In a recent interview with PEOPLE, Ashely McBryde shared that she had anxiety attacks after the death of her brother, Clay, in 2018.
She said, “You keep your feet moving or you will completely fall apart. As women, we don’t allow ourselves the falling apart time nearly enough. Luckily my body and my psyche has decided to choose those moments for me now.”
The “Girl Goin’ Nowhere” singer continued, “I developed anxiety really, really, really bad right after Clay died. I mean, they were bad panic attacks. They are under control now, but I didn’t understand what was going on.”
“I had to get through four shows before I was able to find out what was going on with Clay,” said McBryde. “And at night [the panic attack] would come out in really weird ways. We were in Europe after he died and I got in such a weird place about what we were doing. The schedule was so hectic and I was like, ‘Man, is this what all of this is?’”
However, McBryde desperately wanted to find a way to deal with her anxiety attacks. She said, “I had to pull my head out of my ass and be like, ‘Yeah, this is what it is.’ You are built for this life. I have to do this or I might die, but also someone in that audience needs you.”
Getting inspired by her fans who constantly supported her and were desperate to see her show, McBryde changed her mindset about Clay’s death and took steps to deal with her anxiety.
The ACM Awards winner said, “I said to myself, ‘It’s not about you, so get over yourself.’ If someone is having a s***ty day and they need to be free for an hour, where their bills aren’t late and their husband isn’t mad at them and the dog isn’t sick … as long as I am there on stage, everything is OK for them. Nobody cares if I’m hung-over or if I’m sad or if I’m tired or if I got s***ty news this morning. They care how they feel. And in the end, that’s all I care about.”
While working on her sophomore album, the singer was drawn to write a song about her late brother, which she eventually named “Stoned.”
McBryde explained, “I got with [co-writer] Nicolette [Hayford] one day in the garage and I said, ‘We are both members of a club that really sucks to be a member of.’Her brother was an Army veteran as well and I said ‘If anyone is going to write a song about being in the dead brother’s club, it’s going to be me and you.”