My Battle with Anxiety and Depression

Welcome to Kai Nanfelt Music!

Thanks so much for checking out the website! Today marks the first official day of my career as an artist – and I’m here to stay. Between YouTube, social media, and blogs like these, my goal is to let fans get to know the real Kai.

Moving forward under this section of my website, I will post the occasional blog providing general life updates, accomplishments, goals, stories, and anything else that may be applicable to my musical journey. However, I think it’s also important for me to use my newfound platform to evoke some sort of change. Therefore, I’ve decided to make a concerted effort to discuss my battle with anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

I’ve got to say, posting this makes me immensely uncomfortable. I hate sharing my private life; as a matter of fact, some of my closest friends still have no knowledge of my struggles. But much like many others, I have suffered in silence for far too long. The fact that intimate conversations relating to mental health are so frequently swept under the rug only compounds the issue.

Point is, no one likes to talk about it. Personally, I feel a deep sense of shame to even entertain the notion that I “have it bad.” I have always felt so guilty about having the privileged life I do. Truth is, I am very blessed: I have a wonderful and successful family; my parents are still married; I received a phenomenal education at Boston University; I couldn’t ask for better friends; I have a true passion in music and songwriting, and I’m a New England Patriots fan (so I’m used to winning).

But that doesn’t mean that every day is perfect, either. And I want anyone who reads this to know, that is okay. Progress is not linear. Take my experiences as evidence:

There have been many, many days when I simply couldn’t get myself out of bed. My friends always made fun of me for getting up at 3pm, but had no idea that was why. (Surprise!)

I haven’t spent a single day sober since early 2017. I’ve abused pills, weed, booze; you name it. Hell, I even consume far too much caffeine and nicotine.

I went to 90% of my college classes high out of my mind, and honestly don’t remember even taking an exam sober. Sobriety (or lack thereof) has also been a huge issue for me.

I had a binge-eating phase in college, and have watched my weight fluctuate many times as my body adjusted to new SSRI medications.

Before that, I had a bulimic phase – in fucking middle school. At just 14 years old, I spent at least three hours exercising daily and lost 20 pounds in six weeks. All because I was bullied for being overweight.

Between 2014-2019, I never once cried. I simply couldn’t bring myself to that emotional state (shoutout to Brandi Carlile for absolutely shattering my soul and rebuilding it the correct way).

When I walk into a room, I feel like everyone is staring at me or simply wants me to leave. I’ve convinced myself that everybody hates me at one point or another – no joke, one time I even convinced myself my dog hates me! (This is what we call social anxiety, kids)

I stay up until 5am nearly every night (why, just why?)

I have had my fair share of intrusive or suicidal thoughts.

Being vulnerable online like this is absolutely terrifying for me. I’m afraid of judgment, and often isolate myself from others by avoiding posting on social media. I’m one of those people who gets annoyed at others for social media addiction. Truthfully speaking, this whole “blog” and “YouTube” thing is a work in progress for me. I love making my music, but I hate self-promotion. I’m basically forcing myself to do all of this, for the sake of my music. But you know something? Maybe that type of tangible growth is exactly what others need right now. At the end of the day, the only goal in my writing (song-or-otherwise) is to help others.

The skeptic in me would assume that anyone reading this thinks I’m profoundly unstable. Even as I write this, I feel like I’m talking myself into sharing my deepest and darkest secrets; I’m exposing myself. The fact of the matter, though, is that there are so many others out there who feel the same way I do, and nobody wants to talk about it. These discussions must be at the forefront of today’s world, especially now that it is so interconnected. I also believe that therapy also must become normalized; tending to your mental health should be seen in the same light as going to the gym. You’re strong for working on yourself, plain and simple.
As someone who spent many years (and even leading up to this moment) suffering in silence, my main message for others in my shoes is the following:

You are not alone. You are not crazy. You are valid in the way you feel. Ignore the stigmas. Most importantly, do not be ashamed of your struggles or who you are. You deserve to be here and you will come out stronger on the other side.

Sounds cliche, right? I wonder why…

Candidly,
Kai

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