Within the improving awareness and discussion around mental health, I feel self harm still carries the weight of secrecy and shame. I have lines on my leg from hurting myself a few years ago. They’re most likely going to be there for a very long time. I want to wear shorts in summer. I’m going to wear shorts in summer.”
Fears’ determination and honesty in the face of adversity makes listening to ‘two_’ all the more poignant and necessary. If you’ve been affected by any of the issues discussed in this post, please reach out to Mind or other mental health charities.