GUEST BLOG: Odds Are – by Alasdair

Alasdair writes a blog post for Get Barenaked explaining why BNL’s fun and carefree nature became really important to him.


The odds are that we will probably be alright: Why my relationship with the Barenaked Ladies will always be more than simple fandom

I have always been a reserved, thoughtful and generally quiet person and, while we may not be dealing in the realms of muted speech, it has bothered me for as long as I can remember.

The problem with being a naturally reserved person is that, not only do you try and awkwardly force strained conversation out of your system on occasion, but your inner monologue also goes into overdrive.

Trying to manage an exterior conversation and another internal one reverberating around your brain-box isn’t the easiest.

When I moved away to university I thought this was my opportunity to change who I am and what I am like.

However, when something is so deeply engrained into your personality it isn’t easy to suddenly flick the ‘on’ switch and it soon proved to be a problem.

In 2013, during my second year at university, I went through the most painful, personal episode I have ever experienced – the details of which I wish to keep to myself.

It broke me. Any modicum of self-confidence I had gained before was totally decimated and the sense of who I was and what I was doing vanished.

For someone who often finds it difficult to open up I subsequently never asked for help.

I was torn up, blamed myself for everything that had gone wrong, experienced severe anxiety and depression, cut myself off from the world and just wanted to give up.

Because of my inability to ask for help I let it simmer and the guilt ate me up.

When I eventually plucked up the courage to call out I received fantastic counselling support from the university and I was prescribed antidepressants.

It is at this point where my favourite band, the Barenaked Ladies, come in.

I was introduced to the Canadian band when I was a kid, by my dad, after he played me “If I Had $1,000,000”.

I was instantly hooked and have been a massive fan ever since.

At my lowest possible point the Barenaked Ladies happened to release their 10th album Grinning Streak. The band obviously had no idea but it could not have been timed better.

Track five on that record, “Odds Are”, was exactly what I needed at that moment.

The lyrics in the chorus: “The odds are that we will probably be alright,” sound simple enough but I cannot underestimate how vital that message was and still is – the odds were in my favour and I was going to be alright.

While this song was the kicker, the band’s fun and carefree nature, which I had always loved, became so much more important to me.

The music and performing style wasn’t just for my enjoyment and entertainment any longer – it soon became an inspiration to let go and accept myself.

I realised that being quiet was never the problem – it was actually the inability for me to accept that it was ok to be.

I worked hard on accepting myself, for who I am, and to absolve myself of any guilt and mistakes I may have made or may make in the future.

All of this effort and support, from my nearest and dearest, is why I am where I am now.

I worked out that my strengths didn’t lie in being the interesting person in a conversation but that my character actually made me suitable for telling the stories of others – which is why I now work as a journalist.

I still find it uncomfortable to talk about and, as such, this has been one of the hardest pieces I will ever write.

However, after seeing so many others speaking out on mental health, and reading personal accounts that helped me recover, I hope that someone, somewhere may feel the same way about mine.

Discussion is the way we dismiss all remaining stigma and battle mental health properly.


This week (8-14 May) is Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK – read more about the campaign here.

A big thanks to Alasdair for sharing such a considered and open blog post with Get Barenaked.

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