I was fortunate to see Beth Hart in concert this week. Here is a video from that night of her singing/playing her song relating to her experience with mental illness “Everything Must Change” and an interview about it (and more) from HuffPo:
MR: Beth, let’s talk about “Everything Must Change.” You’ve actually had some major life changes especially over the last couple of years, haven’t you?
BH: Yeah. It seems like my whole life has been major changes on every corner. I’ve always struggled with bipolar disorder but I never was medicated as a kid for it. I kind of self-medicated, which led me into a lot of problems with drug addiction and whatnot. Then I finally just had to get sober, and this was many years ago, right around when I married my husband. We’re coming up on twelve years of being married. All the doctors were telling me, “It’s not going to take just being sober, you’re going to have to go on some sort of medication probably.” I said, “No I don’t, I’m going to be sober and I’m going to get my life together,” and I did. I got sober, I still had my weird little head shit, but I was doing pretty good, I’d started working in Europe, things were going pretty good, I was building a career, my second chance career was happening there. I was feeling really good and I was kind of being a little bit of a brat, saying to my doctors, “See, I told you I could get sober,” and they were saying , “No, you’re in remission. You’d better watch it.”
They were right, because about five years ago, I had my worst decline mentally I’ve ever had, stone cold sober, and ended up going to the hospital. So everything changed. That song was written as soon as I got out, and it was all about what I experienced in there. I’d been to hospitals before, but never for such a long run, and usually when they let you out, you just get semi-stable and then they let you out. But this time, I had to get not only stable but they wanted to keep me and watch, so I was in there for a good month and a week. On the last week that I was there, I realized that whatever kind of darkness in life, all people have their own difficulties they deal with, that we know that when things are really good, we know that they have to change. But I think I forgot that when things are bad that, too, will change. That will also change, and it will get better and it will get hard again and it will get better and it’s this journey of life, so I just tried to bring in a lot of different metaphors. In the song, I talk about the outlaw and I talk about the little women dancing and I’m trying to use these different pictures of how when things are good, they get bad, and when they’re bad, they get good again, especially at the end of the song when I talk about my mother and my way of saying goodbye to her when she’s dying. “Mom, don’t be afraid, because it must change. That’s part of the natural law. Everything must change.”
MR: The title “Everything Must Change” has been used often prior to your own song about life because it’s such a constant, it’s like street wisdom. People want things to stay as they are, but they, and we, just can’t.
BH: They cannot. And I think one of the great things to recognize is when things do change for us, especially when they’re going good and they get really ugly or really difficult, it’s not because we’re bad or created something bad, it’s just the natural journey of life. Everyone’s got their own destiny and their own paths, and I think that our paths are meant to be filled with joy and dreams and even tragedy and that’s just a part of it. We can either flow with it or we can pretend like it’s not supposed to happen and every time, have our asses kicked because we’re expecting it to stay good and that’s just not the natural law of things.