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Scalphunter Frontman Reveals Anxiety Battle Following Unprovoked Assault

11 July 2016 | 2:14 pm | Steven Knoth

"I woke in hospital with 16 facial stitches, torn ligaments in my ankle as well as a barrage of other cuts and bruises."

Set to perform at mental health-awareness gig Jam Sandwich next Friday, Scalphunter frontman Steven Knoth writes about a traumatic, unprovoked assault he suffered in 2006, how it still affects him today, and why opening a dialogue is important.

Scalphunter manager and WAM’s Marketing & Communications Officer, Aarom Wilson (ex-Editor of The Music Perth), was also the victim of an unprovoked attacked, in November after the WAM Festival. You can read his 7 Things I Learned From Getting Punched In The Back Of The Head article here.

Steven ‘Goodlooks’ Knoth, Lead singer of Scalphunter:

In 2006 I was involved in an incident that would influence my life heavily for the next few years, and as I am learning, for the rest of my life.

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Innocently walking through Northbridge on a Wednesday night I was attacked from behind with a glass bottle by eight cowards. The attack was completely unprovoked and to this day I have no idea who the attackers who they were or why they attacked me. I had one friend with me who potentially saved my life by jumping in front of the head kicks from multiple attackers, breaking his ribs in the process, giving me a split second to get back to my feet and an opportunity to defend myself.

I woke in hospital with 16 facial stitches, torn ligaments in my ankle as well as a barrage of other cuts and bruises. However, the thing that would stay with me from the attack was something I had never knowingly felt before, Anxiety. I took one step outside of my house the day after the attack and I felt my chest cave in, I thought I was having a heart attack. My legs went weak, my vision blurry and I fell, hyperventilating to the floor. These intense feelings I had never felt before would consume my life every day for the next year.

It took me a few weeks to admit to myself that I was having panic attacks/acute anxiety, whatever you want to call it. ‘Hell no, that’s not me’ I would tell myself ‘there must be something else wrong with me’. So I started an agonising process of self-diagnosing myself with every disease known to man and subsequently making the arduous anxiety fuelled trips to the doctor/hospital to be professionally diagnosed with whatever disease I convinced myself I had. But it never came. What did come was a referral to a Psychiatrist. It began to sink in. I have anxiety.

I am not going to delve deeply into my treatment, but after three months of weekly visits to the Psychiatrist, she gave me the option to trial some medication. So for a short time I did. I am not condoning the use of medication nor am I against it. It is a solely individual choice; you have to decide if it is the right thing for you. But I will say, for me, it gave me a window of peace in my head, whether it was a placebo or not, to start tackling this new challenge in my life. A band aid to help me deal with the real issues at centre of my anxiety. I did feel a major sense of accomplishment when I was able to stop the medication completely.

I told my music friends I was concentrating on theatre, I told my theatre friends I was concentrating on my music and used every excuse I had in the book to avoid situations that triggered my anxiety and basically became a hermit. Anyone who knows me knows that I love nothing more than being with people in social situations, performing whenever I can, I was truly stripped of that and that was the thing that really hurt. I couldn’t be me.

Why am I writing this piece? For the sole reason that if there is somebody out there I know suffering, struggling with anxiety, I feel your pain. I could write another thousand words easily on my own experience, so if you want to, come and talk to me. Because I promise you there is a light at the end the tunnel. You can recover 100% and take your life back. One of my most powerful lessons I have learnt in overcoming my anxiety didn’t come from a doctor or psychiatrist, it came from my darling wife. And it’s very simple, she has taught me to live in the present moment. Whenever I have had episodes of anxiety she reminds me to stop, take in my surroundings, and know that right now, in this moment, everything is ok. And during that process the anxiety seems to melt away and I feel sane again!

The past is the past, the future is yours to make, all that matter is right now. The show must go on.

The double-stage Rosemount Hotel Jam Sandwich will see 12 locals play in an effort to raise funds and awareness for The National Youth Mental Health Organisation, Headspace. See theGuide for more info.