“It’s important to not only set realistic expectations, but to also set boundaries.”

Radio presenter and health activist, Bridget Hustwaite, shares her journey:

As someone with a chronic illness, anxiety has had a looming presence in my life for a number of years. But I did notice it peak upon entering the music industry as an aspiring presenter.

I think my “music industry” anxiety stemmed from the known sense of instability that comes with working in a creative field. Beyond the artists, there is so much unpaid work being done by managers, PR, tour crew, photographers, reviewers, community broadcasters… all to build experience, contacts and ultimately to keep the scene alive.

We are all here because we are passionate, but there is no denying the social and financial sacrifices that are made. There is also no certainty that our efforts will actually lead to a secure, paid role. For me, it took five years of juggling multiple casual jobs with volunteer music work and commuting from regional Victoria to Melbourne at all sorts of hours. Throughout this period, I wanted to give up many times and found it hard to speak with friends outside of the music industry who didn’t understand what it was like. I felt a constant lump in my throat about all my work leading to nothing. 

Being accessible via social media and working a late shift roster also makes the notion of “switching off” incredibly difficult, which I’m sure many within the industry can relate to. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to get everything done and get back to every single person immediately, and this can really heighten our anxiety. It’s important to not only set realistic expectations, but to also set boundaries. We need to be able to separate ourselves from our work and find a healthy balance where we can also focus on self-care strategies like mindfulness, journaling, exercise etc. 

Ultimately, don’t be afraid to speak up about your struggles and ask for help. Not only will this set you on your own path of support, but you are helping reduce stigma around mental health, and you could potentially be helping somebody else who was afraid to take their own steps in managing their anxiety.