Earlier this year, Dallas, Texas-based metalcore group Fit for a King released their most personal album to date, Dark Skies. On the record, frontman Ryan Kirby opens up in his lyrics about his struggles with anxiety and depression, the ills of social media and, explicitly for the first time, the band members' Christian faith. The crushing single "Backbreaker" tackles Kirby's social anxiety, which used to "cripple" him, according to the singer. "I think a lot of times anxiety and depression go hand in hand because being overly anxious, it makes you not feel great about yourself a lot," he says. "I know there's no instant cure for depression or else everyone would want it.
"It can take years, but I think years of training your mind and think positively over time and take each day as good as you can, hopefully each day gets easier. Even if it takes five years for you to finally say, 'I'm fine now.'"
For our continuing "Songs for Black Days" series, presented in partnership with Hope for the Day, we asked Kirby to share some of the music that has helped him through his dark times. Below is what he offered up.
This band has always been a staple for me when I am in a rut. So many of their songs can pull me up or give me a new perspective. This is my go-to track when I am letting things that are, in the grand scheme of things, minor, get to me.
This is a band not many people know about, mainly because they only put out a couple of records and didn't tour much, but this song has helped keep in perspective that while you might not like who you are now, you can change, and life is a learning experience. Which sometimes, I need that reminder.
This song is so inspirational and helps remind me that the troubles I face today can be building blocks for a "better life." But those troubles are only beneficial if I use them in a productive way.
This is a new song compared to the others, but the line, "Everybody wants to change the world/But one things clear/No one wants to change themselves," absolutely inspires me to not just look to try and make the world a better place, but to realize that sometimes I have to change myself and how I think to accomplish that goal.
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of resources.