Music, for as long as I can remember, has been something like a safety blanket for me. Particularly during the height of my depression. Sad? Turn something morbid on so you don’t feel alone and cry it out. Angry? Put some punk music on full blast and sing so frivolously that it gets out of your system. Happy? Great! Sing into your hairbrush and jump around the room like a lunatic! I used to ALWAYS bring a radio (we didn’t have portable speakers back then, alright?) into the bathroom with me and play one of my CD’s so I could take showers and sing. To put it simply, music makes me feel connected to something in a way that I cannot easily describe.
I know music is important to numerous others and I’d like to share some songs with my readers that are close to my heart and helped me through the darkest times of my life. I hope that if you need something to get you through whatever you’re going through that they can help you, or perhaps just let you discover or rediscover some great music.
My depression started around the time I was 12 or 13. It was the very beginning of my parents messy divorce which deeply affected me, so I suppose we’ll start here. As a forewarning, most of these songs are going to be from the 90’s to the early 2000’s. I’m an old lady now!
Everclear – “Wonderful”
“I think thoughts that I know are bad. Close my eyes and I count to ten, hope it’s over when I open them.”
Everclear – “Father of Mine”
“Tell me what do you see when you look back at your wasted life and you don’t see me.”
Everclear always hit way too close to home for me during this period of my life. I had to include two of their songs just because of how much I used to listen to them as I lay in bed trying to ignore the screaming of my parents upstairs. I was going through so many emotions and the music didn’t exactly help me feel any better, but there’s a catharsis effect when listening to a song that helps you to not feel so alone in whatever you’re currently going through.
The height of my depression was from the age of 14 through 17, which was all throughout my parents divorce and trying to figure out how to deal with that on my own. I won’t dive deep in this article about all the happenings during that time, but you’ll find that most of my depression revolved around my family/home life. I suppose it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to some, but it was crushing to me at the time.
Unwritten Law – “Save Me”
“I’m sick of my sickness, don’t touch me, you’ll get this. I’m useless, lazy, perverted, and you hate me.”
When I felt especially awful I would listen to this one on repeat. It was kind of a pity song for myself, but it was a good “cry it out” kind of song as well. Unwritten Law has a lot of those good songs that are pretty relatable if you struggle with depression, but this one was special for me.
Nonpoint – “Alive and Kicking”
“I’m stronger now, even after everything that you did. I’m still alive and kicking.”
At some point in depression there’s a stage of anger that you go through, at least for me. This song was one of those songs that helped me when I was feeling especially pissed off with everyone and everything around me. Nonpoint in general has a way with that. It was also pretty empowering, feeling like I was a stronger person after everything and like I could be my own person.
Sick Puppies – “Riptide”
“You’re just wasting your time trying to throw me a line, when you’re the one drowning.”
Near the end of my bad depression I would to listen to this one a lot. It’s another liberating song that helped me feel like I didn’t need to listen to the people who were trying to dictate my life; I could control my life no matter what other people did to try and destroy my happiness.
Foo Fighters – “Stranger Things Have Happened”
“I can change, I can change, I can change, but who you want me to be?”
Foo Fighters are one of my favorite bands of all time, so of course I had to mention them . It was extremely difficult for me to narrow down all of their songs, but this one will have to do. I used to listen to their albums constantly (still do honestly), so there are many of their songs that are close to me. This song is one of those where the music alone makes you feel calm and you can zone out with it when you’re disassociating from life.
Eminem – “Beautiful”
“I’m just so fuckin’ depressed, I just can’t seem to get out this slump. If I could just get over this hump, but I need something to pull me out this dump.”
Eminem is one of the few rap artists that I genuinely enjoy listening to. He is so open and brutally honest in many of his songs which is admirable. His lyrics are so deep that it’s hard for me not to like his music. Of course, he’s got those iconic and obscene songs they play on the radio, but his more meaningful songs are what helped me through my depression.
