'I've come a long way': Beatrice Deer on moving past addiction, anxiety and anger
Originally published June 3, 2018.
Writing her latest album, My All to You, was an emotional experience for Beatrice Deer.
"I remember feeling that verbal expression is very limited but music is like 1,000 words coming out all at once and you're not even talking," Deer said.
Deer started expressing those feelings through her guitar, making this the first album where she not only wrote the lyrics but the music, too.
"It felt really good to release those feelings. I think that music touches so many people. Without the words, the person that's listening still feels the song," she added.
"All those traumas shaped me"
"My family has gone through a lot of loss. I've lost a sister to suicide and two siblings in a tragic fire. There's so many of our people that experience so much trauma and we've never had time to process anything until another trauma happens, and another one, and another one," Deer explained.
"Ever since I was a teenager, I started drinking right away, I started a family right away. And I was so angry. And I didn't understand why," she said.
Deer said she experienced childhood sexual abuse and was in a dysfunctional relationship from a very young age until she went through a divorce. She experienced physical, emotional and mental abuse.
She found her life had no direction. Depressed, angry and describing her life as joyless, she also battled with crippling anxiety.
Deer explained the song was written about the moment she heard a calling and decided to make changes in her life.
"I was sitting at my computer desk and crying, crying, crying, like I always had been for years. Just crying in despair and thinking there's gotta be more to this. There's gotta be happiness and the only way I'm gonna find out is if I do something that I have never done before — quit drinking," she said.
It's something Deer had tried many times before.
"And I would make every excuse to have a drink again. 'Oh, it's my birthday, it's my friend's birthday, it's Christmas, it's summer now, I sing better, I'm sad, I'm tired.' Like, the list was endless. So I decided, before I kill myself, I want to see if I can just taste a little bit [of] what genuine joy feels like. So I have to do this. And I did," she said.
Deer also decided this time nothing was going to get in her way.
"I decided no matter what, no matter how tempted I am, I am going to quit drinking because I want to get to the bottom of this feeling, this depression, this sadness, this worthlessness, this hopelessness. And no one is going to do that for me except me."
"I understood the roots of everything I was going through and feeling and the more I took responsibility of going through this process, the more empowered I felt, the more I saw my strength and my independence," she said.
"I've gone through hell and I want to share that you can come out."
"I have hope and dreams"
Deer said she now wakes up happy and content.
"The biggest thing is that I have trust in myself. Because I didn't have that. That was broken when I was broken, when I was a child. And then from that it remained broken until I took it and started opening it up and sorting all the broken pieces, and mending." she said.