We are finally here; part-two of my interview with Daniel Winter-Bates of Bury Tomorrow! I can only thank you all for being so patient, and I hope you’ve all enjoyed some amazing chats I’ve had with some awesome people. Now, we get to return to maybe my biggest opportunity so far and continue my discussion with Daniel.
“Were you offered any programmes or CBT in your teens?”
“I hadn’t reached out. My acute phase of anorexia was quite short-lived. It was a couple of years but hadn’t gone far enough for hospitalization, yet. I may well have done, at some point, but I just snapped out of it, in that sense. Which is not an easy thing to do or a healthy thing to do either. Looking back now, I needed help to get out of that mindset and the thought process because it was all self-loathing. That was why it was happening, for me. For other people, they’re not so lucky in that sense. They struggle and struggle for years and years, their whole lives for some people. Which is really tough.”
This all just goes to show the severity of how no-one will reach out to you until you reach out to them. The fact that we have to essentially call for help is a terrifying thing as, for many people, it’s a lot easier said than done.
“It was almost a perfect storm [for me] because I think in a natural environment, my parents would’ve. They had done all the way up until I was presenting, and I think the difficulty was that I was always so good at masking. Like so, so good at what I did. Maybe the eating disorder helped mask the other stuff. I Should’ve really received counselling, but I was never offered it by the police, so when it all happened, I don’t remember being offered it for that. I would suggest anyone that has been through a traumatic incident should be offered counselling, and I wasn’t at the time.”
As Daniel is now in his thirty’s, it should be noted that all of these problems were over fifteen/sixteen years ago and he is now a veteran within the NHS, so he can guarantee that there are better services. Daniel has been part of those trusts for some time now.
“Thinking back now, between 1999 and 2006, around that era there was like this feeling around the alternative subculture like that’s what is expected. It was expected that people were a bit low, or a bit distant, or a bit anxious because it was always like that was our thing. Not that we were trying to perpetuate that; It was society’s outcast. And now, because of social media, it’s harder in some places, but I do think that alternative subculture is better known. You’re not just the weird kids, with the hoodies on, who wear makeup. That was what we were. I’d wear eyeliner to school, and I’d have long, black hair, and people would talk to you. We’d only talk to our fellow emos or goth, and that’s being going on since the [nineteen] nineties and further into the eighties, as well.”
Being segregated into different cultures in school days is what can form you as a person. The stereotypes begin to catch up with you and then you start developing into the traits perceived by the outsiders of your subculture. That’s a problem. It’s a dangerous path to becoming what is expected of you.
The divide of discriminatory labels, within our youth, have residual effects of both your own views and your peers. Subcultures should be respected and welcomed whether that be being a Chav, a Goth, or any other.
Becoming an advocate for mental health:
Daniel Winter-Bates dropped out of college following a successful record deal with his band, Bury Tomorrow. After that he began to understand the reality behind his actions and realised that he needed to find a career as a back-up outside of his musical counterpart. That’s when he took the opportunity to work for the NHS, thus, beginning his climb up the ladder…
“I joined the NHS when I was eighteen. So, two days after my eighteenth birthday I joined as an Admin Assistant on a Zero-hour contract. I wanted a job and I had family within the NHS. My mum was a Matron at the time within the NHS. So, when joining there, I again started to segregate my world’s. I’d always present myself differently working for the NHS than working with the band. I’d cover my tattoos and I had tunnels at the time as well. I had thirty/forty mil’ tunnels so I used to take them out and present myself as very performance-driven and I did really well in the NHS. I continued to do so in the performance world. I was really good at analytics, tracking performance and supporting people to do that. So, not really in the mental health world. I work for an acute hospital in Southampton, and kinda worked my way up the ranks, in that sense, but was always on an agency because of the band. So, I’d float in-and-out. Then, about six years ago I decided that I wanted to make a go of it, and I really want to push this forward. It was about this time that I had my break[down].
… I realised that I’ve always advocated for equality, inclusivity, and diversity through Twitter and social media. I’d always stick to my morals and never bang on that. We’ve always been a band that’s supporting large levels of inclusivity and we always want to learn culture and we want to learn from other people. That’s what we’ve always been driven by. Never driven by fame. We’ve always been a band for our fans, not for anyone else because we’ve been screwed over by labels and management, and magazines, radio, and by our careers, and so the people that were a constant in that were our fans.”
“We’ve always been known as the band that loves the people around us and will do anything for our fans. That’s what we always were and that’s the reason why I bring that up. We have the same mindset of wanting to support, do more, and be more than just saying you love your fans which means nothing if you don’t put it into practice.”
