Music. It has the power to make you smile or make you cry. It can transport you to another time conjuring memories of all sorts of things. It can immediately remind you of certain people or times in your life. Of happy days or sad days. Of trivial things and monumentally important moments in your life. It has power. And it has long been one of my favorite things in life.
Music can offer comfort when you feel pain. It can give you an outlet for pain or rage. It can be a mindless distraction. It can help you focus. It can do all of these things and more but mostly it can make you feel.
I was raised around music. A constant stream of different genres and artists and albums playing in the car and at home. We often played name that tune together as a family and I had a great and varied musical education and an appreciation for all types of music. It was woven into every memory I have. It was a thing I needed and loved in my life. It was important to me in so many ways.
I am constantly listening to music or just singing. I often make up my own songs or hum or whistle along to whatever task I am doing like a constant soundtrack to my life. I played 3 instruments in high school and belonged to the choir and participated in musicals. My dream was to move to New York and perform on Broadway. On my last birthday back in March my family bought me a drum kit because learning to drum has been a dream of mine for a long time. To say music is a part of my life is not giving it enough credit. Music is a part of me. It is woven into every fiber of my being. My life has never felt complete without it.
Until this year.
When my depression and anxiety started getting really bad I found myself turning off the music. I no longer listened to it at my desk at work. I didn’t listen to it at home. I even turned the radio off in the car. It all sounded like noise in my head. It annoyed me and made me at times angry. It made my anxiety worse. It made me jittery and unable to focus and I just felt deep down bad when it was on. Even in the background. I stopped singing. I stopped whistling. I stopped drumming.
My life became pretty silent.
I don’t know why this happened. If it was the memories? After all I am working through some pretty heavy shit from my growing-up years and maybe music is so interconnected with that time in my life that I can’t separate it. Or maybe it is just the way that depression takes all of the joy out of your life. I know how much I love music and it brings me happiness so maybe my brain was trying to take that away. Depression is a savage bitch sometimes. It doesn’t just make you feel “sad” but it also takes away all of the coping mechanisms and things in your life that bring you joy and make you feel good. It leaves you empty. It turns out the music and leaves everything silent.
There are so many things that used to bring me joy that depression has ruined in the last year. Running, exercise, outdoors, nature, time with my family, just the beauty of the world around me. It has dulled my light and muted the colors and turned down the volume of the song in my heart. It is one of the worst things about depression. You can no longer do the things that bring you happiness. And you spiral down into the dark with nothing to lift you up out of it.
Lately, though, the volume has started to turn up again. Little by little I am turning the radio on. At first it was in the car. Then sometimes around the house and even occasionally at work. Little baby steps. Just like all of the other little things that used to make my heart sing. The other day I even caught myself whistling as I walked down the hallway at work. It actually startled me at first but then brought a smile to my face.
Depression is tough. It is dark and cold and scary as hell. But when you start to come out of it is a beautiful feeling. Like spring in Minnesota. It starts so slowly it is almost imperceptible. A little tiny thaw. Then a little more and a little more until things start greening up and you notice the sun has been shining for awhile now. I have felt the first trickle of that thaw and noticed a little more sunshine. I hope it keeps shining. Because I sure as hell missed it.
If you are struggling keep holding on. Spring is coming. Maybe not soon but eventually. So keep doing the hard work. It is worth it. You are worth it. And we need you ❤