Health / Music

Civil Youth’s Mike Kepko Opens Up About Mental Health

Civil Youth is one of our favorite bands here at Cliché. With their powerful sound and even more powerful lyrics, we know that their music connects with many and their lyrics bring light to what it’s like to struggle with the weight of mental health. We asked lead singer of Civil Youth, Mike Kepko, about his Mental Health walk and what it’s been like for him. He vulnerably opened up with his “I Am Here.” Check it out below:


For whatever reason, I always see two drastic “groups” when it comes to mental health. Those who flaunt about it, thinking it’s a cool/trending thing to have, or those who don’t say a word about what they’re going through. I don’t know when it became cool not being able to breathe or feeling like you have nothing left to the point of ending your life, so this is for the introverted people who don’t wear their feelings on their arms.

For someone who has gone through depression, anxiety, paranoia, panic attacks, and even sleep paralysis, I’ve tried everything to cope. For each person, it’s going to be different, and in my opinion, only time and self-growth will help you realize how to overcome these things. That’s not to discourage anyone who’s going through this or worse things, but rather a light at the end of the tunnel. Greatness and happiness are on the other side of fear.

I remember while I was writing Who Rescued Who, I found things out about myself that I never knew I had. It put me into a huge depression. I would have panic attacks every night around the same time, I couldn’t sleep, and it made me scared to leave my house just because I didn’t want to have a situation outside. I tried everything from music and sound therapy to aromatherapy to eventually going to see a shrink. All of this helped TONS. The self-inflicted therapies were easier to do since it was just me, but I had such a hard time admitting I had a problem and seeking professional help. I thought it made me weaker or “crazy.” Crazy is just a term to write off the issue and to put it aside. It’s a made-up word, just like snitlzelfritz. It doesn’t matter; just go seek help. It’s their job. Over the matter of time, I learned new ways to deal and to keep myself occupied. I found more than ever how important music was to me, which set me on the path of self-righteousness.

I think what I’m trying to say is: just find what you’re meant to do and do it. IT IS OKAY TO NEED HELP. IT’S OKAY TO SAY YOU HAVE A PROBLEM. Look at me; I did and I’m doing more than fine now. In my coming to, I found there are 3 stages in overcoming fear:

– Arrogance (corresponding to the definition of lacking knowledge)
– Being just (knowing the bare minimum and fabricating scenarios)
– Knowledge (understanding the nooks and crannies of all things which put you on the other side of fear)

Once you’re on the other side, it’s pure bliss. You have control and you understand who you are as a person. I believe you can get there. Try the things I did. Let me know. All mental health articles are ways to cope, which I even mentioned some ways that helped me, but what people don’t get is the support. The point of writing this blog to you is MY support in your life. I AM here.


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Civil Youth’s Mike Kepko Opens Up About Mental Health: Photographed by Imani Givertz

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