“I was always one for talking about mental health and talking people through it but never really identifying myself with it until I had my break. It was so obvious. It was so clear. At that point, I realised that I had to pull those worlds closer together. That’s three worlds. It’s the NHS side and my career, my band and that career, and then my own, lived experience when it comes to all things like inclusivity and reducing stigma and really being able to talk about this because I was able to recognise there was stigma around mental health and alternative subculture within the NHS. There wasn’t anybody that really looks like me and there still isn’t in senior management positions. I don’t know any higher executives that have as many visible tattoos as me. I don’t know many people within my level that has as many tattoos as me, and even in the band world, I know I’m not the most tattooed person out there that is in the metal scene. So I wanted to pull them together and focus on be me, being authentic, and weirdly, it worked!”
With a desire to be more and to advocate more, Daniel moved away from the services that he had become accustom to and begin developing his skills all-round by working within different care groups from Hepatology to Neurology me. He’s done it all. Moving into a corporate role that gave him the opportunity to add inclusivity into his career and show that he is wanted to not only listen to your struggles but help you through them. To me, it sounded like Daniel was trying to eliminate the sense of hierarchy that, for some, determines their worth.
“Hierarchy is where stigma is born. It’s like because you can’t be, you are unable. That’s wrong. We should be supporting people in equity rather that equality. You should treat people how you want to be treated and give them the opportunity to thrive.”
Using his platform to advocate mental health.
Over the years, Daniel has tallied up a total of over forty-thousand Instagram followers and over twenty-thousand Twitter followers. So, using that connectivity with his and Bury Tomorrow’s fanbase, he realised that he had another opportunity to advocate mental health to a wider spectrum, outside of the NHS.
“I need to do this through the band, as well. If I’m telling people to be authentic, and I’m telling people talk about their stories, and I’m telling people to reach out then it’s pretty wrong that I don’t use my biggest platform. I mean actively using it for mental health and support. It’s a bit neglectful really and that’s when I started doing the Safe Spaces. I set up safe spaces when I was on tour. When we did the first Black Flame tour, I organised every one of the dates to have a safe space so people could go somewhere away from the venue to avoid the music stigma that was there. Working with non-profits and local business, I’d have a Mental Health Practitioner there with me. You didn’t even need to have a ticket to the show, know our band, or even like our band, someone could refer you to it… Then we’d spent two-hours talking about their journey and my journey, and we had the Practitioner there for safety, just in case someone was triggered by the conversations. We’d talk about tools and techniques, too! It was a really cool unification of everything that I’d been working towards… That was the moment where I was like, that is me at my best.”
How to balance an Extrovertive lifestyle as an Introvert.
Although self-confessing himself as an introvert, Dan appears to have chosen very extroverted career paths. His roles within the NHS have always been that of an extrovert, such as a carer or a guest speaker, just as his position in Bury Tomorrow as a frontman. We laughed about the irony of his extrovertive counterpart and discussed the metaphorical masks of people in society. Masks that help cover the face of an introvert to express a more outgoing and adventurous lifestyle. Daniel Winter-Bates is the living embodiment of the difficultly it is to tell how someone may be feeling on the inside with such a positive outside.
“Thinking about it from a physiological perspective, you can trick you mind to be confident. You can; absolutely trick your mind. Thinking step-by-step, I’m never going to be the life of the party but what makes me an introvert is that I worry about how I present myself. I worry about people’s perception of me; I’d never want to be the focal point in a room but that doesn’t stop me from being assertive and confident because my assertiveness comes from the fact that I understand that I can get worried in situations. So, what am I going to do to change that and what am I going to do to support my own mental wellness? By saying that I’m excited and I can honestly say that I’m excited about being in a band but there has never been a show since our first year that I’ve had stage fright, never, because I’m not worried because I know how I’m going to present myself because I’ve done it. In saying that, I’ve done a lot of work on presenting myself in interviews within the NHS like sharing meetings and leading sessions. It’s tough you know. I had to do a lot of work on that but, as I said, that moment when I pulled those two-worlds together was perfect because that imprint of extravertive[ness], which is the mask, imprinted on my NHS work and it was easy. It was almost overnight; It was weird.”
Daniel has accomplished a lot in his career and has used his experiences to transmit energy and confidence into his multiple lifestyles. By using his confidence during performing live in front of thousands of people he is able to understand the difference in perception. It’s a societal barrier that has been presented to us to divide the two-worlds.
Thank you for your patience in this write-up and there is still one-part to come so hold tight and enjoy the conclusion of this inspiring story. Next time we will compare similarities in presenting ourselves and advice he can share with us on the subject. I hope you enjoyed this write-up and I’ll see you next time.
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