Music can be found everywhere and in everything. It could be the steady tapping of a foot, a clap, birds chirping, anything. Now, I am no musician, but I like listening to music just as much as any other person. Sometimes a song can set the tone for your day, it can get you out of a slump, put you in one or may relate to your life in some way. I always hear the tune and then the lyrics. If the tune is great, I don’t really care what the singer is saying. That’s why I enjoy music in languages I don’t know more than the ones I know.
I have different songs I listen to on a daily basis. What I heard yesterday, I might not listen to the next day. I don’t know if you have this habit too, but I produce music videos in my head for a song I might be listening to. That’s where I take the lyrics personally. I like to transport myself to an imaginary world, removed from life, just like in some music videos it’s an expensive world and one where I am a great dancer. And if I really like the video in my head, I’ll be listening to that song on repeat for days on end.
Every song has its own character, it’s meant for a specific moment or feeling. I have playlists for different days and different situations. I have a playlist on my computer titled ‘exams’ and those are mostly songs without lyrics, Celtic and Classical music that I can study to. They would play in my head even as I wrote the exam. It’s like I would learn the tune and my notes together. My playlists are very specific and organised. It’s like somewhere down inside I am trying to orchestrate my emotions. I don’t have a great voice, and I am not very knowledgeable about music either, my keyboard skills only extend to Hedwig’s theme from Harry Potter, and ‘Mary had a little lamb’. But for what it’s worth I love music.
The only reason I am writing this post is that in music I found my depression’s best friend. As my depression worsened the music I was listening to became darker and darker. It expressed my anger and hurt, the music became an outlet for my anguish. When I started getting trapped in my head further and further, I actively tried to listen to happy music but would automatically end up listening to songs filled with pain. It’s almost as if I turned to music to drown out my helplessness. I would listen to music for hours, just to ignore what I was feeling and the thoughts of succumbing to the voices in my head.
Now I am listening to songs that are far less nuanced. They’re blatantly happy, lyrics that hold no real meaning, some are even despicably written. Of course, they’re not all upbeat, and I have my moments of terrible grief when I let music pound in my ears to ignore what I am feeling. But at least these moments are short-lived. One can never be completely alright, can they? As I noticed the songs changing tunes, I felt myself change. When I was at rock bottom, I noticed my favourite playlists were never on. I stopped sharing music with others. Usually when I find a song I like I share it with relevant people, but at that point, nothing was worth sharing.
I have found solace in music, my own little corners on buses, on flights, in my house, everywhere. I have a knack for lyrics, I remember them and hold on to special verses. Some music is like poetry, flowing from start to finish, holding your attention and touching some really deep part of you. I knew I was not happy when I could not remember lyrics to my favourite songs, everything was vague and hazy. It’s been a tough run. But I know it’s not the worst yet. Of course, I wish things happened differently.
I still can’t bring myself to delete the playlists from that time, it’s as if a part of me knows that I might need them again one day. I still feel hurt when I scroll through them, knowing what they mean. I hover over the delete icon and stop at the last second. I can feel the memories flood back, I can see the hollow memories like they belong to someone else. A part of me knows it can happen again, and I’ll come back to the comfort of those playlists and take shelter. I am twenty-one and for all I know, I have a long life ahead and I can’t predict when I’ll feel that low again.
I can tell myself for now that I am going to get rid of them and I am going to be alright. When I delete those playlists, I’ll be ready to let go. Not yet, but soon. Those terrible moments are ones of desperation that have the power to make me dizzy even now. Sometimes with a happy tune, I can bring myself back again, some songs tell me it’s going to be alright. They tell me that I’ll be ready if I fall back into those moments. And for now, I can draw strength from the melodies that give me some hope. I am going to make sure though when my depression decides to wage war next time I’ll make sure the background score is different.