Puddle of Mudd – “Radiate”
“Does it break your heart in two? Does it take you down when you don’t know where you’re running to?”
This is one that is so close to me that I usually get chills when I listen to it. It may not be particularly amazing, but I used to listen to this one extremely often. I have a memory of sitting on the roof of my house at night listening to it on my iPod and staring at the stars, feeling a bit hopeless. (Mushy, right?)
Avril Lavigne – “Anything but Ordinary”
“Is it enough to love? Is it enough to breathe? Somebody rip my heart out and leave me here to bleed. Is it enough to die? Somebody save my life.”
Don’t judge me! I know you’re judging me at least a little right now! I seriously loved this Avril Lavigne album “Let Go” and I would listen to this on my Walkman CD player. Okay, I feel old as hell now. This song is a bit more of an upbeat song compared to the rest but just as important to me. When I was feeling sad, but wanted something slightly uplifting, this was the song I’d pick.
Green Day – “Brain Stew”
“My mind is set on overdrive. The clock is laughing in my face.”
Old Green Day was the best! Unfortunately I’m not a huge fan of anything they’ve done past the American Idiot album, but they were a cornerstone of my childhood. This is definitely one of the songs that helped me feel like I wasn’t the only one going through tough times, especially when I literally lied awake in bed unable to sleep, as the song describes. Sometimes I felt a bit crazy, and this song was perfect for those moments.
So, now we’re at the point where I was mostly over my deep depression, but in my experience depression never really goes away completely. Once I met my husband is when my depression started to subside for the time being. Corny, I know, but it’s true. He joined the Navy right after high school, and we had been together about a year by this time. When he left for the Navy it was really tough on me. I know it was harder for him with everything he had to go through there, but when you’re use to having someone at your side almost 24/7 it gets rough. Especially when that someone was the one who really pulled you out of your depression hole and now you were left with sparse communication.
Theory of a Deadman – “Wait for Me”
“It helps me on those lonely nights. It’s that one thing that keeps me alive, knowing that you wait for me.”
If you’re feeling down and in a long distance relationship, this song could help you. It’s pretty lovey-dovey but sometimes that’s what you need to hear. I’m pretty certain that I wrote some lyrics from this song to my husband in one of our boot camp letters.
A Day to Remember – “If It Means a Lot to You”
“Well I need you here tonight, and I know that you don’t wanna be leaving me.”
This one has a sad ending, so it’s not 100% happy and lovey, but the beginning part helped me through his time away.
Those were my most notable periods of depression, but as I said before, it doesn’t ever really completely go away for me. It comes and goes for me and you learn how to manage it. Sometimes I will do great for a long time, but other times I feel like the worst human being in the entire galaxy. There are always new songs that I find myself attaching to every now and then.
X Ambassadors – “Unsteady”
“Mother, I know that you’re tired of being alone. Dad, I know you’re trying to fight when you feel like flying.”
If this song had been around when my parents were going through their divorce, I would have undoubtedly been listening to this nonstop. It hits so close to home that it’s almost hard for me to listen to. It’s a beautiful song and I know it speaks the reality for so many people.
Twenty One Pilots – “Migraine”
“Sometimes to stay alive you gotta kill your mind.”
Twenty One Pilots – “Car Radio”
“I’m forced to deal with what I feel. There is no distraction to mask what is real. I could pull the steering wheel.”
I’m pretty new to the Twenty One Pilots band wagon, but they are phenomenal. Their lyrics are incredibly powerful and I can’t get enough of these two songs. I’m positive they have helped save so many lives with their music. If you haven’t listened to them already, I strongly suggest you do. Especially if you’re going through depression.
I could literally go on for ages about all the songs that mean something to me, these are just a few that stood out in my mind. Hopefully you found something you like or can relate to. If you have any songs that are close to your heart, please feel free to share them! I absolutely love listening to songs that are something very special to someone, it’s like a little window into their soul.