MSU student uses music to help fight feelings of suicide and depression
Business-preference sophomore Murphy Nye has been alive for 19 years. For about a fifth of that time, he said he hadn’t wanted to be.
Nye’s depression began when he was in high school. He said he used to be a really happy, outgoing kid. After he reached ninth grade, everything flipped.
“I was deprived of feeling,” he said. “It was really sad because it wasn’t the fact I was just sad all the time. I was sad because I couldn’t feel anything.”
Logically, Nye said he knew this didn’t make sense. He had a fantastic family and he worked hard at sports. He even was All-state in lacrosse both his junior and senior year of high school, he said.
It didn’t matter. Nye said his condition worsened to the point he was admitted into a psychiatric hospital by his parents because they feared he would kill himself.
“I couldn’t even get out of bed most days, like I just gave up,” Nye said.
A chemical imbalance in his body was ultimately discovered. Nye is known as an under-methylator. His body is incapable of breaking down folate, or the B9 vitamin, he said.
According to the Psychology Today website, L-Methylfolate is the form of folic acid that passes through the blood-brain barrier and is involved in neurotransmitter synthesis. According to the website, “It indirectly facilitates the synthesis of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, three neurotransmitters involved in mood regulation and other important functions.”
Or, as Nye said, it affects things people basically need to feel happy.
“It’s like a plant without any nutrients,” Nye said. “If you don’t have the nutrients, it’s not going to be able to grow. That was basically my brain.”
Before being diagnosed with his deficiency, Nye said he turned to music for solace. Growing up, his mom always played music from artists like Beatles and Michael Jackson. When his depression worsened around a year ago before he discovered his condition, he said he picked up the guitar.
During this stage in his life, Nye said he looked to artists like John Mayer, Jack Johnson and Pearl Jam, who he felt were really soulful and expressed themselves through music. In fact, some of their music has saved Nye’s life, he said.
During January of his freshman year at MSU, Nye said he was listening to music on his headphones on his way to the train tracks. He said he didn’t have a solid plan for what he was going to do except that he wanted to end his life. However, the song ”" by John Mayer started playing and made him turn back.
Another instance happened during the summer between his freshman and sophomore year. Nye said he was sitting in his garage with the garage door closed and his car running. That’s when the song ”" by Pearl Jam started playing. Nye said once more he changed his mind and his life was saved by music.
Since these incidents, Nye has started taking a supplement to help his deficiency and now wants to help other people.
“Every month since the summer has been one that I didn’t expect next,” he said. “I’ve been blessed. I really have.”
Nye helps others musically in a couple ways. One way is by offering music lessons to friends and other people around MSU’s campus. One such person is computer engineering freshman John Camilleri.
Camilleri said he first tried to teach himself how to play some fundamentals in guitar, but he started taking lessons with Nye about six months ago when he hit a block in his musical education.
“He’s encouraging,” Camilleri said. “He teaches in a way where it’s really easy for me to understand. If I don’t understand something, he’ll dumb it down so that I understand it better.”
Some of the things Nye taught Camilleri include chord progressions and what notes sound good with certain chords. Camilleri said he knew Nye in high school, but that it’s only within the past year that they became good friends.
“I’m not just saying this because he’s my friend, but he’s one of the most caring people I’ve ever met,” Camilleri said. “He always brings a smile to my face when I’m around him. I love to be around him whether we’re playing the guitar or not playing the guitar.”
Nye said he charges $10 for half an hour of lessons or $20 for an hour in either the guitar or piano. He said it’s not set in stone though. One time a girl paid for a half hour session but then she and Nye ended up talking for an hour.
“It’s just fun for me to talk about something I’m passionate about,” Nye said. “It’s really not even like a job. It’s something I do already. It’s kind of cool just to make a couple bucks off it.”
The other way Nye wants to help others is through the new student organization he founded called Concerts for Cures.
Nye said the group will put on concerts to help bring awareness to mental illnesses as well as raise money to go toward finding cures for them.
He said he would like to have the first concert in either late January or early February and he wants to rent one of the lecture halls in the Business College Complex for it.
He said for future concerts he will ask others to help perform music and tell their stories, but for the first one it will be just him sharing his story of depression.
Nye said he wants to help people find their outlet for helping them cope with tough times. Nye’s was music, but for someone else it might be sports, working out, reading or something else. Nye said if someone is struggling with depression or another issue, they need to find that outlet that will help them pull through.
“No one will ever understand how great happiness is, and you can’t take it for granted because it is something that some people are incapable of feeling,” he said. “I just want to help people that think they can’t feel it because of genetics or whatever, I want to help them have the same opportunity as I did.”